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Movies for a Rainy Summer Day

By lists, memories, movies, summer 2 Comments

It’s been raining on and off since yesterday afternoon, but I don’t mind much because a rainy summer evening means I can sink into the couch after work without the guilt that comes along with wasting a gorgeous night indoors. I can settle in and catch up on editing photos, while I play my favorite summer movies for background noise.

I know the season’s full of action-packed blockbusters at the theater, but at my house, these lingering late-summer days come with a sense of nostalgia and a longing to watch films that feel like old friends. Here is a handful of flicks I’ve had on repeat for the last 10 Augusts or so.

1 camp nowhere

1. Camp Nowhere
Four kids hatch a foolproof plan to get out of spending their summers at boring camps. They blackmail a drama teacher (Christopher Lloyd) to help them rent a campground, and spend the summer with no parents, no couselors, and no rules. Chaos ensues. I know some people think this movie is completely stupid, but I can’t help it. I used to think it was hilarious, and I watched it over and over again. =)

2. Dirty Dancing
I remember one summer my family stayed at a resort in the Poconos with our friends — we rode horses, swam, hiked and ate in a dining room with all of the other guests. There were no dancing lessons, but I imagine it’s the closest I’ll ever get to Baby’s 1963 stay at Kellerman’s. =)

3 Gidget

3. Gidget
The summer I first tried surfing, I become obsessed with Gidget. I can just hear Sandra Dee’s animated one-liners. “Honest to goodness, it’s the absolute ultimate!” Late that summer I came down with some pretty bad ear infections, and I remember spending lots of time recording and watching old episodes of the TV show starring Sally Field, too.

4 The-Sandlot

4. The Sandlot
The Sandlot was released on April 7, 1993. At the time, I was an avid softball player, and I went to see it with my friends to celebrate my 12th birthday. We quoted lines from the movie for years (“The Beast was the most perfect junkyard dog that ever lived…”), and the soundtrack was amazing.

5 the graduate

5. The Graduate
Surprisingly, I saw The Graduate on Broadway one summer before I saw the movie. I did watch the film a few weeks later, and I was fascinated by the cinematography, the pool scenes and the tan lines. I was still a film major at the time. Another movie with an amazing soundtrack, of course.

6 my father the hero

6. My Father the Hero
The classic tale of a teenage girl vacationing with her father on a beautiful Caribbean island, telling lie after blatant lie to impress a cute boy. This was Katherine Heigl’s first leading role, and she was oh-so-perfectly-dramatic as Nicole. The scenery is gorgeous, and Gerard Depardieu is pretty funny. I recently found out this version of My Father the Hero is a remake of the original, which was in French. I’d like to watch the French one sometime…I bet I wouldn’t even need subtitles. =)

P.S. I’m almost certain there are pineapples on her shorts in the photo above, and if anyone knows where I can get my hands on a pair like them, please e-mail me immediately.

7 forgetting-sarah-marshall

7. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
There are plenty of reasons to love this movie (which is probably the most recent on my list). First, I have a weakness for any film, book, etc. set in Hawaii. Though I’ve never been there, I’ve been infatuated with Hawaii since college. Second, Russell Brand is hilarious. Third, I love Kristen Bell. And fourth, I always love getting a glimpse of this shark tooth necklace, which has been on my wish list since 2008.

8 Parent Trap

8. The Parent Trap (either version)
I prefer the old one, but the Lindsay Lohan remake is actually pretty decent.

9 blue crush

9. Blue Crush
Surfing, Hawaii, gorgeous diamond bracelet…are you sensing a trend? =)

10 rear window

10. Rear Window
first saw Hitchcock’s Rear Window in a film studies class in college. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a great one. James Stewart plays the main character, a photographer who is recovering from a broken leg confined to a wheelchair in his apartment. During a sweltering heat wave, he overcomes his boredom by observing his neighbors through their open windows, and soon develops a theory that a man across the way has murdered his wife after witnessing a few bizarre occurrences. He and his girlfriend (Grace Kelly) go to great lengths to prove the neighbor’s guilt.

I could go on to list at least five more, but hopefully we won’t have enough rainy days to justify all that.

How about you? Have you seen any of these films? What are some of your favorite summertime movies?

10 Summer Essentials

By life's a beach, lifestyle, lists, shopping, style, summer One Comment

10 Summer Essentials

Summer’s in full swing, and I’m ready to make the most of the next few months. My calendar’s full of beach days, weekend trips, work events, cookouts, and more, and I’m sure yours is, too. The days may be long and scorching, but that’s no reason to go around looking (or acting) like a hot mess. =)

Here are 10 of my favorite summer essentials to get you through the season in style.

