long island

Local's Cafe - Perfect for 'Coffee And A Bite' in Port Jefferson

When you think of summer weekends on Long Island the image that comes to your head is probably of mansions on the water’s edge in Montauk or the Hamptons. Ocean views, giant pools, trendy restaurants and tons of Manhattanites making the trip from Penn Station on Friday evenings throughout the summer season. Ready to spend the weekend lounging on their giant swan float (you know the one I'm talking about). 

Why "Out East" Is Over-Rated

In the past few years, “out east” has changed in a lot of ways. Montauk used to be beloved as a laid-back fisherman’s town. Now, it’s now full of fancy restaurants, boutique fitness studios, and bars frequented by the upper echelons of society. Of course it’s as gorgeous as ever, but it’s a big to-do to spend a weekend in the Hamptons or Montauk.

First, there’s the question of where you’re going to stay. If you’re lucky, you know someone with a house. If not, you’re shelling out big bucks to rent a house for the weekend or to stay at a hotel. 

Next is the torturous 3 hour journey aboard the Long Island Railroad. It’s crowded, it’s long. It’s really not an enjoyable experience (unless you're prepared with plenty of train dranks and beer-in-a-bags).

And then when you’re there? It’s no longer a place to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt with an ice cream cone in hand. It’s a place people go to be seen. It’s no longer a place to shop in stores like White’s or A Little Bit of Everything – buying tchotchkes and tie-dye tees. It’s a place to stop into boutique stores full of designer clothes. It’s no longer a place to grab pancakes at John’s in the morning. It’s a place to drop hundreds of dollars on dinner. It’s no longer a place to sit down at a dive bar with locals. It’s a place to buy drinks at Manhattan-prices at bars too crowded to move in.

Bah-humbug, right?

I’m not saying Montauk and the Hamptons aren’t great every once in a while. I still love heading out east. But if it’s R&R that you’re looking for, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to look quite so far east.

An Alternate to The Hamptons and Montauk 

Instead, look to Port Jefferson. A small town on the Long Island Sound smack dab in the middle of Long Island. A two hour train ride from Penn Station, Port Jefferson is small enough that there’s no need to worry about renting a car. Filled with small shops, affordable yet trendy restaurants, local activities and beaches – Port Jefferson is the perfect town to head to for a weekend beach getaway on Long Island. 

All summer long I'll be bringing you reviews and ideas on how to spend a great weekend getaway in Port Jefferson. 

Local's Cafe

For my first PJ post I'm so excited to feature Local's Cafe. A brand new addition that's sure to appeal to city-dwellers used to good coffee and Avocado Toast to start their day. Their tag line perfectly sums it up, "coffee and a bite downtown." 

Local's Cafe is owned and operated by a husband-wife duo who moved to Long Island from Puerto Rico 3 years ago. I had the chance to sit down with co-owner Amarilis and learned so much about how this unique spot came to be.

Local's Cafe Port Jefferson

FINDING THE SPACE FOR LOCAl's cafe

When the Puerto-Rican Amarilis and her Indian husband Jiten came to Long Island in 2013, it was because of his job opportunity in Manhattan. They settled in the suburbs with their two children and while sitting down by the water on a bench one evening, noticed a corner property for rent. They peeked in the window and one of them made the comment, "This would be a great coffee shop!" 

Local's Cafe Port Jefferson

They agreed that if in six months the space was still available, they would make a call. Six months later Amarilis started nudging her husband to pick up the phone. When they finally got inside to see the space, it was much larger than they had originally thought. They realized they could offer food in addition to coffee.

CREATING A casual space

Amarilis and her husband didn't have much background in the restaurant industry. Amarilis had only ever worked as a waitress. Their goal for Local's Cafe was to create a relaxed space for people like themselves - self-defined "casual eaters." 

From the start, they made choices that actively went against the "fine dining" feel. Jiten in particular went against the grain by fighting for concrete sheets as walls and cement slabs for the floor - he didn't see a need for them to be polished or finished. Jiten made the tables himself - upcycled doors. The stools along the windows were created from pipes. The interior design lends itself to the relaxed, rough, fun and urban space that Amarilis and Jiten were seeking. 

RECOGNIZING AN OPPORTUNITY 

A friend of theirs, a chef from New York City, began developing a menu. As they sampled it and shared it with friends - they felt that it wasn't their style. It was more sophisticated than they had been aiming for.   

While Amarilis and Jiten were still stuck on the menu, the Starbucks location in Port Jefferson closed down for renovations. Jiten, first and foremost caring about Local's Cafe's coffee, recognized this as the perfect opportunity to say, "Hey Port Jeff, try our coffee!"

A long time frequenter of coffee shops in NYC, coffee was to be the star of the show for Local's Cafe. Once they bought the space, they sampled many different varieties before deciding to serve coffee roasted from Caffe Vita - based out of Seattle and Brooklyn. 

With Starbucks' temporary closing the perfect opportunity to open Local Cafe's doors, the duo typed up 4 food options on a sheet of paper and called it a day. Their cafe was officially open for business. 

Local's Cafe Port Jefferson

'THE food is pretty much who we are'

Since then the menu has evolved to reflect the foods that Amarilis and Jiten personally like and grew up with. The "Scramble Our Way" (Scrambled tofu, onions, tomato, cilantro on pita or wrap) is simply how the vegan Amarilis makes her breakfast. 

All of the avocado on the menu is a way of representing her Puerto Rican heritage - where avocado is a huge part of the culture. (Though Amarilis said her and Jiten are constantly finding themselves stalking grocery store shelves for ripe avocados when they run out!) 

The Chana Masala Sandwich (chickpeas cooked in Indian spices with a side salad) is representative of Jiten's Indian background. 

Amarailis said that, "Part of having a business is you're always wondering how you could improve it. Which is a good thing, I think. We're trying to think of how we can make it better aesthetically and the food too. We're constantly thinking of what we can add to the menu. The food is pretty much who we are." 

Amarilis says she's trying to get more Puerto Rican-inspired items on the menu like plantain strips as an alternative to french fries. But adding even one thing to the kitchen that requires different preparation can be a huge adjustment. 

Local's Cafe Port Jeff

local through and through

LOCAL'S Cafe also features products from LOCAL purveyors. The rotating flavors of small batch kombucha, brewed on Long Island by a woman the couple met while getting the restaurant ready, is absolutely TO DIE FOR. By far the best kombucha I've ever tasted. And I'm somewhat of a connoisseur. 

They also sell Long Island brewed iced tea from The Subtle Tea Company and Five North Chocolate (organic, fair trade and vegan). 

something for everyone - without the labels

What I love most about Local's Cafe is that they don't need to market themselves as "Vegetarian" or "Vegan" or "Gluten-Free" - yet people with any of those dietary restrictions will find a plethora of options. There are even gluten-free donuts which I sampled and am happy to report are delicious! (So are the thick slices of banana bread!) 

Local's Cafe Long Island

bottom line

Amarailis and Jiten have succeeded in creating what the walk-able town of Port Jefferson was missing - a spot that locals can go and hang out with their friends. It's not a formal sit-down restaurant and it's not a grab and go coffee stop. It's a space that encourages you to slow down, enjoy good food and good coffee while in good company.  

The food is fresh and delicious - served on paper plates with plastic utensils. You can get an Instagram worthy #brunch shot without feeling like you're somewhere too fancy. You can support local products and companies, satisfy your sweet tooth AND get your caffeine kick all in one place. Did I mention their menu is perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

It doesn't get much better than that. 

Local's Cafe 

106 East Main street
Port jefferson New York, 11777
www.cafelocals.com
1-631-509-0627
M-TH 8 AM - 7 PM
F 8 AM - 8 PM
S/S 9 AM - 8 PM

Local's Cafe Port Jeff

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: 

 

 



 

 

 

The Most Perfect Weekend Ever.

Once you've "grown up" and moved out of your parents house - it's becomes very sentimental. At least for me, thinking about home makes me think about how lucky I was to grow up where I did - on the water, with aunt and uncles and grandparents a quick car ride or walk away.

Trips home are a time to visit the places I used to frequent - and absence makes the heart grow fonder - so the places that I used to be sick of are now some of the places that I miss the most. 

That's why if you ask me what my perfect summer weekend looks like, it's a weekend home in Miller Place where every moment is filled with family, friends and some very key places and activities.   

For Labor Day Weekend, Peter came to Suffolk County for my attempt to show him this ideal summer weekend. I don't know if he would agree - but for me, I'm still floating on cloud nine about how amazing it was. 

I headed home after work on Friday and was greeted by a new iPhone 5S...yep, I cracked already.

I spent awhile getting it all set up and then went to the beach with my parents for some live music and beers down by the water.




After that it was off to dinner at one of my favorite local restaurants - Alexandro's.  It was a beautiful night and we were able to sit outside. AND they had my favorite special - the tuna tartar tower! MMM! For an entree I got a giant Greek salad with shrimp. And of course I filled up on pita and their amazingly fresh homemade hummus.




We got home and watching some TV while I made myself a heaping ice cream sundae with Tonight Dough and Speculoos Core Ben and Jerry's ice cream.  

In the morning, I failed to wake up and work out before Peter arrived as planned - something about my bed at home just never lets me escape the covers in a timely fashion! Oh well. 

We ran a few errands - picking up a phone case, picking up bagels and cream cheese for Sunday morning, and stopping for breakfast and lattes at Crazy Beans. SO delicious. It's the kind of place I would love to open one day. Filled with odds and ends, cozy, offering music and art and open mic nights with wine and beer - all that it's missing is avocado toast and green juices. 




Salted Caramel Latte for Peter and a Rainbow Cookie Latte for moi. 

We got home and hopped in the truck for my dad to bring us down to the water for some kayaking! It was gorgeous out - a cool breeze, sun shining, and we paddled around the harbor for awhile before a quick relaxation break on beach. 




After showering it was off to the Yacht Club for a RUM BUCKET, a plethora of chips and pretzels with the world's best honey mustard (Ken's), and appetizers (wings, shrimp and mini tacos) and this delicious summer salmon salad that we split. All the while, Peter was enthralled in the Penn State football game. 




