Fire Island 2017


Welcome back to Tantalizingly Tasteful!

Vacations can be hard to take, especially when you’re a young college student who’s summer job hasn’t started yet. Planning a vacation around everyone else’s schedules makes things even harder. Enter the staycation, a term we’ve all become familiar with by now. Vacationing in your own local vicinity. It’s (more) affordable and easy to plan, and a decent substitute when jetting off somewhere just isn’t possible.

It’s hard to believe that a week ago, I was sitting on the beach in Fire Island. All there was to worry about was tanning evenly and listening to good music. No cars, no parents, no responsibilities, no worries.  The ultimate staycation.

Here’s a little look into last week’s staycation on Fire Island!

Wednesday, May 31

The four of us gathered at Torie’s house so we could drive to the ferry, a quick half-hour trip. It was Torie, Dani, Lauren and I. We shoved duffle bags and coolers into the drunk and drove off to catch our early evening ferry.

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Of course the trip started with us packed into a car! From left to right: Torie, me, Lauren and Dani

I used to get boat sick when I was younger, but thankfully, that’s no longer the case. The ferry has become one of the best parts of the trip to Fire Island. I love the view of the ocean, the smell of the salt water, the feel of the breeze. It’s so relaxing and really gets you in the mood to relax on the beach. Plus, it’s the perfect place for the first photoshoot of the getaway!

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A shot of Dani and I on the ferry

We finally set foot on Fire Island around 6:30 or so, so we had missed out on the beach for the day. It can get pretty cold at night, so we went to the house (borrowed from a family friend of Dani’s who only goes on the weekends), unpacked, and ate dinner on the deck. We had a fantastic view of the sunset.

We finished off our night with a walk around the neighborhood. We usually walk into town, but this time around, we walked the opposite direction, choosing our turns randomly. We ended up at the beach for a late-night chat. When we were tired, we went back to the house and cuddled up for the night.

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My outfit of the day! Top: Mossimo; Jeans: Old Navy; Jacket: 1st Kiss; Sandals: Steve Madden; Headband: Target

Thursday, June 1

Dani is an early riser. I, on the other hand, am not. But, she insisted we get up early and take a walk, so Torie, Lauren and I obliged. We walked through town to discover yet another part of the neighborhood. On our walk, we found a school that we didn’t know existed. This gave us a new task: find a Fire Island local. We had so many questions about their lives in the off-seasons, but we couldn’t seem to find any answers. We asked every store employee we ran into if they were a year-rounder or not, and even though none of them were, we were able to answer some of our questions.

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Naturally our walk included a photoshoot! From left to right: Torie, Lauren and I

We found this great market, The Pantry, that we had never been to before, and were thrilled to get our hands on some iced coffee. We continued walking through town, this time stopping to enjoy some local art and scenery.

 

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Torie and I loving life… and our iced coffee! Yes, that says “life,” Torie’s just covering the l.

 

Then, it was finally time for the beach. We changed into our bathing suits, packed our beach bags, and walked the short walk to the beach. Before long, I was laying under the sun, listening to the waves crash. The sun was strong and the water was cold, so it was the perfect balance. Before long, we were met by Dani’s friend, Rachel, who joined us for sunbathing and photoshoots.

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Love my friends and this picture! From left to right: Lauren, Dani, Torie and I
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The cold water couldn’t keep me away! Bathing suit: Clean Water; Top: American Eagle; Sunglasses: Tilly’s; Hat: Powerfect
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A peek at the back of my suit while cuddling Dani

After the beach, we went back to the house to clean up for our one fancy dinner out. We all wanted to look trendy and fashionable, like one should when on vacation with their fabulous friends. We walked through town, trying to find a place to eat and to learn more about the locals. And, of course, we stopped for more photos.