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From the beach to the bar to the office, I’ve been wearing these J.Crew 3″ Chino Shorts ($45) virtually everywhere this summer. I’ve got navy, khaki and hot pink on repeat, and since they’re so easy to wash, dry, pack, and wear, I see no end in sight for these shorts throughout the rest of July and August.

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If you’re one of those people who still doesn’t wear sunscreen, then you may as well be smoking a pack a day. I can’t be out in the mid-day sun for more than 20 minutes without long sleeves or some kind of SPF on my skin. Here’s what’s in my beach bag right now:
Ultimate Sun Protection Cream For Face SPF 55 PA+++ ($35)
Fresh Sugar Coral Lip Treatment SPF 15 ($23)
Banana Boat Sport Performance Sunscreen SPF 30 ($7)
Hawaiian Tropic Shimmer Effect Lotion SPF 20 ($10)

And one I’d like to try out soon:
Margaritaville Parrot Head Floridays Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 30 ($14)

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3-Beach Chair

I’ve been using an older version of this Nautica beach chair for the last few summers. It’s the best one I’ve ever owned, and it’s held up quite well. You can usually find these at Bed Bath & Beyond, Sam’s Club, Costco or other local stores that carry name-brand beach chairs. Surprisingly, the best place to find Nautica beach chairs (in a variety of colors) online right now seems to be eBay ($60 + free shipping).

Tommy Bahama carries some really nice beach chairs, too — complete with backpack straps and cooler pouches.

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4-Swim Suit

Most of my favorite suits come from designers Trina Turk, Vitamin A, and Nanette Lepore (mostly via Marshall’s, TJ Maxx,, and sample sale sites). For budget-friendly options, I love JCPenney’s Arizona Mix-and-Match Separates, which is where I stumbled upon the pink-and-white striped suit pictured above.

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5-Tote Bag

I’ve been hauling the same tote bag back and forth to the beach with me for going on ten years now. I’m ready for something new, and this Parrott Canvas Windjammer Ketch Tote ($75) is on my radar. Not only will it easily replace my past-its-prime beach bag, it will also make the perfect summer travel carry-on.

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It took me a good 30 years to realize I was never going to turn the enviable color bronze I dream about, and it’s been a challenge to find a self-tanner that doesn’t turn me a ridiculous shade of orange. Spray and airbrush tans are off-limits for me, but this summer, I discovered St. Tropez Everyday Gradual Tan ($30). It’s available in Light-Medium and Medium-Dark, the first of which is perfect for me. I love using it right after a day at the beach. =) Best part about it? It doesn’t smell like self-tanner. People actually tell me I smell nice when I use this stuff.

A budget-friendly alternative (that’s almost as good with a pretty tolerable scent): Jergens Natural Glow Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer ($10)

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7-Sun Hat

I never thought I’d be able to pull off hats like these, but once I started wearing them, I couldn’t stop. A hat is the best way I can think of to protect your hair and face from the sun on a summer day. Not to mention, the right hat is an easy outfit-maker. My four favorites (from left to right):
Nine West Packable Super Straw Floppy Hat ($40)
Tommy Bahama Medium-Brimmed Scarf Hat ($115)
Charlotte Russe Bow-Back Straw Fedora ($10)
Straw Boater Hat (very similar for $30 here)

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8-Beach Cruiser

Summers were simply made for riding bicycles. Obviously, a beach cruiser isn’t the best choice for everyone, but mine are my two prize possessions. Beach cruiser #1 is the 2008 model of this Electra Women’s Coaster 7. Beach cruiser #2 is this year’s Electra Women’s Cruiser 1.

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I’m big on low-maintenance make-up in the summer. A light-colored eye shadow, a coat of mascara, a dab of lipstick, a dusting of bronzer, and I’m out the door. These two have had a presence in my make-up bag for years, and I can’t imagine spending a summer (or winter) without them:
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzing Powder ($29)
Benefit Hoola ($28)

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I can’t go anywhere without sunglasses, and ever since they put a Sunglass Hut inside Macy’s, I haven’t been able to stop buying them. These Ray-Bans are my latest acquisition, and the last pair I bought before I realized I needed some way to organize them all. Can’t get enough sunglasses like me? You can find a few more of my favorite pairs here.


And that’s all I’ve got. What are your summer essentials?


By at the office, lists, take me away, tropical islands One Comment


Being stressed at the office hardly ever results in increased productivity. Some days call for kicking back and settling in for some serious post-lunch relaxation while you work. An afternoon at your desk is this close to feeling like a tropical oasis.

1. Get the look. An island-inspired button-down, white linen pants, metallic leather sandals and beachy waves. Polished enough for the workplace, but easy-going enough for a vacation. (Men’s version of this outfit here…maybe just dress like Kiel James Patrick.)