Driving away we caught the beginning of what was sure to be a beautiful Cedar Beach sunset (which to this day has never been beaten - not even by the sunset in Santorini). 



We picked up my sister and went back to Crazy Beans for some live music and beer. In the beginning if was kind of dead, but by 9 it was hoppin'. The best part was catching up with friends who I hadn't seen in wayyy too long. 




Not ready for the day to end, we headed Down Port where we wandered, complaining about every bar, before settling for a table outside at Tommy's.



We went home and I quickly fell asleep. 

In the morning, I managed to force myself into a circuit workout in my basement during which I felt every bite of food and every sip of alcohol threatening to come back up - luckily, that didn't happen. When I finished my pathetic attempt at a workout I woke Peter up and we went for a run - any perfect weekend in my book includes a run - and it was fun to show him what my usual little 3.5 mile route is when I'm home. The IT-band was hurting by the end, but nothing too terrible which left me feeling pretty positive. 

The run was followed by another Long Island staple - BAGELS! 

We then spent an hour helping my sister write a cover letter because we are SO KIND. 

I also showed Peter how to shuck corn in preparation for that night's barbecue. Can you believe he had never shucked corn before? 



Then Peter, my sister and I went down for a swim at the beach. Peter complained about the rocks and the murky water but I LOVED IT. 

We met my parents for a drink down at Ralph's where a local favorite was playing guitar and singing some good tunes (James Taylor, Jimmy Buffet!) The song of the weekend was "Southern Cross." 




Next up with BARBECUE time! My dad makes THE best hamburgers where he grinds the meat himself - I'm not a huge burger person, and I almost never order one out, but no summer is complete without one my dad's homemade hamburgers. 

To lead up to the main course, he served a ton of clams on the half shell with his homemade cocktail sauce. 



Despite my mother saying some not so appetizing things about clams, we all enjoyed them and we also enjoyed our giant margaritas (my dad ALSO makes the best margaritas!) 



Then, I forced Peter to play the guitar while I attempted to sing along and my mom and dad and sister looked on in horror as I butchered every song. 



I slowly and steadily devoured my burger - topped with mashed avocado, American cheese, ketchup + mustard (yes, I mix!), onion, tomato, lettuce and pickles on the side. PLUS two ears of fresh Long Island corn on the cob and my dad's tomato salad with fresh basil from our garden. 


(Could it be any more perfect?)

I was so content at the end of this meal. And by content I mean bursting. 

The last thing I had planned was a fire outside at my grandparent's house - complete with aunts, uncles and little cousins. We got there and I couldn't even touch the chips and guac, which shows how full I was from dinner. 




Eventually, Peter and I DID manage to join my little cousins in making some s'mores. Okay...we initiated the s'mores making...


AND we pre peanut butter and Nutella'd our graham crackers. We don't mess around when it comes to dessert. 

I wish I had more pictures from the fire because my grandparent's backyard is absolutely gorgeous! I'll have to be a more diligent photo taker next time. 



Sadly, with the end of the fire came the end of the weekend. Even though it was a long weekend, I had a 4:00 a.m. alarm on Monday morning to leave for a work trip to Toronto. So we got home, took a quick nap, and I was on my way. 

What could have made the weekend better was some time spent on the boat (with tubing and water skiing preferably) and Peter and I sitting to watch the sunset at the beach. But this was the absolute most perfect way to end my summer. 

I know I can be a demanding person - I basically gave my parents a list of things I wanted to do in two days and created a lot of work for them (we also cost them a lot of money in food and alcoholic beverages...) And from the second Peter arrived to the second I left I had him in constant motion. I invited about 10 people over to my grandparents house. But I hope everyone knows how much I appreciate them putting up with me and making everything happen and how incredibly happy the whole weekend made me. I'm the luckiest :) 






Finally All Caught Up!

Last week I went home for one of my first Long Island weekends of the summer! 

My grandparents picked me up from the train and I was immediately treated to a delicious sushi dinner (yes, MORE sushi - never enough!) at our favorite place in town - Benten. Kenny the sushi chef there is the man. 

We OBVIOUSLY started with the lobster tempura salad. Big chunks of battered lobster with a spicy mayo dressing. The lettuce is not even necessary. We picked on edamame for the greens! And then I meant to order the sauteed oysters (my dad is a huge fan but I'm not in love) and accidentally ordered the fried oysters instead. They were good - because what isn't made better with a little deep fried dough? 

For the three of us, I ordered 4 sushi rolls - and it was a struggle to finish them all. However - I managed, obviously ;) 





Benten 2: Eel, shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, crab stick, avocado with soy pepper
This one was probably my favorite! 


Green Dragon: salmon, cucumber, avocado outside 

John Jr.: Tuna, scallion, tobiko, spicy mayo, tempura 

Wrong Island: Tuna, eel, avocado, scallion, tempura, spicy mayo and a fresh salmon outside
This one's crazy! All the things! 


After dinner, Nanny insisted (and I didn't put up much of a fight) on stopping by our local homemade ice cream shop - McNulty's - for some dessert. I haven't been there in ages, and it brought back so many memories! 

We used to think we were so  cool in 6th grade when we were finally allowed to walk there all alone after school on Friday's. All .25 miles. FREEDOM! 




Nanny and I were both upset that they were out of Heath Bar but I went with Mint Oreo and Chocolate Pretzel with granola (?) on top. A definitely strange combo but you're talking to the girl who used to insist on ice cream cakes that were half mint half strawberry - so, whatever. 

When I got home, I set to work on cleaning out my childhood bedroom. 

I knew my parents would like me to straighten up, organize, and get rid of some things. Obviously, if I'm been living without it for 3 years (7 if you count college), then I don't really need it. 




Surprisingly, I was very productive and filled a bunch of bags with things I could donate or toss. The biggest struggle was figuring out what to do with CD's like Brittany Spears and Backstreet Boys. So sentimental! Will I one day what to pop them in for my kids to give a listen? Or will I just play them on Spotify and Youtube? So odd to think about. 




Saturday morning I woke up and attempted a run - and it was a pain-free success of 3 miles! I felt like I could have kept going but I didn't want to push it. 

Next, Mom and I parked our butts at the beach and soon, Allison joined. 

We followed the beach up with a rum bucket at the yacht club - ahhh, these are summers as they are supposed to be!






I got home and was quite burnt. I did a bunch of nothing, which was nice for a change.  

Sunday morning my parents and I went down to the yacht club for brunch - I ordered the "MYSC Open Face" which was English muffin with bacon, tomato, cheese and...no egg? That seemed super weird to me, so I had them throw an egg on top. Because everything is better with an egg on top. Especially at brunch. 




(Can you just LOOK at these prices? Not in Manhattan anymore)




After brunch I sat around the beach some more with Emma and Allison and it was so nice to catch up with everyone. We all have such REAL LIVES NOW and it's weird sometimes to think about - we used to do this every day, all summer long, and now it took an entire summer for us to finally find a day we could all lay on that rocky beach and gossip together. Sigh. 

Sadly - all too soon it was time to get back on a train and head home. 

This week was pretty uneventful. 

I find myself settling back into a more standard routine, which I suppose it a good thing. I work Monday and Wednesday nights at the running store and I hope to start reviewing some off-Broadway shows again soon on Tuesday nights. 

The highlight of this week was my first BLUE APRON experience, which I will write up shortly! 

Another highlight was Roots Hummus sending me a lovely little package to thank me for the kind words I had to say about them! A koozie, cooler, sticker, and some coupons! Awesome :) 

And there you have it - am I actually caught up?! Indeed. 

Today I head out to Long Island for a Labor Day weekend spent doing ALL OF MY FAVORITE THINGS and my favorite person will be along for the ride. Monday morning I leave at 4:30 AM (EW!!!) for a work trip to Toronto. 

Maybe the fall weather hasn't quite arrive yet, but the feeling that the crazy days of summer have come to a close has certainly arrived for me. And to be honest, the change of pace to more laid back and structured is actually pretty welcomed. 

Wolman's in the Hamptons

The last day of July meant my first day of FAMILY VACATION. 

I took the train home Friday after work, got dressed, and left with my parents for the restaurant where we were throwing my Nanny a surprise birthday party. 

Slowly, our big happy family filled the private room and we waited for Uncle Greg to show up with the birthday girl. Sitting in a room whose walls were giant floor to ceiling windows, we tried our best to turn away so Nanny didn't see us as she made her way inside. 

I wish the pictures came out better - but I think it's safe to say she was surprised! Maybe even a little teary, seeing a room filled with all of her favorite people (we're all your favorites, right Nanny?!) 



Behind Nanny and Poppy were Uncle Greg and Aunt Christine, who I hadn't seen since Thanksgiving, and THESE two little munchkins. 




Despite living in South Carolina, my aunt and uncle have raised Julia and Claire to know all of their east coast aunts, uncles and cousins wonderfully. I don't know who was more excited - us, or them. 

Our prix-fixe dinner was tasty - my sister and I split the eggplant Parmesan and fish entrees.

Given my choice of desserts, I will rarely pick cake. But given a piece of cake, I will always eat cake. And the cake was actually delicious. 

When my Poppy got up to give a little toast to Nanny, it was so so sweet. I could not be more grateful and appreciative of the love I grew up surrounded by. Not only did my grandparents and parents love for ME allow me to feel happy and secure, but their love for EACH OTHER has shown me that no matter what life throws at you, no matter how stressful it can get - if you are with the right person you can always find reasons to laugh and smile. 

Being surrounded by my family made me SO ready for a week spent with them in Hampton Bays.

(Gangs (almost) all here - and we've got a selfie stick...uh-oh!)

Saturday I attempted a run, which, shockingly, was a pain-free 3 miles. Those 3 miles were more of a jog than a run, but it was the first time that I wasn't limping a mile into it, so I was a pretty happy camper. 

I convinced my mom to drive 20 minutes to the nearest Trader Joe's so I could get some "me" food for the week -long vacation. Sandwich thins, chocolate covered almonds, garlic aioli mustard sauce - you know, the essentials. She also had to return something at Macy's next door so that's the real reason we made the trip. And I was excited because I was given permission by master-chef Mitch to make the three of us dinner that night! A healthy dinner!