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A shot of the five of us captured by a lovely lady who stopped for us. From left to right: Rachel, me, Dani, Torie and Lauren
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My outfit for the night. Romper: Xhilaration; Jacket: 1st Kiss; Sandals: Steve Madden; Wristlet: Kenneth Cole Reaction; Sunglasses: Tilly’s
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Had to stop for a (fabulous) snapshot of Lauren and I!

We ultimately decided on a restaurant called the Island Mermaid, where we met the owner and were challenged to find a grammar mistake in his writing. (Please, do not get me started on this, because I found so many that Torie confiscated the articles from me). We sat outside, which meant an awesome view, and just enjoyed each other’s company. Oh, and the food! It was such a great night, if you ask me.

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The sunset view from our table was stunning!
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The only thing that could beat our sunset view was my view! From left to right: Torie, Rachel, Dani and Lauren
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My delicious meal, called the Gourmet Burger (no bun!), which was served with a mixed green salad and garlic mashed potatoes

After dinner, we walked further into town to go into my usual Fire Island ice cream shop, Scoops. Once we were all served, we headed back to the house, where we played some games (how many Target departments can you name without repeats?) and talked until it was time for bed.

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LOVE Scoop’s Birthday Cake ice cream!

Friday, June 2

We woke up early on our last morning so we could enjoy it as much as possible. We tidied up the house so it would be ready for the owners that afternoon, and then got to the beach to repeat the previous day’s routine.

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Dani and I wearing “The Bathing Suit,” as we refer to it.
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Seriously, keeping me out of the water is a difficult feat.
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Dani couldn’t resist a selfie of her two worlds colliding! From left to right: (front) Dani; (back) Lauren, Rachel, Torie and I

When we got back to the house, we packed our stuff and finally got to meet the incredible woman who lets us borrow her house when she’s not there. Dani and Rachel were staying an extra night, so Torie, Lauren and I grabbed our bags, said our goodbyes, and headed for the ferry… where we waited an hour and half because we misread the schedule.

Grey storm clouds hung over us as we boarded the ferry. We were leaving our vacation behind. It had been relaxing, fun and memorable, with lots of laughs and new catchphrases (right, “LAAAADIES?”). But, of course, I couldn’t miss out on one, last photoshoot opportunity.

 

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Torie took this after much convincing. Bathing suit: Merona; Top: American Eagle; Pants: H&M; Jacket: 1st Kiss; Sandals: Steve Madden; Sunglasses: Tilly’s

 

It’s only been a week and I’m already ready to go back. I miss the sun and the sand and the sea… and it doesn’t help that the weather these days has been iffy. But until I go back, I’ve got some other things to plan for, like Camp St. Paul in just two weeks! Well, I guess I’ll see you next summer, Fire Island.

xx,

Toni

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My 2017 Goals + Tips


I’m all about setting goals for myself, but sometimes, deciding exactly what I want to accomplish can be tough. After two weeks (yes, two full weeks), I’ve finally compiled some New Year’s resolutions that I’d like to share with you, as well as some helpful tips I use to narrow down my thoughts.

My Resolutions

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Above are my resolutions for the new year (which I typed out on Canva, a great site for designing everything from cards to resumes). I chose to organize them by category (more about organization to follow!) and list one way I can go about actually achieving each goal. I think this will help give me a good start and keep me accountable. While there a lot of things I’d like to be able to accomplish this year, these 20 tasks are the things I felt were most important and most attainable. I’ll probably print these out and hang them up on my desk to keep me inspired and remind me what I set out to do.

Tips

Like I said, setting goals can be just as hard as actually achieving them. Here are some pointers on how to successfully set your own 2017 resolutions (and it’s never too late to do it!)

