Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Best Margaritas.

A part of the key to our successful trip to the beach was a never ending pitcher of margaritas. It's not to say that we would not have had a fabulous time without them...but it wouldn't have been the same.

There is something about the beach that demands a margarita. Right?

This is not your standard margarita recipe. There is no lime involved. Nor is there any sweet and sour mix. It's the simplest recipe of all time. My mom has been serving them like this for years - be it at a Mexican themed bridal shower, Cinco de Mayo, or for the girls at the beach.

The beauty of it is the easy proportions. Any bartender will tell you that the key to a good drink is in consistency. The first drink should taste just like the second and should still taste the same on another night with a different bartender. That's why margaritas are so difficult. There are a million ways to make them and everyone likes them a little differently.

But these are easy - and delicious. Not too sweet, not too sour, not too strong. And they always taste the same! I love a reliable drink.

No Sally, that's not how you do it. Show some self control. Jeez.

Can't take her anywhere.

There are four ingredients and all in equal amounts. Frozen limeade, Corona, Sprite and Tequila. Feel free to sub in Corona Lite and Sprite Zero if you're feeling spunky.

The Corona is simple - 1 bottle.

Then the limeade, which is the slushy stuff found in the frozen section.

Next, pour in your Sprite. You can either use one can or simply refill the limeade container if you're using a 2 liter bottle.

Same goes for the tequila. Fill that limeade can right back up and dump it in.

Mix it around and then pour over ice. If rocks drinks aren't your thing than pop the pitcher in the freezer and let it sit for a few hours until it gets deliciously slushy. Perfect for taking down to the beach!

But I should add, go ahead and make a double batch. They're that good.

Now, who wants to make a practice batch and invite me over for a taste test?

Let's recap:

  • 12 oz frozen limeade
  • 12 oz Corona or Corona Lite
  • 12 oz Sprite or Sprite Zero
  • 12 oz Tequila (measure it in the limeade can!)
  • Stir and Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Beach.

You know when you plan a weekend get-a-way and it lives up to all the expectations you had? That was this weekend. My sister, best friend and I loaded up the car and headed south in search of white sand on Florida's panhandle. 

We had one fabulously fun day on the beach. We also had a rainy day, which is only slightly unfortunate when there are only two days in the weekend. But the sunny day made up for it tenfold. 

Plus there was the small incident where I rode my bike into a large cluster of bushes and everyone was too busy laughing at me to help untangle me from the twigs. That definitely made up for the rain. I suspect we'll be laughing about that for a while. 

Before the rain hit we got a little too big for our britches and decided that an eight mile bike ride to nearby Seaside was manageable. None of us took the Florida humidity into consideration - or the fact that eight miles is a really long way - so we turned back around mile two. But we figured that a four mile ride had earned us a margarita or two, which is how we spent the rest of our rainy day. 

When the rain subsided on day two we hit the beach bright and early. Sun or no sun, we weren't about to miss out on another day. 

We set up shop quite nicely, red solo cups and all. As it should, our day morphed nicely from chatting to sipping margaritas, to playing games and diving through the waves.

Although I was raised going to the beach every summer, I've never been a huge fan of salt water. However, I've recently decided that seizing the day is the way to go. So into the ocean I went, salty water be damned.

While I was in there I remembered how my dad taught me to dive under waves as they were crashing. After jumping over a few I finally decided to seize the day and make the dive under. Let me tell you, it felt great. The waves, the bubbles, the sand - it was like being a kid again.

Mermaid is the name of the game. My goal was to dive under every wave that crashed and kick my feet up above the water just like a mermaid would. I haven't had so much fun in months. Sure, I hurt my shoulder in the process, but no worse than that time when I crashed my bike into the bushes. 

Basically, totally worth it. This is why they invented aspirin. 

The countdown is on - one more day on this side of the Mason Dixon line before I head back to Maine and then home to Canada. 

Time to have some last minute summer fun!

Friday, August 23, 2013

At The Beach.

Florida. The beach! White sandy shores. Two of my favorite girls. Drinks! So many delicious drinks.

Life doesn't get much better.

We weren't here ten minutes before we whipped up a batch of my mom's famous margaritas. I'll share the recipe next week. Not to worry. Ignore the brown hue, they're delicious.

With red Solo cups in hand we booked it down to the beach just in time for sunset.

