Friday, July 21, 2017

Wild Horses, Beach, and Glamping Girl's Weekend

Who remembers the episode of the Wonder Years when they take their annual summer fishing trip to the lake? Last weekend my girlfriends and I took a road trip and went glamping. What is glamping you ask? It’s glamorous camping. You can sleep in a real bed, have a/c, indoor plumbing, a fridge and microwave. Yet can still step outside to roast s’mores over the campfire while drinking rose (which we consumed plenty of). We enjoyed gazing at the night’s sky to admire all the stars you can’t see in the city. We fell asleep listening to frogs croaking and woke to the chirping of birds. We got closer to the real outdoors yet had the best of both worlds!

For the last ten years I’ve always wanted to go to Assateague island. Twice I almost went camping but something came up. After this trip, I’m glad I had the more comfortable experience of staying in a cabin. Just 150 miles away is Assateague National Seashore, not far from Ocean City. Your parents probably read the classic children’s book Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry based on the wild horses in Assateague Island.

Assateague Island is a 37-mile long barrier island located on the Maryland -Virginia state line. There are approximately 300 wild horses that live on Assateague. They were brought in by early colonial settlers 400 years ago. Technically they are called ponies as they aren’t tall enough to be classified as a horse. They roam in small herds of 5-10 and eat a very limited and harsh diet of dune grass and drink water from ponds as the sea water is too salty. There are rangers around to keep the horses away from heavily populated areas of the beaches. It’s illegal to feed the horses.

 Assateague consists of both a National Park and a State Park. We visited two beaches on the National Park that did not have life guards, but the facilities included large port a potties, changing stalls and open showers. The National Park charges $20.00 per vehicle per week so keep your receipt.The sand was a pretty light beige color, unlike the red sand beach we went to in Annapolis last year. I collected some pretty white and purple seashells and saw small clams running into their holes in the sand. I saw lots of people surfing in the high tide. Along the drive to the beach we passed people fishing and some oyster farms. The picturesque Assateague Lighthouse is free to visit, but we got a great view of it from our evening cruise.

We stayed in the charming coastal town of Chincoteague which has lots of gift shops, restaurants and tons of hotels. Our drive to Chincoteague was very scenic as we stopped at a winery first then had lunch in the historic small town of Berlin, MD. The movie Runaway Bride starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts was filmed there. The town has art galleries including a glass shop, restaurants, a brewery and an amazing antique store! The drive also passed NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility where you can watch rocket launches from the beach!

The weather was near-perfect while we were there with sunny 90s and the ocean breeze kept most of the mosquitoes away. Although I did get a couple bites at night by the campsite. You know I had to get my mural photo in! lol

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Summer Reading List

I reactivated my Audible account which has made reading books easy this summer as I can "read" as I walk places. But I still read on my kindle in bed and library books at the beach or in airports as I've taken 4 vacations already this summer. Here are some books I've enjoyed and recommend.

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah 2016, 304 pages
This is the most interesting book I've read in a long time! I highly recommend it, its a quick read and you'll learn so much about pre- and post- Apartheid South Africa from the perspective of a bi-racial person with some humor thrown in. Trevor Noah is a comedian and the host of the Daily Show. In the book is talks a lot about his  language since he speaks many including English, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Tswana, Tsonga, Afrikaans and some German and Spanish. Check out his stand up specials on netflix on live on tour this year. He's doing 4 shows at the Kennedy Center in Sept.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty 2014, 460 pages
I read her other book The Husband's Secret and really enjoyed that. Then when I heard of the HBO series based on her other book, I thought I'd read the book first. Set in Australia, this book follows the stories of 5 moms whose kids all attend kindergarten together. So as I read the book I kept the characters apart by remembering who played them in the HBO miniseries: Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, and Zoë Kravitz. The book begins alluding to a murder that takes place at the end of the book, but you have to finish the book to find out who! The book has humor, mom rivalry, and vivid characters.

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill 2013, 402 pages
As niece of the Church of Scientology's leader David Miscavige, Jenna was raised in Scientology and shares her experience and perspective of it. The little I know of Scientology came from Leah Remini's book which I really enjoyed, however this books explained what it's like to grow up in the organization and how hard it was.