And a delicious dinner, if I do say so myself. Mom and Dad both seemed to agree, and I know they would be honest with me if it was sub-par. 

I made a quinoa salad with edamame, mango and black beans along with salmon brushed with sauce made by mixing olive oil with the garlic aioli mustard sauce (again, credit to Kayla!) 



Dad made mom and I his version of the "China Blossom" from China Grill, my favorite cocktail, and I soaked in a rare night sitting out on my deck. I've had an eventful, fun summer, but the number of days spent at home on Long Island have been dismally low.

(Remember how I said I had the best role-models for happy marriages? HOW CUTE ARE THEY?!)

Sunday afternoon was the day - we packed up the truck and set out for the Wolman Family Vacation 2015. 


True story - we used to get t-shirts made for the occasion. Then there were the beer koozies. No outfitting this year, though. 

Most summer's, we go on a big family vacation like this. My grandparents rent a house and all 20 of us spend a week swimming, eating, drinking, playing games and boating. There's a lot of conversation around which house is our favorite that we've stayed in, and the consensus seems to be that nothing beats that first house, which we returned to once and try to return to every summer (Camp O-Kwa-Ri-Ga).  Here's a run down of the Wolman Family Vacation spots over the last couple of years: 

1) Camp O-Kwa-Ri-Ga in the Adirondacks (2008 and 2013). Nothing seems to beat the seclusion - meaning lots of late nights at the fire. The main cabin is great for fitting all of us, and there's a smaller cabin perfect for Nanny and Poppy (they deserve to be spoiled!) But the best part is the boat house right down by the lake. There's a dock, which means we can rent a boat and tube and water ski. And there's paddle boats, kayaks, a canoe, a pool table, piano, balcony for jumping into the lake, and shuffleboard table. So many hysterical moments have happened at O-Kwa-Ri-Ga. From ghost stories, to my dad pretending to be a bear and scaring the crap out of my uncle in the middle of the night - this place feels like home, maybe because it was the first time we all did a trip like this. 





2) Maryland Mansion (2009) - This house was definitely fancier than the Adirondacks. But there's no boat house, and sitting down by the water wasn't as easy. The plus was that we could still rent a boat AND drive the boat across the lake to the Honi Honi bar for happy hour (still fun, despite not being 21 at the time). The lake was a lot rougher though, with more boat traffic, which stressed my dad out and made tubing and water skiing a lot less enjoyable. We could make a fire outside though, a definite plus! And, my family will understand the significance of this - it was at the Maryland Mansion that Claudia Ellen was born! 


3) Rhode Island Beach Mansion (2014) - This house was weirdly fancy. But there was the beach a few steps away AND a pool. No nighttime fires, but the outdoor patio was nice. The option of pool or beach was nice. Sadly, I only spent 3 days at this house, because it was my first year working and I had no vacation time. But while I was there, we discovered the plethora of clams at the beach, which my dad naturally dug up with his bare hands and feet, with the help of uncles and cousins, which we feasted on. There was also a great running and biking path nearby, and as I was marathon training and my uncle was training for a 100 mile bike ride, that was clutch. The restaurant we went for dinner at that year was also THE BOMB. 




4) That brings us to 2015. Originally, we were supposed to go to a lake house near Hunter Mountain. But my grandma had a weird feeling, and after going to check it out, it was a big thumbs down. So last minute, her and my aunt managed to find a beautiful house in Hampton Bays for us to spend the week. The best part? It only took us an hour to get there! The quarters were a little more cramped than usual (though there were more bathrooms and showers!) and there were a lot of rules since the Hamptons can be a little hoity-toity - we couldn't be outside after dark which meant no fires. And we were about a 5 minute drive to the ocean, instead of having it in our backyard (wow, I'm sorry I don't mean to sound quite so spoiled there...) but there were so many GREAT things about this house! A huge pool AND a hot tub. A really great town to explore. A new tradition - the Wolman talent show! A basement with air hockey, foosball and pool. We just won't talk about the dining room chairs...



We were the first to arrive and after driving around to check out the beach and nearby bars and restaurants, we pulled into the driveway of this lovely little house. 


(Ok, 8 rooms, maybe not so little!) 

We figure out the rooming situation which worked out quite well for me - since my sister refuses to share a bed with me (SHE's the one who moves around a ton, NOT me...) she had an air mattress, I had a bed to myself, and my parents shared the other. 


Our days during the week went a little something like this: 

-I would wake up around 8 and go for a bike ride on my little cousins bike or into the basement for some deck of cards workouts. One morning I ran with my Mom and aunt, hopeful after my Saturday morning pain-free run, but unfortunately the IT band acted up again and my knee felt like it was being stabbed after 2.5 miles. So running wasn't part of my week, as much as I would have liked it to be. 

(My 10 year old cousin's bike - perfect fit!)

-After working out I would make myself breakfast - lox and a bagel, Greek yogurt with all the fixings, oatmeal, cereal - so much to choose from. And for someone who loves breakfast like no other meal, it was like Christmas every morning. What's the saying? "I love going to be because it's like a time machine to breakfast." Exactly. 



-Spend the day either at the beach (we went to the ocean two days and to the the bay for one day) or by the pool. At the ocean, I didn't get in the water because the waves were big and it wasn't too hot out anyway. 



At the bay, we swam around despite the rocky bottom and shallow water (North Shore Long Islander over here - totally used to the rocks!) At the pool, I attempted to improve upon my horrendous swimming skills, and although I dressed the part, I probably lasted a total of 10 minutes before frustration overcame me. By the end of the week, though, I DID feel I had made a little bit of improvement. 


-Pre-dinner snacking was a wonderful time of day - we broke out bags upon bags of chips and dips and cracked open some brewskis...or even better, my dad made margaritas. One night, the pre-dinner snacking involved clams on the half shell and another night, shrimp cocktail. You wouldn't believe how fast they got scarfed down! 



Another night, my dad made his artichoke dip - cheese, mayo and artichoke hearts. It might sound gross, but it's so addictive, despite the calorie count. 

(Happy hour - whipping our hair back and forth and eating cheese doodles)

-The way dinner works on these trips is each family gets assigned a night and they make the meal. Pretty simple. This year, some meals included - spiral ham with baked beans, brats and pierogies with LOTS of onions, pasta with chicken and vegetables, filet minion with broccoli and baked potato. There's also always a night where we all go out as a big group, and wreak havoc on some poor, unsuspecting restaurant in the area that is totally not accustomed to seeing a group of 22 people walk in. This year, however, my dad and his siblings had graduated high school with the owner of a local bar/restaurant - so we gave him a heads up, got the back room of Gator's to ourselves, and enjoyed a meal out on the town. 

I'm not sure what it was, but I was having horrible heart burn all week - something that I've never experienced before. One night, I got up out of bed with that urgent, "I think I'm going to be sick" feeling - only to see that the bathroom was occupied.  So I hurried downstairs and, I'll spare you the details, but, I was right - I was sick. After awhile I made my way back upstairs. As I entered the bedroom my family was staying in, my mom goes, "Did you see your father?" 

"No, why?" I asked, a little confused. 

"He thinks you're missing. Him and Sam are searching for you."

Dear Lord. 

Eventually they came inside and saw I was alive and well, aside from the vomit. They stopped looking in bushes and at the bottom of the pool for my body, and we all went to sleep. 

-After dinner every night there were different things to do in the basement, my little cousins organized a talent show one night, and we somehow peacefully watched the GOP debate another night. There were games of "What If..." and "Cards Against Humanity," which you're probably thinking, "Isn't that weird to play with your family?" The answer is yes. Yes, it can be a little strange, but it is also always hilarious. 

(Talent.)

There were a few special activities as well, like the morning that a group of us went paddle boarding. We were enjoying ourselves, paddling like pros (including my fearless little cousin Kyle), and I was even getting fancy with some downward dog. 

(Zen)


Then, we decided to head back. 

Uh-oh. 

Though the teacher had encouraged us to go even further than we ended up going, as soon as we turned around to make the trip back to the shop, we realized the wind was far stronger than when we first headed out. We paddled to no avail. I couldn't get past one boat for about 20 minutes. Kyle was spinning in circle. Eventually, my mom and I got Kyle situated on my board and she towed this board behind hers. We still weren't making much progress, but with Kyle laying down and using his hands to paddle along with me, we moved a little bit. Then, my mom realized we could stand. So there was some sludging through the water that way. 

They must have realized we were struggling, because we heard yells and looked to the shore to see my uncle and the paddle board shop owner waving us onto the beach.  We were still SO far from the shop, so we walked our boards up and put them in her pick-up truck for a lift back to get our stuff. 

She told us we were doing great, and that even SHE had some problems getting HERSELF in to shore. That made us feel better But we were EXHAUSTED and I was starving. I had planned to go to paddle board yoga the next morning - but, no thanks. 

Another fun night was when we went to Cowfish for happy hour and then took the Rum Barge over to Rumba for dinner. 



Cowfish was one of the most beautiful restaurants I've ever seen. The landscaping and flowers were beautiful, and the view couldn't get much more perfect. There were lawn games and couches and it was such an oasis. I couldn't stop taking pictures! 



We loaded up the Rum Barge and took it across the water to Cowfish's sister restaurant, Rumba, which we heard had the better menu for dinner. The view and outdoor area wasn't as nice, so I was really happy with our decision to do drinks at Cowfish and dinner at Rumba. 





Rumba had it's own style and feel - much more laid back and island-y. The food was KILLER and SO PRETTY. 


Are you ready for these avocado tacos? I don't think you're ready. Rastaman's Taco: paneed avocado, island slaw, corn salsa and rasta cream. 



What does "paneed" mean, you ask. Well, I Googled it so that you don't have to - basically it means bread-crumbed. Fried avocado might sound weird, but I promise you it wasn't. It was very LIGHTLY coated. Almost like a light tempura. The slaw was to die for. Or maybe it was the rasta cream. Either way, I could have eaten 2384932 of these for dinner and not tried anything else and still been happy. 

