Category

new jersey

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

unnamed

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!

MDW 2013

By | boats, holiday fun, life's a beach, lifestyle, memories, new jersey, photography, road trips, spring, style, summer, the places you'll go, travel, weather | 4 Comments

belmar marina

Greetings from the Jersey Shore! I’m up here on a sort of half-vacation this week, spending time with my brother before he moves to Jacksonville and leaves for his first six-month deployment on the USS The Sullivans.

This is the first Memorial Day weekend I’ve spent in NJ since 2006. It’s actually been seven years to the day that I took this somewhat infamous photo of my favorite little boats in the Belmar Marina (above). I can’t remember exactly what we were doing or where we were going, but I ordered my dad to swerve off Rte. 35 into the marina parking lot, so I could snap some pictures of the sunset. It was a gorgeous night. I ran around taking as many photos as I possibly could and lucked out with this one. It’s been a favorite of mine ever since. It later served as a Christmas present for my dad, and it now hangs framed in my parents’ entryway with a little note on the mat:

Dad,
Thanks for stopping.
Love, Lisa

I got on the road as the sun was coming up yesterday morning. Mine was the only car in sight all the way across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, and I made such good time that I was able to catch the 9:15 ferry leaving Lewes, DE, rather than the 10:15 I’d been planning to take. I spent late morning sipping a Bloody Mary, catching up with some of my Virginia Beach friends in Sea Isle City. We had lunch of sauteed vegetables and braciole on the deck, followed by a stroll through some of Sea Isle’s poshest little boutiques and possibly the best French vanilla milkshake I’ve ever had.

I departed Sea Isle and made my way north to Atlantic City, where I spent an hour browsing the outlets and the Pier Shops at Caesar’s before I met my parents for dinner at the brand new Margaritaville entertainment complex at Resorts. Little did I know that the player’s card I signed up for three years ago would save me $5 on parking, which I promptly spent on Parrothead sunscreen in the gift shop. Not to worry, though. I kept my AC winning streak alive by scoring $55 from a Triple Diamond slot machine.

My plans for the rest of the week include some time at the spa, working from my parents’ patio, a day in NYC, catching up with friends and family, reading about seven magazines I haven’t had time to look at, and a graduation/bon voyage party for my brother Saturday night. Oh, and some shopping. (I may have already done a little of that.)

Anyway, I’m glad to be here. The weather’s not quite as summery as I remember last year’s was, but today was a perfect day to cook out, and it’s supposed to warm up this week. I hope everyone had a lovely Memorial Day weekend and took some time to remember those who have lost their lives serving our country.

NJ Trip #1

By | life's a beach, lifestyle, new jersey, road trips, summer, take me away, the places you'll go, travel | 3 Comments

20120722_092

Now that my first little string of vacations has ended, I’ve finally got some time to post about them. =) You already know I kicked off New Jersey Trip #1 with Suttonpalooza, so this pretty much sums up the rest.

20120722_064

I made it a point to enjoy a few breakfasts featuring pork roll (a Jersey staple) at Amy’s Omelette House (above) and a little bakery/cafe in Atlantic Highlands (below).

20120723_118

20120722_069

I spent lots of sunny, relaxing hours at the pool with my favorite magazines and my mom and dad.

20120722_068

20120722_074

I wore a nautical dress (first photo of this post) to an impromptu rendezvous with my parents and their friends at the new 9th Ave Pier in Belmar.

20120722_076

20120722_082

I spent an evening chasing the sunset around the marina in search of the perfect shot.

20120722_094

20120722_097

20120723_110

My mom and I paid a morning visit to the Twin Lights

20120723_106

20120723_121

…followed by an afternoon in the city…

20120723_120

…where we ducked into La Maison du Chocolat to avoid a drizzle and split an eclair between shops on Madison Avenue…

20120723_129

…and then indulged in just a few pastries more at Ferrara after dining al fresco in Little Italy.

Untitled-2

I sought some late afternoon shade in the old Casino with my best friend and her little girls on the boardwalk in Asbury Park.

20120724_133

20120725_148

I picked up a few treasures along the way  — a classic striped top (St. James), madras shorts (Cape Madras via Brave New World), Saltwater Soap (Saipua via Warm), and starfish earrings from a boutique on the boardwalk. I bought my friend Tina a matching pair, too. =)

20120725_149

20120725_150

I met my mom for lunch on the boards before I left to drive home. Nothing beats a cold Diet Coke in a shiny red cup on a sizzling afternoon.

20120725_153

20120725_154

I raced the sunset down to the bridge. It was nothing short of perfect timing as I (literally) swerved off the road at the CBBT scenic overlook and launched myself out of the car to snap this shot just as the sun was dipping below the horizon.

20120725_155

I stopped to revel in the last 20 minutes of my trip. After the sun went down, I rolled down the windows, sat back in the driver’s seat, stared out over the bay, and savored a cup of she-crab soup I picked up from The Great Machipongo Clam Shack.

20120725_156

Suttonpalooza 2012

By | events, new jersey, partying like a rock star, summer | 3 Comments

20120721_006

Every summer, my best friend and her husband host an outdoor bash of epic proportions. It’s definitely the only party I get invited to that features an ice cream truck, six buffet tables full of food, a sculpted ice luge, fireworks, a water slide, live music and a raffle, that’s for sure. It’s always a blast, and a great opportunity for me to catch up with old friends an co-workers I wouldn’t normally see when I head up to NJ for a visit. =)

20120721_049

20120721_001

20120721_008

20120721_003

20120721_007

20120721_030

20120721_036

20120721_054

20120721_050

20120721_048

20120721_047

20120721_029

20120721_051

20120721_057

20120721_060

20120721_058

20120721_061

P.S. If you were at the party and you want to see the rest of the pictures, you can find them on my website. If you know Kristy and Frank, the password should be pretty easy to guess. =) I’ll get some of them up on Facebook soon, too.

Long Lost Scenes of Summer

By | memories, new jersey, ruling at life, take me away, the coastal chicster, travel | One Comment

20110716_003

These long lost photos of my annual back-to-back Jersey trips this past summer bring back memories of steamy city days, breezy evenings on the water, night swimming with my best friend, a sunny afternoon on the boardwalk with J, shopping with my mom, and my grandma finally making it home from the hospital. It took me a little too long to go through the hundreds of photos I took, but I’m glad I finally got around to it. =)

20110716_006

20110716_024

20110716_018

20110717_051

20110717_049

20110717_043

20110718_074

20110718_061

20110718_058

20110718_069

20110718_068

20110718_072

20110719_077

20110805_088

20110805_095

20110805_096

20110805_104

20110806_111

20110806_113

20110806_109

20110716_004