The Muse by Jessie Burton
2016, 416 pages
I enjoyed her first book The Miniaturist so I was excited to see she wrote her second book. The Muse is set in two time frames that intersect in the end over a mystery painting. One of a Trinidadian woman living in London in 1967 working at an art gallery and one of the daughter of an art dealer living in rural Spain in 1936. The plot twists really surprised me! If you're a historical fiction fan, this book is for you. 

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena 2016, 308 pages
As an avid Dateline watcher, I love a good mystery. I couldn't put down this fast paced book and finished it in 3 days because I had to know what happened! A couple go to a dinner party next door but left their 6-month baby home alone when the babysitter cancelled. They took the baby monitor with them and checked on the baby every half hour. But when they returned home the baby was gone!

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman,
2012, 337 pages
Originally written in Swedish, this international bestseller is in the top 10 bestsellers list on audible and #41 book on amazon. Ove is the quintessential angry old man next door. An isolated retiree with strict principles and a short fuse, who spends his days enforcing block association rules that only he cares about, and visiting his wife's grave, Ove has given up on life. Enter a boisterous young family next door who accidentally flattens Ove's mailbox while moving in and earning his special brand of ire. Yet from this inauspicious beginning an unlikely friendship forms and we come to understand Ove's past happiness and heartbreaks.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Millennial Pink Workout Clothes

Have you heard of Millennial Pink? It's not just one shade of pink, it a range of light pinks from rose quartz, to blush, to rose gold. It's a muted barbie pink so it could be a pink between beige and peach. My favorite summer pink nail polish colors cover this spectrum. It may be the new trending color, but I've been a fan of this shade for years. However it's so hard to find serious running shoes in this color and tank tops. Why is that?

For the summer, I decided I really want to wear pink and white to my fitness classes. I've been wanting to wear white workout pants for years but had been putting it off thinking I have to wait until I'm thin. Well I decided to stop the waiting game and just embrace my size. Earlier this year lululemon released an entire white collection and it got me thinking about it again. Then I read this popsugar article that did a field test of how white workout gear holds up during a sweaty workout. That convinced me to take the plunge and bought the same crop pants the writer is wearing (which is unfortunately sold out now). I also bought the Mind Over Miles Tight. I'm so used to buying my running tights with a draw string to hold them up, but these really stay up without one! Athleta makes a pair of white tights for yoga.

I wanted to share some loose fitting light pink tank tops that I've found to go with these awesome white tights.  Nike's Tomboy tank have been my ultimate favorite tank that I own in several colors. I have been having a heck of a time finding others that aren't semi-sheer so the search continues.

Graphic Tanks
Rose All Day
Spiritual Gangster
Converse All Star

Plain tanks
Nike Dry Running Tank
Carrie Underwood

Sneakers - Top Row
Asics and Nike Tanjun

Sneakers - Bottom Row
Nike Presto comes in 2 shades of pink. JCrew made a pair with New Balance that are adorable.

Sneakers not pictured:
APL from Oprah's favorites list

Floral Water Bottle
Palm Water Bottle

Monday, June 26, 2017

Weekend in Chicago

Chicago's skyscrappers reminded me a lot of NYC where I went to college. The buildings run from 60 floors to 100 floors! This was my second trip to Chicago, the first was a college graduation gift from my mother to see the Taste of Polonia Festival. How do New York and Chicago compare? Well Chicago is smaller than NYC with only 2.7 million people. The bitter winters makes it a city of drivers, unlike (mostly) car-less New Yorkers. However, Chicago has a beach right in the city! Yes you read that right, I was surprised too. They actually have 26 beaches and my favorite was North Avenue Beach. It has an Ocean Liner inspired building which has a bar on top with a dj and a day party going on. The beach has a ton of volleyball nets and is surrounded by the Lakefront Trail. The Lakefront Trail is an 18-mile path where you can bike, run, or walk adjacent to the beach. It's great for people watching while having a gorgeous view of the beach and skyline. Chicago has an awesome bike sharing system called the Divvy which has 300 stations. I saw so many people on the lakefront trail using the Divvy bikes.