We also tried the duck empanadas because...I mean, duh. They were good too (greasy, fried good) but those tacos were on a different level. 



For my entree I got the jumbo scallop and papaya salad with avocado, tomatoes and corn. I don't know why I didn't sub the papaya for mango. I know I don't like papaya. And this confirmed it. But everything else about the salad was delicious! 



Mom: Ahi Tuna Salad- mango, avocado, purple onion, sesame seed, filed greens, tuna, "yummy yummy" sauce.



Nanny: Jumbo diver scallops- rum reduction sauce, white beans, capers, rice & mache 



Dad: Shrimp Boat- sage breaded shrimp, remoulade, avocado, lettuce and tomato 



Sam: Jerk Chicken Platter: coconut risotto and mango papaya honey salsa. This stuff was NO JOKE spicy. 



The cocktails were wonderfully refreshing and flavorful and the Hot Fudge Sundae was plain sinful. I've never seen a sundae that comes served with an entire gravy boat of hot fudge to be poured on top. And all of it was poured, trust me. 

After the rum barge got a little stuck in the shallow water, we were on our way back to Cowfish to pick up our cars and head back to the house. 



Watching the sunset was the perfect end to a pretty awesome night. 



Another night my parents, sister and grandparents went for a cocktail at Oakland's where I reestablished my love of prosecco. 

The last night, we again did happy hour and dinner out, this time at The Hampton Lady


Though the service wasn't anything to write home about, and the margaritas left something to be desired - the Mai Tais, crafted by a Hawaiian bartender, were phenomenal and the food was quite good along with the half-price drink happy hour special. Can't complain about that! I ordered the fish tacos and my dad got the lobster, which we split. 2 lobsters with corn and potatoes for $28! My mom got a burger that I was SO close to ordering - bacon, blue cheese, and a grilled shrimp on top! My sister ordered clams on the half shell and the Thai fried-calamari which was quite good! 



After dinner, my parents dropped me off at the train station and it was time to say goodbye. I got pretty emotional - tearing up a little as I watched them drive away. 

I just love how close I am with my family - the fact that I can be genuinely excited about spending 7 days in a house with 22 relatives says a lot - and I know how incredibly #blessed I am. 



Lately, I've been having a little bit of wanderlust. My list of places that I want to see and explore has grown a lot in the past few months. In fact, I used to not even have a list of places I wanted to see and explore. Now, I badly want to go to Iceland. I'm longing for a trip out west to hike and explore National Parks. Denver, Idaho, Yellowstone. I want to do and see it all. But having 10 vacation days means prioritizing. 

I know the day will come when I forego the family vacation to do my own thing. But when, a week after leaving Hampton Bays, my grandma sent me a link to next years house (we return to the Adirondacks!) I just thought to myself, "How can I turn down a week with the people who matter most to me?"

We shall see what happens next summer. But until then, the memories of Hampton Bays will carry me until Christmas, when I get to see everyone again! 

Nanny and Poppy - I know you're reading this, because you are my biggest fans - THANK YOU for making and raising and nurturing this big, crazy, wonderful, beautiful family and for giving us the opportunity to spend time together. 



I wrapped up the weekend with a trip to Target and Costco with Rebecca and Melissa, unpacked, and got ready for another week in the big apple. 










BAEgels on the Beach

Back in New York after our girls weekend in Cape Cod, I went to cheer for Peter at a Tuesday night 5K in Hoboken. It was right on the water, a good group of November Project friends were running - and DAMN everyone killed it! Jeanie and Pete Kruse both won awards!

(Jeanie is STRONG)

Peter was finally feeling like his speed was coming back after being so sick in May. 6:38 pace? Yup, I'd say that's fast.
(Are you a running model or something?)

And Emily was having a ball running one of her favorite races on her home turf!

After the race there was beer and wine and a band which we enjoyed for awhile before heading out for some Taco Tuesday food and beverage up the street. 

On Thursday, Peter took me out for a delicious dinner at Soccarat Paella Bar in Chelsea. Named after the crispy, crunchyness that forms in the cooking of paella, Soccarat definitely lived up to its name. The crunchy/burnt race was definitely our favorite part. 

We opted for the Arroz Negro - the rice is black from the squid ink! I was hesitant at first, but Peter wanted to be adventurous and I was sold on the shrimp, calamari, scallops, and fish that it included.

This paella was massive - yet we were not deterred. Essentially, we finished the entire thing.  Paella here is charged per person ($25-$33) with a 2 person minimum. 



Pre-paella we ordered two appetizers. 

Peter's choice were the bacon wrapped dates stuffed with cheese, almonds and a roasted apple puree. Not that they weren't my choice too - I had just been trying (and failing) at cleaning up my diet. Obviously, I ate my share of bacon wrapped dates. 

My one request was "NO patatas bravas." I find them horribly cliche and boring. 

So I chose the Milhohas de cordero - lamb terrine, spinach, potato and red peppers. To be honest, I didn't really know what to expect. I just knew I liked lamb. And spinach, potatoes and red peppers. 

Well, turns out I ended up loving it (and Peter was a fan too). Except we couldn't figure out exactly what we were eating. I later asked my dad to explain what a terrine was and he said sometimes it's held together using gelatin. UGH. I was hoping that wasn't how ours was made. I told him it seemed like there was an egg-y consistency, and he said that could be it too - so that's what we're going to go with. 

Obviously there was a pitcher of sangria included in the meal. 

Followed by a walk along the High Line! I always love taking pictures there, especially right before sunset when the lighting is juuuuust perfect. 





On Friday I enjoyed a "Summer Friday" which meant I got out of work at 2 p.m. instead of 5.

After getting some stuff done at the apartment, I met up with Peter and his coworkers near Penn Station and a nice new outdoor area for some oil cans (aka Foster's!) 

('Ows about we plow the froth off a coupla cold ones?)

Later that us and the girls met up with Jess because her mom and grandmother were visiting from Ohio! We went to Rosa Mexicano and enjoyed a few more drinks. It was so nice getting to meet them. 

After some sleep we woke up and made our way to the Brooklyn Brewery for a day of beer tasting. The line was pretty long and it was HOT out. Eventually, we got in and had a half hour to kill until our tour. We bought some beer tickets and got to sampling. 5 beers is $25, which wasn't bad considering the quality of the beer! We tried three before we went on the tour. 

Our tour guide killed it. He was great, we learned the basics of a brewery tour, and also some fun stories that pertain specifically to Brooklyn Brewery. 

Afterwards, we finished two more beer samples. 



The bar area is pretty cool because you can bring your own food in and people had huge spreads with games. It would be a fun place for a birthday party! 

On our way out we perused Smorgasburg and got some odds and ends as the packed up. We sat down by the water for awhile and it was really nice enjoying a view of the skyline, looking at the city that I have spent barely any time in during the last couple of crazy weeks. 



We headed back to Manhattan, met up with Melissa, and entered the yet to be moved into apartment of Alex for some NYC Tri poster making/beer drinking/pizza eating. I was a happy camper. 




Naturally, when the pizza was eaten, the poster board was all used, the beer was all drank - we headed to a nearby bar. 



Sound like enough fun and activity for a weekend? 

Nope. Still had Sunday, and we got up quite early to make our way to Peter's family's house on Long Island. 

After a stop for bagels (we were on Long Island, so DUH) we hit the beach! 

(ILY)

It was PACKED and super hot, so we didn't last for very long, but I'm never one to turn down water sand and sun. Or bagels. 



That night Peter's dad grilled tons of meat, prepared one of his A+ salads with fresh ingredients from the garden, and his mom baked a killer strawberry rhubarb pie. The caipirinhas (cat purinas as I like to pronounce them) were delicious and the conversation was easy and entertaining as usual. I really do enjoy spending time with Peter and his family - they're cool peeps. 



I left that night with some cucumbers from the garden and my own rhubarb to experiment in the kitchen with! 

I also left with some pictures of this pretty guy. 


And with THAT another summer week came to a close. 







Through the 4th

I was home in the city just long enough to unpack my bags before heading to Connecticut on Saturday morning to celebrate my favorite ginger's 25th birthday! 

Allison pushed off her birthday celebration from the beginning of May all the way until the last weekend in June since it was the first time I was home for a weekend...because she's the best. 

It was an awesome day where we rented a van that drove us to two different CT wineries before dropping us back off at Allison's apartment. 




I made my way back to Long Island that night hoping to make my cousin's high school graduation party, but that didn't end up happening.

I DID get to see Morgan, home for a rare break from med school before her new year in Denver. She BETTER get her butt to a November Project workout soon! Morgan and I always pick up right where we left off, which is the best feeling. 



Monday and Tuesday I took personal days otherwise they would have expired. Tuesday I leisurely headed back into the city for a date with Peter at MEOW PARLOUR! It was really clean inside, the kitties were super cute, the cookies that you can buy from the cafe around the corner were delicious, and we stayed for an hour since Doodle was thoroughly entertaining us. If you're looking to adopt a cat - go here! Or, if you just want to play with kitties. 



After Meow Parlour we watched some women's world cup soccer from The Loreley

I only had 1.5 days of work that week because we got out of work early on Thursday and had off on Friday for Fourth of July weekend. 

As soon as work was over on Thursday I booked it to Penn Station and boarded the train for Montauk. Dear lord, it was craziness. I've never seen so many people on the LIRR in my entire life. 

The ride was loooong. My parents picked me up and drove Jess and Kevin to their house, where I would be staying Friday and Saturday nights! But Thursday night was bonding time with modge and podge, who were also staying in Montauk for the weekend. 

We went to eat at a new restaurant called The Muse. The decor was awesome - open, airy, beachy, with really awesome floors that looked like old worn wood panels but totally weren't. The bar lit up cool colors, too.  