  1. Write them down: Last week I mentioned to my friends that I hadn’t written down my resolutions yet and they all said something along the lines of, “You write them down? That’s smart. Maybe I’d be more successful if I wrote mine down.” I’m not even kidding. I really believe that writing them down holds your more accountable and can inspire you to keep on chugging. Write them down or type them out so that they look nice, then put them somewhere you can see them and be reminded of the things you want to accomplish.
  2. Record your thoughts: I found that I had a lot of visions for myself and things I wanted to change, but no concrete goals to set for myself. So I picked up my journal (for the first time since June… oops) and wrote down all of my thoughts. Five pages later and I had a better idea of exactly what I wanted to accomplish. Take the time to write down your thoughts and desires and watch how clear your goals become. Bonus points if you use a cute journal like this Shoot for the Moon journal!

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    I have this journal and I’m absolutely obsessed with it. I used it to record all my interviews last semester, and it really served me well.
  3. Organize: One way to help make making resolutions easier is to organize them in some way. I like to organize mine by categories that correspond to the different things going on in my life, but I have also seen people organize theirs by priority or even by month. Find a way to organize your goals that will help you to stay inspired and know what you actually need to do.
  4. Limit yourself: I know people usually say the sky’s the limit, but in this case, I’d say limit the number of goals you set for yourself. It can be tempting to set 100 goals, but it’s just impractical. The reason I was able to set 20 goals for myself was because they were relatively small goals that can be accomplished within the scope of my average day. There’s no way, however, that I’d be able to achieve 20 big goals. Limit to yourself to what you are confident you can achieve and apply into your everyday life.
  5. Look it up: Sometimes you’re just out of ideas or can’t find the words to correctly convey what it is you want to accomplish. So what do you do? The same thing you always do: look it up. I love checking Pinterest for resolution inspiration. I literally just type “resolution” into the search bar and so many ideas come up. If you’re stuck, don’t be afraid to do a little research!

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    Here’s some inspiration I found on Pinterest, posted by Easy College Coupons!
  6. Set achievable and measurable goals: My last tip for you is to set goals you are confident you have the ability to achieve and can easily measure your progress with. When I was writing my own resolutions, I was very tempted to write something like “go on a weekend trip,” but I didn’t because I’m not sure if that will be achievable for me when it comes down to time and money. It can still be something I’d like to do, but not necessarily something that I’m recording as a New Year’s resolution. The same goes for something like “lose weight,” but more so because it’s not quantifiable. Losing one pound still counts as losing weight, but that definitely would not be my goal. Even saying something like “lose 50 pounds” might be unrealistic because you can’t be sure that’s achievable. My recommendation would be to set smaller, achievable, quantifiable goals like “work out x times a week” or “record food intake” that are easier to accomplish and can still lead you to the outcome you desire.

I hope that my New Year’s resolutions and tips helped inspire you to chase your goals and dreams this year. I’m looking forward to another year of sharing my life with all of my Tasters. Wishing you all your best year yet, full of love, laughter, and happiness!

xx,

Toni

Email: tantilizinglytasteful@gmail.com

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My Love-Hate Relationship with Packing: Connecticut Edition


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I have always been a girl who loves too much. I love people too much, I love food too much, I love shoes and clothes way too much. Which makes packing for anything a challenge from the get-go. I always pack (you guessed it) too much, and then I have to schlep a gazillion heavy bags to wherever I’m headed. Not. Fun.

But the contradiction lies in the fact that I love packing. There’s something about it that makes me feel so productive and grown-up. Maybe I associate packing with adventure and journeys so I get all excited when I pack. All I know is that packing makes me feel official and gives me purpose.

That’s not to say it’s easy. It definitely isn’t, due very much to my original problem of over-packing. Even when my mom used to pack for me, I would somehow find a way to sneak more and more things into my luggage. My mom hasn’t packed a suitcase for me in close to a decade, so the blame is falling more and more on me, and now that I live in a dorm room and not at home, it is much more imperative for me to pack light for my own convenience and sanity.

I spent five weeks as a counselor at a sleep-away camp called Camp Saint Paul this summer, and even though I was only supposed to stay for four weeks, I somehow managed to pack my suitcase with enough clothing to last me months, even though I had convinced myself that I packed light this year. How in the world could I have been so wrong?

So now, I’m limiting myself.

