The past two weekends have been absolutely amazing - and I'm wondering if it's because I did what I wanted to do, and had no way of comparing how my days were filled with what other people were up to. One was spent in my small hometown on Long Island, the other in NYC.
The upside to deleting all of my social media has definitely been the absence of comparison. Though to be completely honest, I'm still reaching for my phone constantly and playing Snood or checking my email - it's so ingrained that even while I'm watching a show on Netflix, I'm simultaneously playing a video game from the early 2000s. Help me.
I'm also still taking pictures of almost everything - a) because I love pictures but b) because I know I still can share them on the blog, even if they aren't being instantly posted to the 'gram.
So let's recap!
Fourth of July Weekend
Fourth of July is my favorite holiday - I really don't know why, but it always ends up being one of the most perfect weekends of the summer. It's a day dedicated to BBQs, beer, day drinking, being outside, on the water, with a combination of friends and family. It's always right after we finish up all our events for the season and I can finally feel like there's a bit of a break to the constant travel. And I somehow always get really over the top with my outfit choice - 'MERICA.
This year, I head home to Long Island - land of beaches, boats, booze and the Boardy Barn.
Friday night when I got home my mom and I headed to the Yacht Club that my parents belong to for Lobster Night - my dad was volunteering as a cook for the night and my sister met us there. We were assigned an outdoor table, which we were happy about until we noticed the winds picking up, and picking up...and still picking up.
It was SO windy that eating was next to impossible. It was one of those situations where you could only laugh as entire beer bottles knocked over and peel and eat shrimp tails floated through the air.
We were in laughter-induced tears when my sister looked down at her plate and shouted, "I had a roll on my plate!" A friend from a table behind us responded with, "Is this it?!" and held up a roll.
My stomach hurt from the laughter and was happy from the delicious shrimp and lobster dinner. My heart was happy with the sunset that we caught the tail end of on our way home from the beach.
Solo Saturday Productivity
Saturday my sister was at a friends and my parents were at a party in Connecticut so I used the day to accomplish some To Do List items and relax.
Hamilton: The Revolution
I had bought this book about the creation of Hamilton for my mom for Mother's Day and wasted no time claiming it as my own for the weekend.
A slow start to the morning with lots of reading and coffee was a nice change from my usual "get up and go" pace.
And since I couldn't spend a million hours scrolling through Instagram, I finished the whole book that weekend. I cannot recommend it enough if you're a fan of Hamilton, or Lin-Manuel Miranda, or musicals and creative genius in general. It made me appreciate Hamilton even MORE than I did after walking out of the theater in May.
Every line, every movement, every choice was carefully decided on by Lin's "cabinet" and its such an interesting process to read about.
Saturday morning I also downloaded Mondly and started trying to teach myself some Swedish - because I'll be spending a week there this fall! I couldn't be more excited and while learning languages has never been one of my strong points, I do want to give an honest effort in knowing some vocabulary and basic sentences while I'm there. Especially since I'll be working and needing to communicate more than just my order at a restaurant (although the vocab needed to dine is very high on my priority list).
Any Stockholm travel tips, send them my way! Tak! (That means thank you).
Outdoor, No Equipment Workout
Around 11 I finally headed outside to my backyard in order to get a little bit of a sweat happening - I knew this was the only way to get me up off the couch to go do all of my errands.
I did this workout that I came up with last summer and it was perfect. About 45 minutes, total body, simple and sweaty. (The sweat might have been because it was already about 85 degrees outside).
Marshalls - My Downfall
Whenever I'm home, I go cray at Marshall's. This trip, I left with a black one-piece Calvin Klein bathing suit, a pair of Kensie white jeans, and an off the shoulder denim dress from Cloth & Stone. The dress is so soft!
Bagel & Champagne
Knowing we would be leaving for the the Boardy Barn bright and early the next morning, I preemptively picked up the Boardy Barn breakfast essentials - a bagel with cream cheese and lox and a bottle of bubbly.
There's nothing like getting a manicure at your home town nail salon. First of all, it's $25 vs. the $35+ I pay in the city.
Second, they instantly recognize me as "Sam's sister!"
Third, I finally found the perfect color gel that matches Bikini so Teeny by Essie which is my summer nail polish JAM. I will most definitely be getting this every weekend I go home this summer (which I'm hoping is frequently!!)
Nothing better than an afternoon visit with my Nanny & Poppy!
We talked about everything under the sun and then they gave me a PLUOT to try - it's a mix between a plum and an apricot and it was the ideal summer fruit. Crispy, tart skin with a sweet, juicy inside. There was not way to eat it without making a mess, but it was well worth the sticky fingers!
Crashing a Dinner Party
Next I headed to a local restaurant where some family friends I hadn't seen in far too long were getting a family dinner. I showed up to say hi while they enjoyed their first round of drinks and appetizers and it was so good seeing everyone and doing some quick catching up.