First, we split the Tuna "Menage a Trois" 



1) Ahi Tuna Tartar atop Vegetable Tabouli - For the Tabouli, they used Israeli Couscous which added a unique texture
2) Blackened Tuna Lollipop topped with Candied Wasabi Crust on Whipped Avocado - I'm not a huge fan of wasabi flavored things, so this wasn't my favorite
3) Hot Stone Seared Tuna Carpaccio with Seaweed Salad - This was probably my favorite, because I love seaweed salad, and because it came with a spicy mayo sauce. 


Next, we split the Mussels a la Muse. 



Oh. My. God.
These was by far the most amazing mussel dish I've ever had. When it comes to mussels, it's not really the mussel that's the impressive part, but what surrounds the little guys.  This dish came with a Prosecco Butter Sauce (uh, yes), Grilled Artichoke Hearts, Cured Tomatoes, Giganta Beans and grilled Italian bread. 


The combination of artichoke hearts and beans (with some Parmigiano-Reggiano on top for good measure) was so hearty and filling and the Prosecco Butter Sauce was addictive. 

I've been to Flex Mussels in the city, which specializes in bowls of different themed mussels, but The Muse had them beat! 

For dinner I ordered the "Bacon N Eggs Breakfast Salad" which, I'll just cut to the chase, was a disappointment. 



I should have listened to the waitress when she said she preferred the Summer Apple Salad. Or, realistically, just stopped trying to be good by ordering a salad and ordered something from the real menu. Oh well! Luckily, I was stuffed from the appetizers already and my parents obviously let me eat as much as I wanted from their plates! 

The salad came with grilled pork belly and a poached egg over frissee tossed in a maple cider vinaigrette with French toast croutons. 

The pork belly was fatty and I really didn't like it. Other than that, the rest of the salad was great! Yolk from the egg mixed with the maple cider vinaigrette was delicious and the French taste croutons were like little bites of dessert mixed into my salad. 

I honestly can't remember which of the fish entrees my mom ordered, and looking at the menu I can't even match it up to this picture. It's driving me slightly crazy. 




I want to say it was the Cajun Spiced Atlantic Cod served on Charred L.I. Corn & Saffron Hummus with House Grown Micro Greens, Honey, Black Vinegar Gastrique, Avocado Aioli, Chili Oil, and Fried Hominy.

My dad ordered what I peer-pressured him into ordering - "Muse's World Famous Sausage." 



The pinwheel pork sausage had roast tomato, artichoke & feta-cheese inside of it and was served with sweet potato green apple chutney and a honey mustard barbecue sauce. 

We didn't do dessert, but I did walk next door for some froyo afterwards and my dad, who isn't usually a sweets person, was totally blown away by it. Maybe now he'll be a little more understanding when my froyo comes to $9. 

My drink was tasty too - I think some kind of watermelon drink but I can't remember exactly. 




Overall, I don't think any of us were absolutely BLOWN AWAY by our entrees, but we WERE obsessed with those mussels, and the general feel of the restaurant was really nice. 

After dinner we headed to the Sloppy Tuna for a drink at the bar and to meet up with my parents friends before heading to bed. 


(My best friend, for real.)


In the morning, we woke up and DAMN was the view nice. We were right. on. the. ocean. Beautiful. 

I struggled to run two miles (we'll get to all of that at some other time...) and went for a yoga class! 


(My mom was standing IN the hotel room when she took this picture!)

When I got back, my parents and I headed to the hotel's restaurant for a free breakfast and I got some egg whites with home fries, toast and fruit. 

Then, BEACH!

It was perfect out, and I felt no need to jump in the water. 

Peter and my friends were all on their way out to Montauk from the city and I was waiting to head over to Jess and Kevin's until they arrived. Unfortunately, the LIRR was even more of a mess on Friday than it had been on Thursday night, and they had had to get on a bus since there were thousands of people and hundreds that couldn't fit on the train. 

Eventually, I knew they were close so I said goodbye to my parents and they dropped me off at the house. Once everyone arrived we ate some lunch and went to the beach for some late afternoon sun and relaxation. That night, we pigged out on pizza, drank a LOT of alcohol, played some games, attempted to go to Sloppy Tuna, and generally just had a great time. 




Fun story - the line for Sloppy Tuna was SO LONG and when we got there with a group of 20 of us, we knew there was no way we were all getting in. But my parents had been waiting in there for me for about an hour and I felt awful! Well, as usual, my dad had made some friends, and I was able to go up to the bouncer and get in! I saw my parents for a little bit before heading out to meet back up with the group. 



True Life: My parents are so much cooler than me! 

Surprisingly, everyone was up and out at a decent hour the next morning for a Fourth of July spent on the beach. I wasn't feeling so hot, but eventually, felt good enough to eat some ice cream at John's Drive In. I also went with Peter to John's Pancakes where he had a CANNOLI PANCAKE! It was literally rolled up and stuffed with cannoli cream and it was probably the best pancake I've ever had (aside from my mom's banana pancakes, DON'T WORRY MOM!) 

Later that afternoon we went to a bar before heading back to the house for pulled pork sandwiches and more games and drinks. 




Not ready to give up the sun and sand, Sunday morning we again got up bright and early and headed to the beach for a few hours before we had to head home on the good old LIRR. It was a long day of travel, but totally work it for the tan I got that weekend! 

Finally bronzed! 




The Longest Recap In The History of the World; AKA TL;DR

Whoah. A LOT has happened since I last blogged - my b! 

Life just seems to be going a mile a minute lately. My 25th birthday is right around the corner and I wish there was a pause button I could hit just for like a week between the Pittsburgh Marathon and my birthday. I'm not ready! I feel like post-marathon I need a few days to lock myself in a room with a leather-bound journal and some fancy pens while I reflect on a quarter-century of life and figure out, "What next?" There's so many things I want to do, so many self-improvements I want to make, and I need some serious organization if there's any hope of making those things happen. 

I just found a video on BuzzFeed that perfectly explains the feeling I've been all too familiar with lately - how does life seem to go faster and faster the older we get? The Dictionary Of Obscure Sorrows made this video that really hit me hard. Watch it until the end. The last line felt like a punch. 

Maybe this recap will give you a little taste of why my head is spinning!

The last thing I blogged about was the awesome class I took at SLT.

That Friday, I ran down to Tompkins Square Park for a November Project workout - but really, I ran there so I could get the post-workout Tompkins Square french toast bagel with birthday cake cream cheese. Again, it was stellar. 




We had a half day that Friday, so around 2 p.m. I was able to head home to Long Island for the Easter Weekend. It was my first time being home since Christmas! Which is a crazy long time for me. Of course I went straight from the train station to the Yacht Club to meet my dad for a few drinks (they now have UFO on tap - winning!)

My dad did not disappoint with dinner that night - scallops, shrimp, cod, mussels, clams and crab legs. Casual for the Wolman house. (PS - you can search #MitchsMeals on Instagram to see some of my dad's amazing cooking!) 




Saturday morning I went for my scheduled long run - 14 miles that felt really shitty, but were actually pretty damn fast! I was very happy with the 7:58 pace.

That night for dinner he cooked the most delicious lamb on a bed of couscous with asparagus and pine nuts. And all weekend I took full advantage of the tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream in the freezer. 





I also went digging through some old photo albums to collect #tbt content, naturally. There were some winners. I was totally a normal child...




Sunday morning I went to Easter mass by myself since my mom was working and my sister is going to hell anyway ;) I kid, I kid. But really, she wouldn't wake up for church. The sermon was kind of strange, with the priest going on and on about how important women are. It was nice to hear and all but, kinda weird. 

Easter is one of my favorite holidays because my family started doing BRUNCH since my sister and I always had to travel back to school Sunday afternoon. We get a giant bagel hero with bacon egg and cheese and my aunt makes hash browns and then there's locks with onions and capers and my grandma buys 2347892 danishes. This year, she also made PEANUT BUTTER FILLED CUPCAKES with PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING. It's like she knows me or something. 



It was so nice to spend time with my family - it felt like it had been forever and I was really missing them.  



(MY LITTLE COUSINS ARE TALLER THAN ME HELP!)
(Thank God for spring weather!)

Monday it was back to work, and after work, a closing shift at NY Running Co. Tuesday we had a clinic with Nike at the store, and I got a sweeeet pair of Nike Frees! I can't run in them, but I've been wearing them for all of my strength workouts and I have this weird thing that I can't get over the fact that I'm wearing all black sneakers. Does anyone else have this issue?! Whenever I see my feet I'm freaking out. So strange, I know, I know. 

Wednesday I took a half day because MODGE & PODGE CAME TO VISIT ME :) I am so lucky that spending a day with my parents is so exciting to me. They really are two of my best friends. 

(Biffles)

I left work and we went downtown to the 9-11 memorial and museum. While it wasn't as sad as I expected it to be (although it was certainly moving at parts!) it was a really amazing museum and I learned so much. I had read online that it would take around 2 hours to get through it, but we could have spend muchhh longer looking around. Unfortunately, we had to rush through the second half so we could get back to the hotel to change for dinner. 



We had a drink at the Hilton bar (the cosmos there are my mom's favorite) and then went back downtown to meet Peter for our reservation at GATO! I have been trying to get a reservation here since it opened, and it never worked out, so I was beyond excited. There will certainly be a review to come, but spoiler alert, we met Bobby Flay! 


(I <3 this picture)

After dinner we went to Sweetwater Social where I had the most vile cocktail in the history of the world , but we played foosball and Peter and I beat my mom and dad so it turned out OK. Oh, and the waiter swapped out my drink for a much more delicious one. 

(Disgusting drink. Do not order. Tequila/spicy/something. Such a disappointment) 

(Things got heated at the Foosball table!)

(Muchhh better!)

It was such a fun day/night and as usual I was sad to say goodbye in the morning :( 

The next night was "Suite Night" for work - we got to eat and drink in the NHL suite for the last Ranger's game of the season which was great! 

That Friday I had a big decision to make. Ok, nothing life altering. But I had to do my longest training run, the 22 miler, that weekend.  I was feeling a little meh and thought I would push it off until Sunday. There was a big November Project gathering on Friday and Peter had a race Sunday morning, so it seemed like the best option was going out Friday, giving myself the extra day of rest, waking up early Sunday and doing my long run then. 

