Monday, June 26, 2017

Grab a seat at the Bar

This blog, "Tracy Say's....." seems to lack a theme in my own personal opinion. I am not sure how I feel or where I am going with this, so bare with me.

I want to write more how I speak, if that makes any sense. Tracy Say's, Grab a seat at the bar is all about dining alone, something I thoroughly enjoy.

Today a co-worker asked me how I could wander the local farmer's market alone, attend a local Lobsterfest or even eat a meal publicly alone? I didn't realize the stigma behind this until we were in a full conversation and she said she would be panicked to walk into a restaurant alone.

I find joy grabbing a seat at the bar, striking up a conversation with the bartender and enjoying a meal. Sometimes I will bring my kindle and read while I dine, but only if I am deeply invested in the book and I can't put it down. Talking with strangers, or bartenders always teach me something new. I learn about the person and they about me. I have yet to find an unfriendly bartender who didn't want to engage in a conversation.

Here are my 3 tips for dining alone.

1) Grab a seat at the bar. Hell, put yourself in the center of the bar, not the last bar stool or corner so that you can't strike up a conversation with fellow diners.



2) If you can dine Al Fresco ask for a table along the outside. I've been able to start a conversation with people passing by asking about my meal or the restaurant.



3) Ask your server or the bartender what their favorite item on the menu is. I bet you ten bucks it's the best meal. Many times the menu will be overwhelming and they are more then happy to recommend their favorites.

I completely understand that dining alone isn't for everyone, however I would highly recommend you try it at least once.

Have you ever dined alone? 

XoXo,
Tracy

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Favorites #38

Happy Friday, friends!

On Wednesday, the first official day of summer I headed to the beach right after work! The week is flying by otherwise. I am working this weekend and hoping to spend the rest outdoors!

As always be sure to share in the comments what you are loving this week or what is making you smile. You can always leave a comment on Instagram.

Asbury Park Boardwalk
I purchased this colorful beach tote earlier this week and am looking forward to taking on the many beach days this summer!

My wish for a partner is someone who loves to travel as much, if not more then I do. This article was quite interesting.

Do you travel on a budget?

I believe kindness should come naturally to everyone. We should spread it everyday. Grace's post really hit home for me.

Could you imagine having dinner with Prince Harry? A cool article written from a girl I went to high school with.

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored, instead this is a list of some of my favorite things. You may find affiliate links via ShopStyle as it takes time and money to maintain a blog, therefore thank you for your support. 

Who would you invite for a dinner party you were hosting?

XoXo,
Tracy 





Monday, June 19, 2017

NJ Small Town, Cranbury

One of the things that makes New Jersey so special is our diverse mix of cities and towns. Our small towns are beautiful and filled with history and charm. Cranbury's roots date all the way back to the 17th Century. One of the oldest establishments, the Cranbury Inn was built in 1780 and still exists today. Today, the rich history is beautifully preserved while all of the architectural building are in tact and Brainerd Lake is home to some amazing summer concerts.

A short drive from Princeton, you can visit Cranbury in one day. I highly recommend parking at one end and walking through the entire town before heading back.



The character and charm of the house above stopped me in my tracks. A woman with two young children walked by and said, "You have to sneak a look at the garden in the back," however there were landscapers on the property and I didn't want to get in trouble for trespassing. What a magical home I imagine it would be to live in.

Brainerd Lake

View from South Main Street

Water Fountain

Brainerd Dam

Bench overlooking the Lake

As you walk along South Main Street each house will have a plaque that looks similar to the one below. Take a walking tour of the town to learn about the history of Cranbury.



After walking around and working up an appetite be sure to stop for Pizza and Ice Cream. Cranbury Pizza is the perfect quaint Italian restaurant with outside patio seating. Some have ranked their pizza as the best in the state. I will have to get back to you, as I have a few places left on my list to try.


After you've had your pizza the next stop across the street is ice cream from Gil & Bert's Hand Dipped Ice Cream. Sure I had it at 11am, because let's be real it's never to early for ice cream. Flying Fish Fudge is nothing you would imagine, yet the best mixture I've had in a while. Vanilla ice cream with chocolate fudge, cookie dough, and m&m's.


I had a wonderful day exploring Cranbury and as I said, if you're in the Princeton area be sure to check it out! 

What is your favorite flavor ice cream?

XoXo,
Tracy 


Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday Favorites #37

Happy Friday, friends!

We are already half way through June. I can't believe July 4th will be here shortly. This week was filled with work, writing, and some exploring. Yesterday I visited Cranbury, New Jersey and will have a post up next week! What a cute little town, filled with so much history.



