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10 Years, 10 Friends, 10 Days: The Inspiration

By | blogs, boys, guest posts, links, lj, memories, milestones, navy, ruling at life, what have you been doing for the last 10 years? | One Comment

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Inspiration
Ten years on

By Stephen DeNoia

The Coastal Chicster.  Baby You Can(‘t) Drive My Car.  Ramblings of a Pineapple Enthusiast. VTJerseyGirl03.  Ten years on, Lisa’s blog is still thriving, still rolling, still scrolling.  Maybe she should get that tattooed across the backs of her shoulders: “Still Rolling, Still Scrolling”, with like an old script, quill, and scroll motif.  On second thought, it might sound like she’s just an internet addicted ecstasy popper.

Lisa asked me to pick my favorite post from her blog and write about it in honor of her 10 year mark.  I was honored, and the very next morning I started perusing through her old stuff because I  knew I would find my favorite buried somewhere in the archives of ’04 or ’07.  But the more I read, and the more memories got conjured up, and the more I noticed the maturity level increase as time went on what I found is that I cannot possibly choose a favorite.  With that being said, if I absolutely had to choose ONE post that is my favorite then I choose post number 1.  The origin post.  The beginning of an era.  The birth of something magnificent, with a title that speaks wonders to me:  “Stephen inspires me…”  It isn’t a long post.  It isn’t deep.  It doesn’t provoke any reader inward into their own thoughts and feelings.  It isn’t even very long.  Four sentences to be exact.  And they are by no means the four favorite sentences I’ve ever seen her write.  The title on the other hand – that’s what gets me.  It gets me every time.  See if you can follow me as I explain my reasoning.

You see, here we have a blog that has made us laugh when we needed to, or stop and think about the state of the country – or even the world – just when we were so content with our everyday lives.  This blog has even moved some of us to tears, happy or sad.  In 10 years, Lisa has gained a strong following and matured into an artful, witty, and talented writer.  Her blog has transformed – no, evolved into an amalgamation of fashion advice, easy living tips, and funny anecdotes all blanketed underneath a healthy coat of plain old good sense.

These days I like to read about her New Year’s resolution updates the most, but I also take a lot of pleasure out of reading about her cats and trips/vacations.  She has also developed quite a knack for photography and the pictures she takes are always worth the extra look.  Even her fashion posts hold some value to me.  As a guy who is engaged to be married, it isn’t the most terrible idea to keep up on women’s fashion.  To be honest, I think my fiancé may have been somewhat impressed with a few things I knew about the subject when we first started dating, all taken from Lisa’s pages.  (Thanks, Sis, ever the trusty wingman!)  Maybe she’ll start doing a few pieces for the guys.

There’s also plenty of fond memories, like the time she came home a little too tipsy for her own good from Bar A and a trip to the Princess Maria Diner, and proceeded to sing Manfred Mann’s version of “Blinded By The Light” as she fell out of her chair, laughing hysterically about how she was “gonna have to write about this in the – hiccup! – the morning!”  I don’t think she ever did get around to it though.  Or the time she accompanied my parents down to Pensacola to visit me after graduation from A-School.  We spent the weekend buzzed on the beach or poolside at the Margaritaville Hotel.  Lisa has always been one of the best people to share a drink with.  Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes she knows how to relax just right.

Maybe it’s just that I had the chance to be a part of something special, with those late night phone calls about the future of the blog.  But more likely I think that it’s this:  This blog has inspired me.  From tracking Lisa’s employment status during those shaky years in ’03 and ’04, to keeping up with her New Years’ resolutions, I have found myself striving for new heights when I needed to the most.  I don’t think I ever told her just how much her blog meant to me, but it’s something I look forward to reading for a long time coming, no matter what she’s writing about.  So to think that I was able to inspire her, even if it was just that one time, is really something else.  Thanks, Lisa.  Keep “ruling at life.”  Here’s to 10 years past, and 10 more to come.