So we went out Friday night, had a great time (Dunkin Donuts gave us lots of free donuts!) and woke up casually on Saturday morning. 

Me being me, I couldn't spend all Saturday with the 22 miler looming over me. Plus Peter was going into work anyway. So, I laced up my sneakers, said a little prayer, and set off to run 22 miles without a real route or plan. Very unlike me. 

I had worked up this training run in my head  A LOT. For me, either this run went well and I would feel confident going into Pittsburgh, or it would be awful, I would shed some tears, and the drive to Pittsburgh would = me being a complete mental mess. 

I'm happy to say that 9 bridges, one stop at Dunkin Donuts, a chugged water bottle, and 3 boroughs later - I finished my 22 miler with an 8:16 pace and felt SO SO GOOD. The subway trip back from Brooklyn wasn't the most fun thing in the world- but I was so happy to have done it (and to still have Sunday to relax!) 




By relax on Sunday I mean wake up, go to Central Park, cheer for Peter and everyone else running the race, and go to BRUNCH. 

(Cheer squad!)


(Speedy!)

(Cheeeeesin'!)

(Brunch at Bocado - very tasty, a little overpriced, and beware: they don't serve the complimentary cocktail until after 12 p.m.) 

After brunch I went to yoga and after yoga we went to the park because it was BEAUTIFUL out! I colored, did some yoga, and PLAYED LACROSSE. Yes, I broke out the lacrosse sticks for the first time in ages and it was lots of fun. I miss it! I need to find a league. Anyone know where a 20-something can lax in NYC? Drop the deets in the comments. (OR FIELD HOCKEY!)

After the park we went to 16 Handles for the 'yo and then Peter and I got some $4 margs from Blockheads because SPRING! 

Monday was work & more work at the store. 
Tuesday was free cone day - or, free cup day?



And Tuesday night was a date with Alex from Burke's Bites :) For the start of the playoffs and the start of the first round series of the Islanders vs. Capitals, she cooked me a DELICIOUS dinner that you can read all about on her blog! Let's just say it involved incredible puns which I give Alex full credit for. Thousand ISLANDERS Salmon with CAP-rese Salad, rice and asparagus. Mmm. 

I'd also just like to note that I have been going to yoga A LOT recently. Like 3 - 4 times a week. This is very very strange for me to say and even stranger is the fact that I've been learning to love it. It's a process, and I'm definitely no yogi yet, but I do think it's been helping me a TON if only because it's an hour dedicated to stretching that I normally wouldn't be doing. That, plus the fact that I'm trying to foam roll for 30 minutes every day during my lunch break. The personal trainer at the gym finally introduced himself to me after commenting on my business-casual clothes while foam rolling every day for the past 3 weeks. I must look so strange. 

(This cute instructor at Union Square gave us each an inspiring quote before the start of class!) 

Wednesday was November Project, and whenever I go to 5:30 with Peter I find myself running harder than I intend. Yay motivation! And yay beautiful sunrises. 


Wednesday night after work I met the girls for an ab deck at NYSC and then Peter and I went to get Brazilian food at Zebu right near my old apartment. It was really yummy. I liked that it seemed simple and healthy (OK, maybe not the fried balls of chicken and cream cheese) but it's definitely something that takes getting used to- there's not sauce and dip and all that jazz. It's just the food you order. Which was refreshing. Maybe I'll write a real review. Maybe not. But here are some pictures! 

(Chicken Pastel and Caipirinhas!) 

(Sausage with black beans, collard greens, rice, bacon & egg - little bit of everything!) 

(Guava Cheesecake!)

Friday I got to leave work early for a team-bonding adventure to Escape the Room! Chances are you've heard of people who have done this - and I highly suggest it! It was so much more legit than I had thought it would be. Apparently only 25% of people manage to escape, and I can see why! We came close, but didn't make it out of the room. We did the "Theater" game. I would love to go back and try a different one, although I think I would only do it if I did it with enough people to fill the entire room with people that I knew. 

I love that they have everyone take a picture afterwards and upload it to their Facebook page so you can download it for free - they could totally charge people $15 for it in some dumb souvenir frame. 


(Womp Womp! Losers but still smiling!)

From there I went to Penn Station to meet Peter and begin our journey to Boston for the weekend to visit Peter's friend Anthony! We went to Long Island, stopped at Peter's house for dinner (more Brazilian food, mmm) and hit the road. I sang a lot of show tunes and he somehow didn't kick me out of the car. We also got ice cream and I remembered how amazing McDonald's soft serve is. We made good time and got to Anthony's apartment around 11:30. 



The apartment is in a beautiful old house in Cambridge that I fell in love with. Wantttttt. 



Saturday morning was sunny and warm and we walked for a delicious brunch - the omelettes at Brookline Lunch were HUGE and served with hash browns FULL of fresh, amazing veggies. I was in heaven. And the toast came with homemade apple cinnamon jam that was essentially pie filling. 



We were pleasantly surprised when we got to the Sam Adams brewery and only had to wait 30 minutes for a free tour! The tour was short and sweet so that we could get to the important part - the beer tasting! The tasting room was FREEZING but the beer was great and we left a little tipsy! 



Next stop was the Harpoon brewery! We opted out of the tour and went straight to the beer garden where I got a flight of the different UFO beers -  my favorites! Oh did I mention the beer garden had GIANT SOFT PRETZELS WITH DIPPING SAUCES!? Like, a cinnamon sugar pretzel with PEANUT BUTTER DIPPING SAUCE. 



But I digress. 

We spent the next few hours walking around and seeing the sights. 



We walked to the Marathon finish line and stopped at a restaurant around there for dinner.  The city was pretty packed, so we waiting awhile for our table at Back  Bay Social Club. I ordered the lobster roll which was better than expected on the lobster front. It definitely had a good amount of lobster, and the lobster actually tasted like lobster! The calamari appetizer came out my favorite way too - with peppers, mmm. We also got a Baked Alaska for dessert that legit looked like the poop emoji. Overall, the food wasn't spectacular but it was definitely tasty and I was happy to get my seafood fix (and eat lots of french fries). Their margarita was solid too! 




We had every intention of going back out to a bar that night, but after stopping home to walk the dog and sitting down on the couch, it got later and later and we were still sitting, until we gave up on motivating ourselves to go back out. 

We woke up Sunday morning (ok, very late morning) and went for a pretty 4 mile run along the Charles. We got a quick breakfast and headed to the Boston Marathon Expo - there were a lot of cool things, tons of free samples, and I got 5 of my Clif espresso energy gels. The quest for a BQ is on! 



We drove back late Sunday afternoon, stayed on Long Island for the night, and commuted in on the LIRR Monday morning. 

Last week was a little less chaotic.  Tuesday I had an incredible opportunity to work at the Islanders playoff game. It was so exciting to hear the Coliseum so loud, to see the players and fans alike so pumped up. It wasn't the outcome that we hoped for, but it was an amazing night none the less and such a good feeling to be able to point to something productive that I did. 






Thursday was "Take Your Kids to Work Day" and my office organizes a really great day for the kids and even though I don't have kids, I was able to invite my little cousins to come in! I took them out for lunch and was so terrified of losing them in Rockefeller Center - I don't know how parents do it! I hope they had a good day, they've probably followed hockey and the Islanders more closely than me this season! 





It was also my aunts birthday and her and my uncle were nice enough to take Peter and I out for dinner at China Grill that night. As usual, it was amazingly delicious. They have a great happy hour deal that I plan on checking out after work one of these days - $7 drinks and appetizers. I've tried their drinks and a few of their appetizers and let me tell you - $7 is a steal! They have a nice outdoor patio area too, so try to go on a nice night! 






Friday we had a special guest at November Project - Andrew Ference from the Edmonton Oilers! It was a fun workout, maybe because Peter was my #BUDDDDYYYY and had me cracking up during hoistees. 





Friday night Peter and I went to Harlem for a night at a legit speakeasy! It's a really tiny, intimate jazz club that's BYOB! I don't fully appreciate jazz music, and I didn't love that you couldn't talk at all, but for $20 it was an experience that I'm glad to have had! 

Saturday morning I woke up for my last "long" run - 7 miles in Central Park which is BEAUTIFUL thanks to all of the blooming flowers! 



I got dressed and headed out for a brunch of EPIC proportions for Jess's birthday. Brunch was on Bleecker Street at a place called Carroll Place. If the group is 10 or more people, you get to pick out a family-style menu. For $35 we got 2 hours of endless drinks (you could choose from Pineapple Screwdrivers, Rose Sangria, Mango Bellinis and Blood Marys!) and all the food you could ever want. For he group of 11 of us, we got 3-4 plates of each dish! 

To start, a fresh salad with golden beets, tomatoes and ricotta. 



Next, meatballs! 


Then, thin crust Margherita pizza! 


Next - french toast and baked truffle eggs with creamy polenta and mushroom (I don't like truffle, but I loved this!) 




Dessert? Nutella calzone. It was incredible. And the atmosphere was great - it was a seriously cute, chic place. And the company was the best part :) 





Sunday I ran the Run as One 4 Miler in the park before free yoga at Lulu Lemon. So much yoga these days! 

I took all afternoon to organize myself and GULP started packing for PITTSBURGH! 

I ended the weekend with Oatmeal Sunday! Rebecca, Kayla and Melissa came over and we all had different toppings for an oatmeal potluck. It was so yummmmmy. I love potlucks, and this one was super easy and cheap! 



Friday afternoon I'll be leaving for Pittsburgh to hopefully complete my second marathon. I can't believe how quickly it arrived and I'm excited but a littler concerned because honestly, the biggest thing I feel when I think about Sunday is "Ugh, I don't feel like running 26.2 miles." Is that a normal thought to be having?! HELP! 

Full Disclosure: This has not been proofread. 
















The Run I've Been Waiting For

So, since my last running update, I successfully rested for a (pretty) solid 10 days. 

That's actually huge for me and was shockingly not too torturous considering for 4 of those days I was sick and couldn't imagine running anyway. 

Somewhere in those 10 days I had a verrrrry slow jogging November Project workout in San Francisco (I picked my damn hotel based on the fact that it was .8 miles from NP, there was no way I was going to miss it).