The beach was still packed with folks that had clearly been back to their houses for showers and a change of clothes and then headed back down with wine in hand to catch the sunset.

It was a party. Some lucky folks even had a bonfire built and waiting for them. We spent a solid twenty minutes debating the best way to snag an invitation.

We've got big things on the agenda. Like eating. And drinking. And sitting on the beach.

And drinking more margaritas.

Those pounds I want to lose? They're just going to have to wait a few more days.

I'm going to soak up every last bit of this trip and enjoy the company to the fullest.

The last time Sally and I went to the beach was in high school - as in, 15 years ago.

Holy crap. My math must be wrong. Surely we're not that old. The margaritas must be getting to me.

But based on how well she knows me, that seems about right. We've been best friends forever.

I hope you do something fun this weekend :) Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Life. And Bangle Bracelets.

We're not going to talk exclusively about bracelets today. Although we could. I think Alex and Ani bracelets are the cutest things ever. Charm bracelet meets bangle? Love it.

I warn you though - watch out for the mermaid's tail. It gets caught in all sorts of things. Including the nostrils of young children. True. It's awkward. And probably painful for the kid. Watch yourself.

Let's talk about other things, like life. We'll just look at photos of bracelets because I took them yesterday when I was in the mood to take photos. My poor camera didn't get much attention this summer and I missed it. What can I say?

It's late on Wednesday night right now and tomorrow my sister, Sally and I are heading to the beach. Camp has been over for a week now and after this escape to the sandy shores summer will officially be over. I'll pack up my bags, fly back to Maine and then finally pack up my car and drive back to Canada to start a new school year.

To me the end of summer is similar to New Years. It's the start of a new year. When you work in the education realm it truly is a new year. A time to start fresh. A time to set new goals. For me, I've basically been on a break from the real world for the past three months. Don't get me wrong, my summer job is far from low key and stress free, but it is a break from my daily life routine. It's nice to not grocery shop, to not run errands, to not worry about mowing the lawn. On the other hand, I miss those things. I miss my bed. I miss sitting down to dinner with TC every night. And God knows I miss Duck Dynasty. True. Jace is my guilty pleasure.

There is a lot to look forward to this year. First and foremost I'm looking forward to getting healthy. Nagging congestion and lower back pain have been my nemesis for months now. This extra twenty-five pounds I'm carrying? Time to hit the road. Healthy meals and the gym and I are about to become best friends again. Lucky you, you'll probably get to hear about it because as it turns out, I do better when y'all hold me accountable.

Fingers crossed, exciting things MIGHT be happening at work. Cross those fingers tight. I've been doing some shopping this summer all in anticipation of exciting job opportunities. Alex, I'll take "Fake It Til You Make It" for $800. Thank you very much.

My other big thought is to maybe start dabbling in portraits and family photography again. It's an overwhelming and exciting thought all at the same time. But it might be time to go for it. Time to put on my big girl pants and have some confidence. I think the time has come.

It's good to take some time and reflect. Sometimes taking a step back from life provides great perspective. I've considered what I liked about last year, what I want to change, and more importantly, how I can make changes.

For example, sitting on the couch with a giant bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream and Duck Dynasty on the tube probably isn't the healthy life style I'm aiming for. Lazy weekends spent doing absolutely nothing isn't what I'm going for either. I want active. I want busy. Really, I want a life that is worthy of a million photographs and a million good times to write about. Funny how this silly little blog can be such a great motivation.

So many fun things to look forward to - cooking turkeys, cutting down Christmas trees, the hot air balloon festival, new sofas (?!?), new babies, Why Not Wednesdays, dinner parties, an exciting trip, bachelorette parties...the list is endless.

I'm excited for the new year. I'm going to take full advantage of this wonderful, spontaneous life.


Apparently Alex and Ani bracelets have been around for a while and I just live under a rock. If you're not familiar, check them out here. You can also find them at department stores. Each charm represents different meanings, which makes them extra special.

Alex and Ani is all about positive energy and they're made in the USA. There are tons to choose from - basics, universities, religious, astrological, you name it. They're reasonably priced and come in gold and silver, which is cute to mix. Plus, they're adjustable as each side slides over the other side.

It's never too soon to start your holiday shopping. Or buy yourself a little treat to celebrate the new year!