Feeling:  happyHappy
Music:  All Along the Watchtower- Jimi Hendrix

10 Years, 10 Friends, 10 Days: The Boyfriend

By | blogs, boys, dating, diesel the puggle, guest posts, memories, milestones, what have you been doing for the last 10 years? | 4 Comments

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{2012}

J isn’t much of a blogger, but he was nice enough to contribute post #9. Maybe he had to because he’s my boyfriend? Nah, I think he wrote it because he likes me. Kind of like how when I went through a style blogging phase, he took most of my photos. And how when I went through an eBay selling phase, he shipped most of my packages. And how when I gave up gluten, he stopped inviting me over for dinner because he likes to eat pizza and tortellini. =) Nah, I’m just kidding. He takes me out for Thai and Mexican. All. The. Time. And I know you guys all want to know when we’re going to get married, but seriously? Mind your own business. All you need to know is that we share a Costco membership and a puggle right now. We’ll take care of the rest later. =)

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{2008}

Hi! My name’s John. I’ve never written a blog post before, so please excuse everything forthcoming in this post, as I don’t really know what I’m doing. The Coastal Chicster has asked me to write a guest post to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the best blog around. She’s amazing, so I told her I’d write something. I didn’t promise it would be good, but I committed to make an attempt. Here goes.

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{2010}

First off, I LOVE The Coastal Chicster.  I know her my as beautiful and brilliant girlfriend Lisa. I’ve been fortunate enough to know Lisa since 2008, and I’ve obviously followed (and been mentioned) in her writing over the years.


{2011}

Lisa asked me to pick a favorite post. Wow, that’s hard. She and I have had a lot of great times / trips etc. that she has written about.  I am partial to this one.  That trip was a blast, and she got a ton of great photos that she posted.  I also really like this post. It chronicles our fantastic trip to Chicago to see her brother Stephen graduate Navy Boot Camp.

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{2011}

That being said, my favorite post on this blog hits closer to home.

Ok, so I’m a lucky guy. I’ve got a phenomenal girlfriend, great family, friends and career. Know what else? Lisa and I have a dog. He’s pretty cool. His name is Diesel and this is my favorite post (at the moment) that Lisa has written since I’ve known her. Lisa and I had a great time going to pick him out. We had to defeat smoke and bad directions. There seemed to be peril at every turn. Eventually we got to pick out the dog genius now known as Diesel. This post makes me smile whenever I read it. Lisa was very sweet, and sincere both in the writing of the post and in dealing with the puppy. She wasn’t really a dog person, but I believe she is now.

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{2011}

I’m not sure I’m as smart as Lisa or Diesel, but I’m lucky to have them both in my life. This post resonates with me, as it reflects a great experience that is still ongoing. I hope Lisa continues to write from the heart, as I will be reading.

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{2012}

10 Years, 10 Friends, 10 Days: The Catalyst

By | blogs, boys, dating, friends, guest posts, hot lead singers of bands, memories, milestones, photography, resolutions, school, what have you been doing for the last 10 years? | No Comments

Photo Feb 28, 9 43 02 PM
{the photo that always made me want to be a photographer}

Post #8 is probably the most unexpected, but there was no way I could invite a bunch of friends to post on this blog without including Mikey Q. Those of you who know us would probably be super surprised to hear we’re still friends, and those of you who don’t would never understand. We don’t do very well at keeping in touch, and we haven’t seen each other in years. But the fact of the matter is that there are so many things that just are the way they are because of the many series of events that all sort of happened as a result of our ridiculous relationship between the years of 1998 and 2008 — this blog even existing probably being one of them.

Mike and his lovely wife Stephanie are expecting their third child in just a few days, and I’m so grateful he took a little time to write this for me when he’s got so much on his plate at the moment. If you Quargs ever make it back to the east coast, I’d love to meet the rest of you some day. =)

Let’s get this out of the way early… I’m the ex-boyfriend from high school and most of College. I met Lisa during a history project where we made a Lego video called “Events of 1969″. We covered the Mets winning the World Series, Woodstock, the moon landing and more. I have to admit that it was one of the most epic history projects ever, and it brought Lisa into my life. Despite the roller coaster relationship we have had over the past 15 years, we owe each other a lot.