Dinner was one of my favorite combos - arugula + avocado + grapefruit! With some Caprese salad on the side (unpopular opinion over here, but mozzarella with balsamic >> any burrata I've had!)
Sunday Funday At the Boardy Barn
Going to the Boardy Barn is a right of passage for anyone growing up on Long Island. It's that rare bar that you really do wait until you're 21 to venture to - out in Hampton Bays, people arrive by cars, trains, buses, vans, limos and taxis.
It's only open on Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Only open from 2 PM to 8 PM.
There are porta pottys and $1 hot dogs. $3 Bud Lights and smiley face stickers. A giant tent. Dirt floors. You will leave sweaty and covered in dirt and beer. You will wait in line for hours in the sweltering sun to get inside. You will be extremely intoxicated and question why you started drinking at 9 AM. You will think, "this isn't worth it."
And then you will get inside and the DJ will play every song you never knew you wanted to scream/sing with hundreds of other Long Islanders and you'll swear that it's impossible to be unhappy at the barn. It really is the happiest place on earth.
Sounds dramatic, right? But everything I just said is the truth!
We arrived in our van around 10 a.m. and were inside by around 12:30 (extended hours for the Holiday Weekend - and a $30 cover). We lasted until around 6:30 and by 8 I was chowing down on a giant gyro with my parents.
What. A. Day.
Monday was absolutely, 100% what I hoped it would be.
Run with Mom
It started with a 4 mile, pain-free run to the beach WITH MY MOM which was the best part. It didn't feel too hard, and I was happy happy happy when my dad got down to the beach to pick us up.
Running again! My hometown route! To the beach! With my mom! The day could have ended there and I still would have been happy.
I'm On A Boat
But next up was going on our boat! I hadn't been on the boat in at least 2 or 3 years and was so content sitting on the boat, reading about Hamilton, playing Enrique Iglesias and Ed Sheeran over the speakers, chowing down on a salad and rice chips with hummus and hanging out with my parents.
I jumped into water and it's still pretty damn chilly, but was refreshing for the .2 seconds I stayed in.
I can't wait until the day that my parents have a slip down at the beach and don't have to trailer the boat anymore - seeing how much time and effort and work and sweat my dad puts into cleaning it after each trip is nuts and I can't wait for the process to be a little less stress-free for him. Dad, if you're reading, THANK YOU! His diligence and attention to detail and refusal to take the easy way out are why we were able to grow up our entire lives on a boat - the same one for 22 years in fact.
For dinner, we went to the insanely popular happy hour at Spiro's, where delicious and MASSIVE portions are served at bargain prices.
They also have a huge variety of martinis, margaritas and craft beer - which is the route I went!
We split a shrimp and lobster roll, bowl of mussels and grilled eggplant and shrimp dish. All of it was delicious.
The last part of the day was going down to the yacht club to get a spot on the deck to watch the fireworks from a few towns over. We sat with some of my parents friends, chatted, drank, and oohed and ahhed like children when the fireworks started over the water.
I thought I could pass on the fireworks - but I'm so glad that we went down and stuck around for them.
Back to the City
Tuesday I woke up, finished reading Hamilton, packed my stuff and eventually made my way back to NYC for the actual Fourth of July. But not before one more eclectic breakfast - whenever I'm home, there's so many options that I'm forced to just have a little bit of everything!
TRI TRAINING LOL
It had kind of hit me over the weekend while I wasn't swimming or biking that, "OH I'm doing a triathlon in like 10 days. Maybe I should have trained a little more."
Luckily, Abby was willing to meet me at the gym when I made it back to the city. We sat on some spin bikes in the empty studio and caught up about our weekends and then headed to the pool for a mile swim which went surprisingly very well - it was my fastest mile ever!
We showered and got festive (I even wore my giant star earrings!) and headed to Whole Foods where we went kind of crazy buying ingredients for a salad, hummus, guac, beer, etc. to bring to our friend Kaitlin's roof.
When we finally arrived at Kaitlin's around 7, we entered an apartment that smelled glorious. There were SURPRISE BURGERS. I was overjoyed - I had been crrrraving meat and feeling super weak and nothing says Fourth of July like a hamburger!
For just 4 people, we had put together quite the spread, if I do say so myself.
We got it all up on the roof, played some jams, chatted, drank some beers for America's Birthday (it would have been un-American not to), and waited to see if we'd even have a view of the fireworks over the East River...
We did! And again, I was surprised to find just how much I loved them! Even better - playing the Hamilton soundtrack as they went off.
A Weekend In NYC
The weekend following the Fourth of July kind of just materialized into a great one. It felt super relaxing even thought I did A LOT and it included all of my favorite things.