This weekend I am working and celebrating Father's Day. My dad is one amazing father, who has always been there and I am so grateful.

As always be sure to share in the comments what you are loving this week or what is making you smile!

You know what constantly brings a smile to my face, Street Art. My friends, Madhatters NYC shared this amazing post!

I am a strong believer in you should always try something new. When it comes to food, explore a new neighborhood, try a new hobby, anything. Now it may make your weekend last longer.

Looks like it is time to restock the kitchen thanks to the Parisians.

Anyone else for Shutoff Sundays?

Have you ever traveled by train? I have been seeing different trips in the US, but these through Europe, they take the cake!

What is making you smile this week?

XoXo,
Tracy






Thursday, June 15, 2017

Summer Bucket List

Who doesn't love a good bucket list? With no plans of travel this summer, it's perfect to knock off some items, especially local ones to New Jersey and New York!




1. Have a glass or two of wine on a rooftop in New York City 
(Check, did it last week with my friend Megan)

2. Visit The Met and one other museum. 

3.Visit Reading Market in Philadelphia

4. Learn to fly a kite

5. Eat at 5 new Ice Cream Establishments in New Jersey. 
(1 down, 4 to go)

6. BBQ on the Grill once.
Edited* ( Check, grilled steak over the weekend)

7. Travel to Upstate New York

8. Make a cocktail from scratch at home.

9. Have a picnic on the beach at sunset.

10. Go on a hike in New Jersey.

11. Visit Icarus Brewery

What's on your summer bucket list?

XoXo,
Tracy 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Photo Memories

If you are anything like me, you are snapping photos with your iPhone and camera hoping to get the "winning" shot. What is the winning shot, though? Why is that photo so important to take on both pieces of equipment?

Visiting our Nation's Capital ( Myself, Mom, & Sister)

For me it started at a very young age. My father has worked in the photography industry for the past 35 years. Every family celebration, vacation and other event has been captured thanks to my mom, nagging him to always bring the camera. This was way before the iPhone, even way before cell phones that had cameras. With my mother no longer here, all the photos hold an even more special meaning as when I look back I am flooded with the memories.

All of the photos may be in photo boxes and some albums, but that's what makes them special. I have no desire to download them to discs. I want to show those photos in 50 years in their original state. I want to pull them out of the box or open the album and be flooded with the most amazing memories.

College Graduation. Less then a year later my mom passed away.

Whether it's travel photos, family photos, or just random photos they each tell a story. A story that we can share with others or keep to ourselves. What would the fun be in keeping those stories to ourselves?

Here are some photos with memories that transport me back to that moment. Stories I can tell you for hours about that trip, wedding, or street art I came across.

Israel

Western Wall
I remember being at the Western Wall in January 2010, praying that my mother would get better. She would lose her battle to cancer June 2010. That moment is one I will never forget. I called home right after our visit to the wall. She was sick again in the hospital.

Disney with my friend.
I had a work conference that was putting my up in Orlando for a few days and decided to make a weekend trip with one of my closest friends who is a Disney Fanatic. I even rode a roller coaster with her that trip. It was my first experience with Harry Potter World as well.


Golden Gate Bridge

Lombard Street
My cousin was getting married in San Francisco in 2011. Luck would have it the San Francisco Marathon & Half Marathon was the same weekend. My dad knocked out a half marathon went back to rest up and danced the night away at the wedding that night. I on the other hand took to the streets of San Francisco to explore. It soon became my favorite city and I have since been back to visit a few times. I even talked about moving there. That is still an option. Who knows.

Do you have a favorite photo with a memory attached?

XoXo,
Tracy

Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday Favorites #36

Happy Friday, friends!!

This week flew by rather quickly and with summer fast approaching I am looking forward to spending as much time outdoors as I can. You can find me down the Jersey Shore, visiting upstate New York, and maybe a little venture to Philly!

This weekend will be filled with family dinner, a friends baby shower, and work. With two days off next week I am hopeful the weather will stay great for two more beach days. Fingers crossed!

As always be sure to share in the comments what you are loving this week or what is making you smile! You can always leave a comment on Instagram!




When working full-time you sometimes only have a few hours/days for trips and I can't wait to visit Vancouver soon!

Having a life coach helped and guided me to become a better person. It takes work. This article could not be more correct in every aspect!

Instead of running away he ran to save a life the night of the London Attack at Borough Market. Spread love and peace.

Can you create the next Oreo flavor? I may have to try!

Don't let fear keep you from exploring the beautiful world.

What are you loving this week?