What makes Chicago so beautiful is all the green space, waterfronts and river that flows through the city. Best of all the area around Merchant Mart smells like chocolate! The Blommer Chocolate Factory permeates the air and made walking around smell lovely! Chicago is famous for their deep dish pizza which is cheese on the bottom and chunky tomato sauce on the top. Giordano's would be the most famous restaurant in Chicago to try. You might all know the pizza chain Uno's that came out of Chicago.

Chicago's downtown area is called "The Loop." It got it names from the elevated L train tracks that encircled it. The 'L' is short for "elevated" and all but one of the 8 routes are above ground. In the loop  you can find 22 colleges, every time I turned around I saw another school. You will also find the Riverwalk which is a pedestrian walkway along the river lined with bars and where you can catch the water taxi or rent kayaks.


I bet you didn't know the nickname "windy city" is not because it's windy (which it was), it's because of the politicians who have historically blown hot air in Chicago. When a native Chicagoan told me this I couldn't believe it so I had to google and found out that Chicago is also ranked the most corrupt major city in our country. Think of the corruption of the likes of former Governor Rod Blagojevich former US Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. In fact six Illinois governors have been charged with crimes and four went to prison.

Chicago has 56 museums! Including the Art Institute of Chicago which is ranked as the best museum in the world.  I went to the Garfield Conservatory which is a gorgeous botanic garden.  I also visited the Adler Planetarium. I walked along the Lakefront Trail to get there which you can see in the super windy picture below.  When I came out of the Planetarium, this view was completely covered in fog!


Last year Chicago got a new ferris wheel at the Navy Pier  that is taller and faster.

This was off the beaten path, but I went to a Walgreens that used to be a bank and this was in its basement, how cool is that!

Where to Eat:
Cindy’s Rooftop - great views of Millennium Park (see pic above)
Real Good Juice - green juices, smoothies and avocado toast (multiple locations)
Sprinkles cupcake - right off of Chicago's Magnificent Mile where all the major shopping is and across from Oak Street beach
Mercadito - upscale Mexican restaurant with 3 locations and unique cocktails
Native Foods - fast casual vegan restaurant chain with 4 locations in Chicago, I visited while I was in LA as well.
Sienna Tavern - modern northern Italian restaurant, best meal I had in Chicago!
The Hampton Social - best brunch spot, amazing cocktails, awesome vibe, nautical theme with a live band and huge open windows creating a nice breeze, drinking a frozen rosé cocktail in the pic below.

I went rooftop bar hopping with friends to find the best view.

Chicago Rooftop Guide
Cindy’s Rooftop
RAISED Urban Rooftop Bar
JR Parker
Cerise (Virgin Hotel)
ROOF on theWit
London House - best view below

    Monday, June 19, 2017

    Summer Workwear

    It finally feels like summer here and the humidity has kicked in early! By now I'm sure you've gone through your closet to see what you can wear this season, what no longer fits, and what you no longer feel like wearing. And if you're like me, that means there's not much left to wear! lol So I put a few things up for sale on Tradesy, it's an online consignment store. I have so many fun weekend clothes, but not much I feel is stylish for work so I went shopping. 

    In the top row, the first three dresses are from Kate Spade. I love the "jardin" print! it comes in several dress styles, a romper, several bag styles, a scarf, skirt, blouse, shorts and a phone case. The blue dress and peacock dress are on sale! 

    In the summertime I love wearing pastel pink nail polish and mauve pale pink clothing. I've shared a couple pink dresses, blazer, blouse and Kate Spade bag that you can find in a pretty shade of pink. 

    I've noticed in stores that stripes are really in trend right now. The great thing about wearing a striped dress or shirt is that in your air-conditioned office you can pair it with a jeweled colored cardigan like emerald or royal purple. Together the colors will pop!

    The sleeveless navy ponte sheath dress in the 2nd row is from Lands'End. They make this same dress every year in different colors. I love this dress because it's washable, doesn't need to be ironed and has pockets. It's a perfect work staple! It comes in a range of colors, prints and plus sizes. Chico's makes the pull-on slimming crops pants and the kelly green linen side slit tunic.

    You can never go wrong with a pair of espadrilles wedge heels. Click on the images below to go to the item.

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