Summer Friday - Good Food, Good Beers
Lunch at JaJaJa
Kaitlin, Abby, Bertha, Rebecca and I met up on a summer Friday afternoon to try the new vegan Mexican restaurant in Chinatown called Jajaja - I should probably write up a real review because it was worthy.
The food was phenomenal, creative, and if I were a vegan this spot would definitely become a go-to. I already want to go back for another "fish" taco (made with squash) and for the monstrous pile of nachos with chorizo and guac.
The only thing that missed the mark was the ceviche, but otherwise, we loved it - and not a scrap was left behind by this girl gang.
I had been dying for some Ice & Vice, and since we were in Chinatown, it didn't take too much convincing for three of us to stop by for a scoop! Their "yellow" seasonal flavor was delicious (Buckwheat Honey, Tumeric, Sunflower, Butterscotch) as was their staple Tea Dance (Nilgiri Tea Leaf, Lemon Charcoal, Salted Caramel) I love that their menu calls this a "basic" flavor - as it is anything but!
Chill Beers & Jenga
If you know me, you know that a night at a beer garden with a million IPAs, big open windows and games is pretty much my ideal scenario and that's what Spritzenhaus33 in Williamsburg delivered on Friday night.
When we first got there, there were tons of moms and babies which was a little odd but they cleared out eventually. The place was hopping and we were able to snag a table right by the giant windows which was great.
Luxury Apartment Buildings
My friend and I stayed at her sisters apartment for the night and it was amazing. I didn't set an alarm and woke up in a verrrry air conditioned room to a cup of hot coffee and a gym in the building.
One day, this will be my life...
I got in a quick workout and then we went off in search of food. We ended up bringing omelettes and home fries up to the roof which was the start of our entireeee day out in the sun.
Darty is a term stolen from my sister and her friends which means day party - aka the best kind of party. ROOFTOP darties are even better.
My co-worker had an amazing party on her rooftop and pulled out all the stops - fun balloons and decorations with the theme of "Pineapples and Palm Trees." There was a pinata, pineapple punch, pineapple glasses, cute paper straws, BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP, flip cup, and views of the Manhattan skyline.
Yeah, not a bad way to spend a beautifully sunny day.
Outdoor Thai Dinner
Saturday wrapped up with us walking to get Thai food and being pleasantly surprised that they had an entire outdoor dining area.
I ordered the Larb Gai which burned my mouth off but was so freaking flavorful and delicious.
If you live in Williamsburg (or just want to eat really good Thai food outside) check out Sage!
I love a productive Sunday where I also have time to do a little bit of nothing. This Sunday was exactly that.
Again, there's this Olympic Distance triathlon that I'm attempting next weekend that I feel horribly unprepared for. While I should be tapering had I adhered to any kind of training schedule, instead Abby and I took the Sunday before the race to have our longest training brick workout. Oops?
We biked 35 miles and ran 3 - the miles on the park flew by since we could talk. I never would have done 5 loops of Central Park without her.
The run was, all things considered, a success but damn, it did not leave me looking forward to Sunday.
I was in a the pain cave. That's where I go when I can't summon the usual happy, "Yay I'm running" thoughts and instead just keep thinking, "this is hard, this doesn't feel good, can I stop now?"
Again, having Abby by my side got me through it. My shins never felt the sharp pain of a stress fracture but I was very very tight and my calves were very very painful afterwards.
We were quicker than I felt at the time, which was a pleasant surprise, but I'm definitely anticipating some walking breaks during the NYC Tri considering our run was around the reservoir for 3 miles and I'll be needing to get my booty up and over all of Central Park's many hills (including Harlem Hill) for 6 miles during the race.
Food Shopping & Meal Prep
Yes, this was a highlight of my weekend.
I finally went to the grocery store with a shopping list and cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner for the week because I'm actually going to be here for a week.
And I used recipes! From a cookbook! The Inspiralized cookbook to be exact! Kaitlin recently gave me her inspiralizer and I didn't make 1 but THREE things using it.
I made a zucchini noodle fritatta, a broccoli and chicken dish, and a monstrous salad with beet noodles.
YAY! I didn't even mind that all of this took me over two hours!
*PSA: I tried the new avocado and citrus yogurt from Trader Joe's and meh - not a fan!
I'm not a TV person, but there are days I can Netflix binge with the best of them.
On Sunday, I finished the new season of Orange Is The New Black (Why do people not like it? I loved it!) and also watched The Last Five Years movie with Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan.
The fact that I didn't know this was a movie that existed previously is NUTS as I absolutely loved The Last Five Years when I saw it at Second Stage years ago. The music is phenomenal.
So there you have it - two weekends where I couldn't have asked for anything more perfect. I have a feeling next weekend might be a liiiiiiitle more stressful, but hopefully I fall asleep on Sunday night as an Olympic Distance Triathlete - pleeeeaaaassssseeee???