XoXo,
Tracy 


Monday, June 5, 2017

4 Day Weekend

My body and mind were thankful for this 4 day weekend! I needed to hit the refresh button. I had so much going on in my brain. From pain and grief to happy and excited I just felt completely all over the place. If that even makes any sense.

Thursday: I parked myself on a beach chair in Avon, NJ for the morning and early afternoon. By the time I left at around 2pm I had managed to burn my shoulders and thighs. 

1st Beach Day of Summer

Love the sound of crashing waves

Ladybug
Next stop was Asbury Park. The convention center is home to some cool unique boutiques as well as restaurants. The boardwalk was hoping. Supporting locals is something that I especially love to do. 


The Market
There were some great local and national makers, artists, and designers in The Market. Currently they are open Thursday-Monday from 12-6. Be sure to stop by and check them out. They are all about the community!


Carla Gizzi 

Let's talk about this shop for a moment. Every sign rang true. Every piece of jewelry was begging to come home with me. I could live in the store and constantly be inspired!

Damn Proud




After some walking around I headed outside to get some shots of the artwork along the rest of the boardwalk. 


Check out some of the great works below. For more you can visit @SeaChangeAp on Instagram. 





I worked up an appetite and decided to try Asbury Oyster Bar. It was my first time having oysters, and coincidentally I had them Friday as well.



The Wildling Bastard are from Barnagat Bay. I enjoyed those but the Virginia were more my speed!






The atmosphere is super casual, white walls, and a bunch of hightops. There is "outdoor" seating as well which is inside the convention center.

Friday: After sleeping in I headed into NYC to visit one of my closest friend, Megan who just moved to a new apartment, with a ROOFTOP!!! We spent the afternoon soaking up the sun, catching up on life and just enjoying each other's company.

Rooftop Views

Shredded Pork
We grabbed oysters and a glass of wine at Somm Time Wine Bar before heading to dinner at The Upsider.

Saturday: I slept in, did some writing and went through my closet. Dinner was sushi and I called it a night pretty early.

Sunday: It has been 7 years since I lost my mother to cancer. It was also the OneLoveManchester tribute. The overall day weighed heavy on my heart. You can read about it here.



What did you do this weekend?

XoXo,
Tracy 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Heavy Heart

My heart is heavy with pain today.



Today is 7 years since cancer took my mother from me. The pain I feel is similar to those who have been affected by the far too many attacks on the world over the past year. Family members mourning for those who lost their lives in the senseless attacks.

There is no "right way" to deal with the death of a parent or loved one and there is no timeline on how long it should take you to heal from it. The out-pour of love and support received from family and friends is incredible, even 7 years later. Speaking of love and support it's time we step up and do something rather then just "Pray for #Town" or change our photo. It's more of taking action then just the words written. I don't know what it looks like for me, but I know I want to see change and in order I have to be part and take action. Once I do I will share it with you.

For every breath that I miss my mother, I am glad she is not here to witness the current state of affairs. She would be vocal, that's for sure. Who knows, maybe that would be a good thing.

This has been weighing on my mind for quite sometime and I am glad I took the time to write and articulate what I was thinking.




So anyone who reads this.....I have one favor, Give a Hug and Kiss to your loved ones, call them on the phone and embrace every moment you have with them

XoXo,
Tracy 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Friday Favorites #35

Happy Friday, friends!

Whoa, working retail Memorial Day Weekend, down the shore, when the weather isn't cooperating, is a lot of work, long hours, and overall just tiring. With that said, I am currently enjoying a 4 day weekend that started yesterday. First, beach day of the summer at Avon Beach followed by an afternoon at Asbury Park!

Tonight I am heading into NYC to see a friend and the rest of the weekend will consist of some RnR, beach or pool, and spending time with family and friends! Hope you guys have a wonderful weekend!

As always be sure to share in the comments what you are loving this week or what is making you smile!

See the story behind this #ladybug on my Instagram!
Call it transit misery. Call it subway misery. Today it affects every commuter the same. It's about time the New York Times covered this.

Did someone say #NationalDoughnutDay? If you are ever in New Jersey be sure to check out Broad Street Dough Co. You won't regret it, I promise.

Interesting thoughts on Palm Springs. It was never on my bucket list, but maybe now it will be. A day trip for sure.

We have all pushed through fear at one point or another. This post, everyone needs to read it.

Now this is surprising, yet it probably shouldn't be. Google's in-house therapist revealed the #1 thing most people talk about in therapy....

Ali, is full of truth and inspiration. It's no wonder her podcast spotlights some amazing and inspiring people as well from Dan Nevins to Natalie Morales. I recently saw Natalie on American Ninja Warrior Celebrity Edition for Red Nose Day.

What are you loving this week?

XoXo,
Tracy