2. Radio Margaritaville. If you can’t stream it for free through the website on your work computer, plug your speakers into the headphone jack on your phone, and pull it up in the TuneIn Radio app. Sounds like a tiki bar, doesn’t it?

3. Pineapple juice on the rocks. It’s a tad disappointing you can’t mix it up with some coconut rum, but it’s arguably healthier than an afternoon chocolate bar, and nothing’s stopping you from adding a cocktail umbrella.

4. A breath of fresh air. If the scent of someone’s burnt popcorn in the microwave keeps wafting its way over to your area, that’s nothing a little Glade Plug-Ins can’t fix. Currently sniffing: Hawaiian Breeze.

5. Special effects. Drape your favorite beach towel over your chair, wear your bikini top under your shirt, and dab some sunblock on your wrists. Sure, you might get a few off-kilter stares, but if you can’t go to the beach, you may as well bring the beach to your cube.

Happy Hurricane Season!

By boat drinks, holiday fun, lists, weather 2 Comments



Every year on June 1st, I celebrate the beginning of hurricane season by drinking a hurricane. Some years, I’m more ambitious than others — I recall a sort of Hurricane bar crawl in 2008, and the overindulgence of Hurricanes all weekend in 2011 — but it’s been an annual tradition dating back at least five summers now. =)

Since today is the first day of the 2012 hurricane season, and especially because it’s a gorgeous Friday afternoon, I encourage you to take a few minutes to sit back and enjoy one of the greatest rum drinks of all time. And while you’re sipping on my favorite boat drink, here’s a little history to contemplate. The hurricane originated in New Orleans in the 1940s, when tavern owner Pat O’Brien needed to unload a bunch of less-than-stellar rum (that he was forced to purchase in order to get his hands on some more popular whiskey and Scotch). He mixed it up with some fruit juices and gave it away to sailors, and eventually the drink caught on, later becoming popular throughout the U.S. and a staple Mardi Gras drink.

You may be thinking, “Then what does a hurricane have to do with hurricane season anyway?” And I’ll tell you. The hurricane drink was named after the hurricane glass, and the hurricane glass was fashioned after the hurricane lamp. The hurricane lamp was meant to prevent a flame from puttering out during high winds and hurricanes. Thus, the hurricane drink certainly has something to do with hurricane season…right? =)

Anyway, here are just a few ways you can ring in the 2012 hurricane season today:

1. Meet me at Mahi Mah’s later for a hurricane.

2. Visit the National Hurricane Center website to see if your name is on this year’s list.

3. Plan a little trip to New Orleans and hit up Pat O’Brien’s, home of the original hurricane.

4. Absorb yourself in some hurricane-related entertainment. Perhaps a movie, book or song?

5. Concoct your own hurricane by mixing up 2 oz. light rum, 2 oz. dark rum, 3 oz. orange juice, 3 oz. pineapple juice and a dash of grenadine over ice. Garnish with an orange slice, a cherry and a little paper umbrella, and have a fabulous weekend! =)

Words of Wisdom for a Long Weekend

By food, holiday fun, life's a beach, lists, ruling at life 4 Comments

Memorial Day weekend is upon us. I don’t know about you, but I plan on making the most of the next 72 hours…starting with the fact that I’m already lounging on the beach. =)

As far as I’m concerned, the next three days are a mini-vacation. No work, no stress…just fun, sun, and more fun.

That being said, here are just a few ways you can celebrate the start of summer this weekend.

1. Wear sunblock. And keep wearing it all summer long.

2. Don’t drink and drive. There are cops everywhere, and I hear getting arrested sucks.

3. Drink a piƱa colada. It’s summer, and you’re on vacation.

4. Relax. Spend at least a few hours reading, snoozing or sipping champagne outside, whether it’s on a porch, near a pool or at the beach.

5. Listen to some fun music. My soundtrack for the next three days is shaping up to be Reel Big Fish Radio on Pandora. Nothing like soaking up some sunshine to the tune of some upbeat ska.

6. Don’t show up to cookouts empty-handed. If you’re too lazy (or hungover) to cook, I’ve got the perfect recipe for you. Spread one package of cream cheese over the bottom of a medium-sized microwaveable casserole dish. Top that with one can of Hormel chili (no beans), and top that with one package of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Voila! Taco dip! Pop it in the microwave for seven minutes when you get where you’re going. Serve it up with some tortilla chips and beer, and you’re golden.

7. Take at least a few minutes to remember what Memorial Day is all about.

8. Cram in as many other fun activities as possible. You only ring in summer once a year. =)

And that’s about it. Enjoy your weekend!

P.S. I posted this from my iPhone, so please pardon any typos or formatting issues. First attempt. =)