(#WakeUpTheSun)

And then on the 11th day I ran 3 miles to November Project NYC's workout to see how I was feeling and whether or not I thought I could run the 25K I was registered to run on March 1 on Long Island. 



(More NP fun)

Friday's 3 miles felt lovely, and so I headed to Long Island Saturday night, telling myself I would see how Sunday's race went - no expectations. No getting my hopes up. If I didn't finish all 15.5 miles, fine. This was a long run, not a race. I half expected to go out, take a few strides, feel pain in my shins, and retire to the car while Peter finished. 

Instead, I cautiously began to realize I was feeling...great? Peter kept telling me we were pushing 8:00 and I was trying to slow down but it just wasn't happening. At one point I even said, "I feel like when I relax and try to slow down I just go faster!" 

This was the run I have been waiting for. The run that just felt right and good and wonderful. Challenging, but amazing. At one point I looked at my watch and saw something that I haven't seen in what feels like forever - a pace in the 7's. 

For about 9-10 miles I was on cloud 9, cruising right along. Of course, it had to come to an end at some point, and at around mile 10 my Achilles and IT band started hurting pretty badly (because it's always something new!) 

The last half mile or so of the course was on rocky/bumpy/icy/puddly trail-like terrain and since I have weak ankles, it was really doing a number on my legs. That's when things hurt the most, and between miles 10-12 every step I switched between "You better not finish the last 5K loop Lauren, don't be stupid" and "OK, you're fine, you got this, your legs are just achy from running a long distance." At one point I told Peter, "Don't let me finish all 15.5 miles." Well, as we got to the start of the last loop, I of course informed him, "I'm finishing." Miles 12 - 15 were pretty good, and the last .5 on that damn shitty trail killed, but we celebrated Peter's longest run at 13.2 miles and we finished at a full-out run, crossing the finish line at 2:09:28. 


We cooled down with a little jog and stretch and then walked back to the food table where I gleefully exclaimed, "ARE THOSE PEANUT BUTTER AND BANANA SANDWICHES?" Best race ever. 

But for real, this was my second GLIRC (Greater Long Island Running Club) race and both were excellently organized with really nice courses. The 25K was 5 5K loops through Caumsett State Park and it was really pretty with some rolling hills but nothing too challenging. The heaters in the tent weren't working, but the post-race heroes and snacks, small-town feel, and relatively convenient parking situation more than made up for it. 

The elites were a little sassy, and I lost feeling in my hands walking back to the car, but overall, it was a wonderful day. Oh, and did I mention that when Peter and I were in the tent loading up on snacks, we both heard our names announced as first in our age groups? Cherry on top! 



(Pace = 8:21 suhweeeeet)

I was so exhausted the rest of the day, but not too exhausted to eat approximately every 20 minutes. 




(Home sweet Long Island)

This morning, I woke up pretttttty damn achy. I'm working at NY Running Co. tonight and hoping there's some serious down time for foam rolling... my Achilles is the real thing concerning me and bothering me at the moment so fingers crossed some stretching and a day off will help. And, YOGA TOMORROW. Ew.

AND HI LOOK AT MY RUNNING WALL IN MY ROOM. 


I may or may not have used a wine rack as a sneaker tree and a scarf hanger as a medal display...

Restaurant Review: Farm Country Kitchen

While I was home for Labor Day Weekend I got to go to a restaurant I’ve been dying to try. Located right on the Peconic River in Riverhead, Farm Country Kitchen is the prettiest little restaurant that you would completely pass by if you didn’t know to look for it. 


(Keep your eyes peeled, or you could drive right by this cute little restaurant!)


Luckily, people know it’s there due to the great press they’ve received for their fresh and tasty meals. That, combined with the view, beautiful landscaping, and the BYOB aspect, made it the perfect place for a sunny lunch when we didn’t feel like fighting the traffic to make it to a vineyard over the long weekend.


(Precious, right?)


If you live on Long Island, specifically in Suffolk County, you may have heard of Savino’s Hideaway- a staple Italian restaurant that is beloved by many. There is a family connection between Savino’s and Farm Country Kitchen. You go Sguera’s!  

(Such a pretty view!)
(BYOB is lovely)

As an appetizer, my parents and I decided to split the longstem artichoke hearts prepared with a lobster stuffing and garlic aioli and served over a Caesar salad. Wow. 


Not only was this appetizer HUGE (it easily could have been an entrée) but it was BURSTING with flavor and most impressively BURSTING with lobster! The lobster stuffing wasn’t what a restaurant would typically serve you- breadcrumbs with a hint of lobster flavor. No. This lobster stuffing was LOBSTER. It was phenomenal.

Another impressive thing about Farm Country Kitchen? Their menu changes every day! 

Unfortunately for me, that means I can’t go back and look up exactly what I ordered- oops! Luckily, I had instagrammed a picture of my lunch that day (because look at it, it was beautiful!) and my caption informs me that what my salad was packed with was: duck (not just any slice of duck. The duck was tender, juicy, and so full of smoky flavor!), baby spinach, pineapple, strawberries, blackberries (I, unlike my mom, am a huge proponent of fruit in salads!), almonds, carrots and the best cheese of all, goat cheese (OK, I can’t actually pick the best cheese of all, that’s far too hard, but goat cheese is up there).  The dressing was sesame ginger and also delicious.


My parents split a panini for their meal that was like an explosion of happiness in your mouth when you took a bite. In keeping with the artichoke theme, they ordered the Maria Panini- breaded chicken, breaded artichoke hearts, basil pesto, and fresh mozzarella on a rosemary roll that was one of the best rolls I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. The panini came with a Sun dried tomato pasta salad, again, not skimping on the main attraction, the sun dried tomatoes. Everything about this sandwich was killer. The combination of flavors and textures is something I can still conjure up on my taste buds. 


I can’t say enough about this place, and I can’t wait to go back to try more of their fresh, flavorful, inventive meals! They serve dinner too, and deliver to the local area.  513 West Main Street Riverhead, NY 11901.


22 Miles, 4 Margaritas, An Iced Latte and PB Choco Fondue

Work has been pretty stressful, and last weekend I took a much-needed trip home to Long Island for the long weekend. This has been the least summery summer of my entire life- I've been to the beach once, on my kayaks a big fat 0 times, and on my boat a big fat 0 times too. There were no trips to the ocean, no trips to Fire Island, no trips to Block Island, and only a handful of days spent tanning at the pool. Thank God for my family vacation in Rhode Island or I may not even know that summer happened at all! Needless to say, I was determined to make Labor Day Weekend, what most people consider the end of summer, count. 

That being said, there was also major work to be done. The weekends before Labor Day I was away in Virginia for work. This weekend, I will again be working. My marathon is now a month away. Hence, last weekend I had a major long-run planned.  My longest training run of marathon prep. Some people called me crazy for wanting to do a long-run over 18 miles. But I knew that mentally, I needed to reach at least 20 before I could walk up to that starting line at know that I have what it takes to finish 26.2 miles. 

I was dreading this run all week long. I wanted to go home and relax, eat, drink, and lounge on the beach. But before I could do that, I'd have to run 20-22 solitary miles around my boring (and might I add, HILLY) suburban neighborhood. 

I put out a plea on Facebook - somebody, anybody join me for part of this run! My uncle, who is training for a 100 mile bike ride, was unfortunately using Saturday as his rest day before a grueling 80 miler on Sunday.  My ex cross-country star BFF said she needed "sleep" or something. My half-marathon partner had a cross-fit competition scheduled. And no one was brave enough to be like, "Hey, I don't really know you but who cares, let's run!" 

A friend from JackRabbit was running the mile race in Farmingdale Saturday morning, and said he would try to meet up with me, but unfortunately, it didn't end up working out.  That left my Aunt Dawn, and we planned on meeting up around 7:50 so she could join me for a half hour of my run. 

I arrived home Friday night with all intentions of eating well, not drinking, and getting to bed early. Well I certainly ate deliciously. I certainly failed at not drinking. And I successfully got a pretty good nights sleep.

My parents and grandparents took me out to dinner and an amazing restaurant in our neighborhood- Blond. I started with a martini because it had St. Germain in it, so it was like a necessity, right? Right. The Elderflower Martini was strong (I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to vodka) but delicious.

My family knows me oh so well, and gave me the honors of picking out the three appetizers that we would split.  First choice, easy, was the garlic roasted shrimp with naan bread and chick pea hummus.  

Second, my dad's recommendation, was the yellow fin tuna tar-tar with sesame soy ginger vinaigrette, crispy wontons and wasabi aioli.  LOVED the way this was served! 

Last but not least was the crab cake with jicama slaw, avocado puree and spicy aioli.  It's been awhile since I had crab cakes, and these were delicious. Plus- jicama and avocado. Sold. 

I was having SERIOUS issues deciding what to order. I went back and forth a million times. I ended up ordering the special, which was fresh, local striped bass served over a shrimp risotto. Blond is known for their risotto, and it's always delicious. But sometimes I wish EVERY entree didn't come with it- because it's certainly not the most low-cal side. 

My grandpa's Veal Scaloppini with potatoes, green beans and mushrooms was pretty delectable and I did my fair share of picking at it. My dad went for the seafood pasta with a saffron cream sauce, my grandma had the shrimp with risotto, and my mom ordered the duck entree which came with SWEET POTATOES that I continually stole off her plate. 

Somewhere along the way I switched to red wine and boldly announced to my parents, "You're out to eat with Nanny and me...you KNOW we are ordering dessert." 

And that was how we ended up with an order of crispy banana spring rolls (killer) and a HUGE pot of chocolate peanut butter fondue complete with strawberries, bananas, rice krispie treats and marshmallows for dipping (even more killer). A recent discovery is the amazing combination of peanut butter and rice krispie treats. You're welcome. 

I rolled out of the restaurant, went to bed, and before I knew it my alarm was ringing- signaling that it was time to do the damn thing and run 20 miles. 