Admittedly, I had a lot of trouble figuring out what to write in a blog post about a girl I used to know so well, but have hardly spoken to in roughly seven years. My first thought was, “Why the hell does Lisa want me to write anything about her or her blog when there are many people who are surely more qualified than I am to speak about the last few years?” So I pondered…

What hit me was that we are still friends. We share a common bond from a period of life that was so fragile, so turbulent, so exciting, so frustrating, and so instrumental in who we are today that it’s not that weird for me to comment here. This was a lot of heavy stuff for a Wednesday evening. So I started typing…

Lisa asked me what my favorite blog post was. I have been so busy with my own ridiculously fast-paced life, I had really slacked off on reading it. Honestly, I lost a little interest when she started to blog heavily about fashion. The ironic part is that if it weren’t for her, I’d still be wearing green corduroys and flannel shirts. Lisa’s incredible sense of style helped me to transform my wardrobe from grungy teenager to respectable adult, and I still remember some of her rules today. She is bold and creative, and I know she has started more than a few trends with the people around her.

I figured I would go back and look for a good post that brought back happy memories. So I went to her page and did a search for “ex-boyfriend”. Some of the posts were good, but I was shocked that the 2008 resolutions post and updates showed up ELEVEN times in the results. Clearly this was a sign that I should focus on that post.

The best part is that the mention of me is a simple one. “Don’t call my ex-boyfriend.” While I cannot remember the details of why I deserved this, I am sure that I did. Thankfully, my deserved excommunication only lasted until February 18th and we were friends again by April 19th. I won’t say that this is my favorite post, but I will call it the most telling. We have both vowed not to speak to the other again, but obviously we have failed. I think we are finally at a point where we have accepted failure and realized that friendship is a much better arrangement.

Lisa and I have been unable to shake each other (despite a thousand attempts) through some of the happiest and most miserable periods of our lives. We are who we are today because of many of the lessons and experiences we have shared. Wall High, Virginia Tech, Virginia Beach, Florida, The Bahamas, New Orleans, New York City, and many other places hold memories for us. Her family is full of fantastic people who deserve the best life has to offer. They accepted me despite my flaws and I have absolute respect for them. I really look up to her parents, and I owe them for helping me through many tough times, as well. At the end of the day, we wanted different things out of life. That being said, the kind of connection we had at such critical points in our lives creates a bond that lasts forever. Lisa is an incredible woman. Her happiness means a lot to me even across the tremendous distance between us.

My favorite part of her blog is that I get to share in some of that happiness and it gives me comfort to know that her commitment to being awesome has only gotten stronger!

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{April 19, 2008}

10 Years, 10 Friends, 10 Days: The Pen Pal

By | blogs, boys, friends, guest posts, links, lj, memories, milestones, new jersey, pineapples and palm trees, what have you been doing for the last 10 years? | No Comments

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Post #7 from my old favorite pen pal, Richard Hicks. He and I used to keep an e-mail chain going that must have been a hundred pages long. Richard Hicks is the type of guy who starts a blog (or multiple blogs), writes a whole bunch of cool posts, and then deletes them, so you can never go back and read your favorite ones. Well, not this time, mister. This post is staying here permanently. =)

When Lisa asked me last week to contribute a guest post for her blog’s 10th anniversary, my first thought was: Holy crap, it’s been a decade since we started blogging?  And my second thought was: Wow, it’s going to be really hard to write something that succinctly captures how awesome Lisa is, and what a great writer she is.

First, a little history: Lisa and I first met when I was in middle school, and our mutual friend Chris Tamayo invited her to our neighborhood basketball court to shoot some hoops.  Chris had a crush on Lisa, and in our adolescent dude brains we thought it would be a winning strategy to invite her over and wow her with our nonexistent awesome basketball skills.  The plan was that we’d all get on the court, and Lisa would watch Chris sink a couple of 3s, recognize him as the next John Stockton and profess her undying love for him right then and there.  If you’ve met Lisa, you know that she’s not the most physically imposing person, and watching her shoot free throws on an eight-foot basket is a lot like watching two-year-old Trick Shot Titus gazing up at the 10-foot hoop at Wichita State.  Her height disadvantage notwithstanding, she schooled us on the court that day — in both around the world and the complexities of winning a woman’s affection.