(Pssst. They each come with three other tiny little metal charms that I take off to ease the bulk. Just use pliers.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Project: Chalkboard Thought Bubbles

At camp I'm always looking for fun little side projects to do. Our camp is big on photos. We have two full time photographers that upload around 800 photos every single day so that the parents can be sure to see their kids in action. Right before camp it dawned on me that thought bubbles might be a fun element to add to our arsenal of equipment. You know, like a cartoon. Cute, no? Perfect for saying "Hi Mom!" or "Happy Birthday!"

I made these in our maintenance shop so I had plenty of tools and materials at my disposal, but it is nothing special that you wouldn't have at home...or at least with a cheap trip to Michael's or Home Depot.

The first step was to grab some scrap plywood. Mine was a 1/4 inch thick because that's what I had on hand. Tyler and I quickly sketched out a few different shapes (square and oval) and then grabbed the jigsaw to cut them. He has a much steadier hand that I, so I left the drilling to him.

Next, we sanded down the rough edges and rounded out the corners a bit.

Now, here is a key step. You need to have a way to hold the sign up, so we took scrap lumber (2x4) and cut a few small blocks. Ours were about six inches long.

Then we lathered them in wood glue and placed them on the back of the sign.

See? Makes it easy to hold up the bubble.

To finish it off Amanda and I used regular chalk board paint and put on two coats.

Once they dried, we followed the directions and conditioned the bubbles with chalk and then set about writing cute thoughts. To change the thought, we simply wiped it off with a cloth or eraser.

Fun, right?!

It would be fun for a birthday party, wedding photo booth, a classroom or anything really!

There are a million ways to do it - do what works for you and have fun with your thought bubbles.

(No, I have no idea why Brittany is wearing pigtails. Or a visor. Upside down. She was feeling very camptastic that day apparently.)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Summer. Camp.

I just checked. The last time we talked was June 9th. That's two and a half months ago. It feels like a millennium has passed. It feels like it flew by in a split second, too.

It's crazy how time can mess with you like that.

Where to begin? Let's start with the basics. I just finished my ninth summer in Maine where I work at a summer camp. Yes, TC was with me. No, we are not camp counselors.

Many moons ago I was lucky enough to spend a few summers as a counselor, but these days we are more on the administrative side of things. We run the waterfront, which means we spend our days making sure that the sailboats sail, the kayaks paddle, the skiiers ski and the swimmers swim. We do a little more than that, of course, but that's pretty much the bulk of our job.

I'm asked constantly why we still do camp. Are you going to go again next summer? How much longer are you going to do this? Aren't you a little old for this?

While I don't have definite answers to any of those questions, I can tell you this a few things. I'd love to go back next summer. I have no idea how long we'll do this. Until we don't love it, I suppose. Am I too old? I sure hope not. Maybe eventually in age, but definitely not in spirit. In my head I'm still in my early twenties. Aren't you? That was a great time of life. I don't want it to end. Sure, mortgage payments are fun and I guess everybody loves paying taxes and cleaning up a flooded basement - so who needs a youthful summer spent playing on the lake?

Our waterfront staff was amazing this summer. Forty college kids who worked their butts off every day - playing, teaching, loving. They did it all - from rigging sailboats to fixing wakeboards to making sure every single life jacket was buckled and every single kid was lathered in sunscreen. I'm willing to bet that each one of them worked harder than they ever have before and also had more fun that they ever have before. Like we always say, it's the hardest job you'll ever love.

I love the theory of working hard and playing hard. It's definitely something we practice at camp. Outside of camp TC and I went on several excursions. You'd think after eight summers we would run out of adventures to entertain ourselves, but we still haven't. We had an exceptionally great group of administration this summer and all spent a particularly fun day floating down the famed Saco River. I'm talking 23 lime green intertubes tied together by orange life jackets, coolers overflowing with beer and champagne, no iphones, beautiful sunshine and three hours of nothing but floating and having a good time.

It was glorious. It was like I was twenty-two years old again.

So, yes. I think I'll go back next summer and do it all over again. Heart shaped sunglasses and all.


I'm so excited to get back to our regularly scheduled blogging. But let's not get ahead of ourselves here. I'm still on summer vacation and enjoying some down time in Atlanta and Florida. Don't give up on me yet!