I put on my November Project tank and my new pair of running shorts and ate half a banana.  I buckled my stupid Nathan Trail Mix water bottle belt, filled my two newly purchased water bottles, placed them in their holsters, and was out the door.

(All the essentials!)

I started running and almost immediately realized that these belt was NOT going to happen. The water sloshing around in the water bottles was loud. It was heavy. The belt kept riding up. It was pretty much the most uncomfortable and aggravating thing in the world. A complete waste of money as I hope to never put it on my body again in this lifetime (that sounds extremely dramatic, but it was truly that awful).  About 3 miles in, I was able to ditch the water bottles on my grandparents front lawn but unfortunately the belt had to stay with me for my phone and Gu...it wasn't so awful once the water bottles were gone! 

I ran 4 miles before meeting up with my aunt in her neighborhood.  We ran a slow 2 miles together, about 25 minutes and it was a great way to get me in the mindset of, "This is not a race, just get the miles and don't worry about speed!" My aunts neighborhood was SUPER hilly so it was good we were going slow or I would have been shot for the rest of the run! It was really a great break in the run to be able to chat with someone and go a little slower (when I run by myself I have a tendency to be a little too speedy). 

From my aunts it was another 4 miles back to around where I started, putting me halfway there at 10 and feeling GREAT.  The entire time I just kept thinking, "Can this please just miraculously turn into the Wineglass Marathon and I can just run my race right now??" I drank half a water bottle my aunt gave me, and I am ashamed to admit that that's all I drank the entire 22 miles.  Woops. 

At mile 13 I ate my Gu (Double Espresso, baby!) and kept on truckin'.  There is really not a ton to write about this run. Part of me feels like there's no way it really could have been around 20 miles because I felt so good the whole time. Of course, there were moments of ouch, this is uncomfortable, and oooof I'm getting bored- but not once did I need to put music on and not once did, "I'm not going to finish 20 miles" cross my mind (although I DID think I might have to walk up the hill on one road- I kept going though!) 

My mom called around mile 20 (I had decided I felt good enough to go to 22) and said she was going to walk towards me.  I had been going back and forth on stopping at 20 or 22, but knowing that my mom would be meeting up with me soon gave me the extra motivation to make it those extra 2 miles.  I was even able to run one of my fastest splits for the last mile!

I had done it! And it wasn't awful! I know that I can do this marathon, but I am still very nervous. Everything clicked on Saturday. And I may not be that lucky on October 5. 

MapMyRun is what I used to track my run- so I am not 100% confident that it really was 22 miles, but I figure I at LEAST did 20.  According to the app, my pace was 8:37, which I was pretty damn happy with (especially considering I took it slower while I was with my aunt!)

I got back to my house and showered, not able to eat anything yet. But once I got out of the shower I was ravenous and made myself a giant bowl of oats. Then it was off to the beach to relax! Unfortunately, it wasn't the sunniest of days, and I actually had to keep putting my long sleeve shirt on and off when the sun went behind the clouds. But it was nice just to be in the sand (sadly I didn't make it into the water). 

When we gave up on sunning ourselves, I went over to my aunts house to borrow her foam roller and magic stick to stretch out. Then, it was HAPPY HOUR TIME :) My parents and friend went down to the yacht club where I had a well-deserved margarita and Corona. 

Then, it was back to the house for a home-cooked meal from my dad. It was an essential summer meal, and I was STARVED. He made corn on the cob, fresh tomato salad and juicy, tender, bacon-wrapped filet mignon.  I am so spoiled! My mom and I also neeeeeeded a baked potato, so we split one that was leftover in the house. 

I was gung-ho all day about going out and partying Saturday night.  Meanwhile, but 8 I was in my pajamas on the couch and the only thing I was craving was froyo- screw dancing and beer. Around 10 I drove to Red Mango and got myself a disgustingly toppings-filled cup of peanut butter froyo and picked up some for my dad too (his first froyo experience!) 

Sunday dawned and I woke up expecting to be hurting all over. Shockingly, nothing felt too terrible. I called the gym to see if my favorite boot camp class was still happening, but it was cancelled for the holiday weekend so instead I did a half hour deck of cards workout instead. 

Then, my parents and I headed out to the outlets for some shoppin'.  Instead of the fall clothes I had set out to find, I left the extremely crowded Tanger Outlets with a pair of workout capris (complete with pocket) and a new sports bra.  Oh, my life. 

I had been dying to go to a vineyard while I was home, but the weather wasn't great and the traffic was going to be awful so instead, we decided to do a late lunch at a place I have been DYING to go to every since seeing healthy looking salad pictures on Instagram.  True story. Added bonus? Farm Country Kitchen is a) along the Peconic River and b) BYOB so we brought a bottle of wine and kind of pretended to be at a vineyard while enjoying an amazingly fresh and delicious lunch that I will write up in a separate review.  The weather turned out being fabulous while we were there, too! 

When we got home, my mom and I curled up on the couch and I FINALLY got to watch Frozen! It wasn't AS amazing as everyone made it out to be, but I certainly enjoyed it! That damn little snowman made the movie, hands down. 

No one else was hungry for dinner, and I wasn't really either, but I made myself a big delicious salad with leftovers anyway. Because 22 miles? 

Then it was over to Nanny and Poppy's with my aunts and uncles for a get together and drinks. I ended up drinking 3 margaritas and was feelin' good. 

Monday morning I woke up, ran 8 miles, tanned on my deck, and met my friend for coffee at another place I had been wanting to check out- Crazy Beans.  They just opened their second location in Stony Brook (their original restaurant is in Miller Place, and is the one we went to).  They have INCREDIBLE iced and hot latte flavors like Peanut Butter and Jelly and Salted Caramel.  I wanted mine to be semi-healthy so I opted for mixing two of their sugar-free flavor options- Dark Chocolate and Raspberry and using almond milk.  

It came served in a mason jar and was DELICIOUS.  

The place is soo cute too- with little knick-knacks in every corner and this cute little monkey on the bar.  The food menu sounded out of this world, and I'll definitely be back for lunch and a full review one day! My friend swears by the gouda, apple honey mustard grilled cheese and though I haven't tried it yet- how could something with those ingredients be anything but incredible? 

After that it was time to head back to the city, with coconut chia granola, lox, bibb lettuce, goat cheese, blue cheese and beets courtesy of my grandma! 

(Already enjoying lox from Nanny!)

It was a lovely weekend- and I hope you enjoyed being filled in on every little detail. 

Catch-Up

Let’s chat. I don’t really have anything specific to talk about, but I haven’t posted in a few days so I’ll ramble and getchya caught up on my oh so exciting life!

My birthday! Was great. I spun in the morning, I ate at Little Beet for lunch, and then, my friends and I celebrated seis de mayo! Mexican food and tequila are two of my favorite things, so this was perfect. 

(Everything I need in life) 

I went to the bar that makes my all-time favorite margarita (Bamboleo’s on Bleecker- go!), ate guac, caught up with friends, and then went to Esperanto in the East Village for Taco Tuesday! $12 for 3 tacos and a drink! Can’t beat that! Speaking of things that can’t be beaten…me, at beer pong that night.

(Thank you friends!!) 

WINNER! I actually won something! I guess the edible flower that Dig Inn posted on their Instagram (arugula, bam!) and I won a free lunch! Soo exciting since I absolutely love them!

Wedding?! The first of my friends from high school is officially married! Craziness! I had SUCH a fun time, she looked absolutely amazing, and everything was perfect- I wouldn’t expect anything less from Gabby! 

(How beautiful is she?!)

(How well do we match?!) 

(How great is this view?!)


I impressed my entire table with my ability to clean my plate. Cocktail hour, salad, entrée, dessert tasting plate, wedding cake, ice cream bar, and candy goody bags. Not to mention the open bar. Heaven.

(Are you surprised I took a picture of the menu? Because you shouldn't be. I ordered the sea bass! Mmmm)

(I LOOOOVED this salad! The lettuce was WRAPPED IN A CUCUMBER SLICE. There was cheese IN MY GRILLED PEAR! There were CASHEWS!)


Longest Run! My furthest distance has gone up once again! 15 miles on Saturday morning! Over the Williamsburg Bridge, through Brooklyn, into Queens and back to Manhattan.  It was a GREAT run despite the blisters I now have.

1st “Party” at my apartment happened on Saturday night and it was really nice catching up with people I haven’t gotten to hang out with in a long time! Also found my new go-to bar in the area. Also ate a lot of chips and salsa!

Sunday I decided “3 hours of sleep is fine.” Woke up, got my butt to Long Island and surprised my momma.  It was a gorgeous day! After some errands I got to tan on my deck with this beautiful homemade salad:

(Little bit of everythang- spinach, kale, zuchinni, carrots, raisins, strawberries, peppers, beets, feta and balsamic!) 

After falling asleep for a little I did some circuit training in my backyard and went for a walk to my grandparent’s house with my mom. 

(Me and momma's sneakers have the same color scheme!) 

(My grandparent's backyard is soo pretty!)

Then, my dad made us my favorite cocktail (grapefruit juice + gin + St. Germain) shrimp cocktail and an incredible dinner of lamb chops and cous cous with walnuts and asparagus! 




Then we went to my aunt’s house for my little cousin’s birthday and I ate 2 giant pieces of ice cream cake because I just can’t get enough sugar…ever.





A Tough Choice

I am a firm believer in the idea that healthy and nutritious food can be DELICIOUS!

But when my dad and sister got egg sandwiches from my favorite bagel store on Sunday, there was obviously a part of me that wanted the cheesy, carby, salty, fatty combination of bacon, egg and cheese on a doughy egg bagel (ok, I’m making myself cry a little bit right now).

But, instead, I made myself something much healthier- while still being satisfying and delicious.

-1 over easy egg (it’s all about the yolk porn, after all)
-Sliced tomato
-Whole grain toast
-Avocado mash {avocado, feta cheese, a little bit of hummus, olive oil, lemon juice and chili flakes)

(BEAUTIFUL right?) 


It’s all about making smart choices. And moderation is key- I OBVIOUSLY had two giant bites of my sister’s egg sandwich- I’m not a robot after all, and look how delicious that looks!