Lisa and I continued to cross paths a bit in the years that followed — mostly, again, because of mutual friends.  In high school she dated a guy named Mike, and their relationship was about as serious as a teenage relationship could be.  Mike went on to Virginia Tech after high school, and Lisa went to JMU and ended up transferring to Tech after her first year so she could be with Mike.  Mike was a great guy, and all indications were that he and Lisa would get married after college.  While Lisa and Mike were in their relationship, I was in an equally serious relationship with one of Lisa’s best friends, Jamie, and it became just as sure a bet that Jamie and I would get married after she finished college and I got settled into my first assignment in the military.  Against all odds, both relationships ended, and over time and across the miles, Lisa and I drew closer as friends — at first to try to help each other get over the breakups, and then later because I kept seeing more and more what a great person she was.

In 2004 I transferred to Japan, and during the two years I was there I kept in touch with Lisa regularly.  Just about every Saturday morning I would trek over to the Internet cafe on base to do two things: call my family and write Lisa an email.  On a weekend trip up to Nago Pineapple Park on Okinawa, I gathered up a bunch of pineapple trinkets and sent them to Lisa (the inaugural name for Lisa’s blog was actually “Ramblings of a Pineapple Enthusiast”).  When I left the military in 2006 and moved back to NJ, Lisa and I would get together whenever she was home and go for a run on the Belmar boardwalk or the running track in our hometown municipal complex.  I drove down to Virginia Beach one weekend in 2007 to visit her, and we went to a Shins concert at The Norva and bought each other T-shirts (I still have mine, but since the only size available at the concert was small [not a problem for Lisa], it was converted into a dust rag a couple of years ago).  We hung out with a couple of her friends in Virginia Beach (in my usual way of remembering dogs more than people, I don’t remember the friends’ names, but I remember that they had a boxer), and one of the friends told me in a sidebar conversation that Lisa always got him an “A” when she edited his college papers.  We agreed that she was the best writer and editor we’d ever met.  To me, she still is.

I went back to her old LiveJournal to refresh my memory for this guest post (we both started LiveJournals in 2003 — Lisa kept up with hers, and I think mine fizzled out after post #2), and as I was clicking through her post archive, memories started flooding back.  I laughed out loud at these two conversations Lisa had with her brother, Stephen: (1) “An Intelligent Conversation With My Brother”; and (2) “An Update on Stephen Getting a Job.”  Her early 2004 posts about her little cousins are all great (the guest post that her little cousins submitted last week is a must-read).  I think my all-time favorite post, though, is one Lisa wrote on Memorial Day weekend in 2004.  It captures everything about summer at the Jersey Shore that I love and miss.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a fellow fan of Lisa’s blog, and you don’t need to be assured that it’s worth your time to keep reading.  For anyone who hasn’t been fortunate enough to meet Lisa in person, and only knows her as a two-dimensional Internet person, please accept my assurance that the person behind the blog is just as smart, funny and awesome (and fashionable) as you know her to be here.  Happy 10-year anniversary, Lisa!  Keep writing!

Farmers Market

By | boys, fashion statements, food, outfits, shopping, style, summer | 2 Comments

Lilly Pulitzer Joie_001

Top: Lilly Pulitzer (similar here and here). Jeans: Calvin Klein (similar here). Sandals: Jack Rogers. Tote: Joie (via eBay). Shades: Oakley (similar here).

This lucky girl has a boyfriend who likes to shop almost as much as she does. To us, shopping is a game — we love the challenge of finding exactly what we want at the best possible price. When J offered to buy me a “just because” gift a few weeks ago, this bag came to mind, but it was already sold out in turquoise, and it was a little more than he wanted to spend. After a little internet searching, he managed to find one on eBay, brand new with the tag on it for nearly $35 less! Perfection.

As soon as he gave it to me, I said, “This bag makes me want to go to the farmers market.”

“You have fun with that,” he replied.

I guess you can’t have everything, but you can have fresh local strawberries and whipped cream for lunch with your best co-worker friend on a hot summer day. =)

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P.S. Thanks again to Michelle for the photos (and the company). =)

P.P.S. If you were wondering, after trying on both pairs, I went with the Jacks (in gold instead of platinum).