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I’m spending the weekend in Connecticut at an Orthodox Christian Fellowship retreat (more details to come soon!), and I am traveling by train, so it was incredibly important that I pack in a smart and efficient manner. I knew exactly what I needed, so I packed no more and no less. I packed:

  • two T-shirts
  • one pair of jeans
  • one pair of joggers
  • one dress
  • one pair of ballet flats
  • one rain jacket
  • one set of pajamas
  • four underwear
  • toiletries: BB cream, mascara, eyeliner, makeup wipes, toothpaste, toothbrush, perfume, deodorant, pads, a razor
  • a pillow
  • a blanket
  • a sleeping bag
  • a journal
  • my planner
  • my Kindle
  • my camera
  • notes to study (I have a media law midterm next week)

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That’s enough for an outfit on Saturday, an outfit for liturgy on Sunday, and a travel outfit for when I leave the church on Sunday. I’m honestly really proud of myself for the surprisingly light and efficient packing that I did, so here are some of my tips and tricks on how to pack smart!

  1. Make a list: Making a list of what you need to pack without a doubt makes your life easier. It lets you check things off as you go so you can be certain you have everything you need. When I was packing my suitcase for Connecticut, I nearly forgot pajamas. Like, my suitcase was packed and zipped and ready to go, all without pajamas. Thankfully, I consulted my list again and realized my mistake.

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    I would be no where in life without the Notes app on my iPhone. This checklist option makes my life so much easier.
  2. Mix and match: Mixing and matching the pieces of your outfit can make packing a million times easier. The less items you need to pack the better, right? Now, I’m not saying pack one underwear or shirt and wear it for the entire duration of your trip, but planning your outfits around re-wearable accessories like shoes will make your packing lighter. I packed one pair of shoes that I need for liturgy on Sunday, and the rest of the time I will be wearing the shoes I’m traveling in, which is my maroon Vans.
  3. Know your itinerary: Knowing what activities you might be preparing in will help you know exactly what you need to pack. Since I knew I’d be attending a church service, for example, I knew I needed to pack a dress and nice shoes. This ensures that I won’t feel out of place or be uncomfortable in any situation presented to me while I’m away.
  4. Early preparation: Getting your packing done earlier instead of waiting till the last minute helps you ensure that you don’t forget anything while getting your things together. Like my issue with the pajamas, I would’ve been much more likely to forget them if I had packed after all of my classes instead of the night before.
  5. Check the weather: Checking the weather of your intended destination will help you pack clothes that you’ll be comfortable in. I knew the forecast for Connecticut this weekend predicted rain, so I made sure to pack my fave raincoat. Even if I’m not outside that much, I’d rather be over-prepared than under-prepared.
  6.  Layer: On the topic of climate, you may not know how it will be inside your destination. Sometimes it’s freezing cold, other times the heat is blasting. By planning out outfits that you can layer with, like a T-shirt and a sweatshirt or sweater, you make sure that you’re prepared for anything.
  7. Solve the puzzle: This might be both the hardest and funnest part. Packing is indeed a puzzle. You need to make the most of the space you have so you can pack as much as possible. The key to this is finding a way to condense your belongings as much as possible and then fit them together almost like Tetris. I tried to accomplish this for this particular trip by stuffing my pillow at the bottom of my suitcase and then packing everything on top of it. I rolled almost all of my clothes so that they would take up the least amount of space possible and could be stacked. Anything that I didn’t fold got placed on top of what was already there. My toiletries sat in any empty spaces. Don’t forget to take advantage of any zipped compartments your suitcase may have!

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    A successfully solved puzzle… I think. The clothes I’m going to wear first are on top to make my life a little easier, too!

I’m super glad I got to have this experience with packing because I’m heading on a trip to Washington, D.C. in early November, and even though I’ll need to pack totally different items, this really taught me how to pack more efficiently. I hope you guys have some awesome trips coming up and can use these packing tricks to make your experience a little less stressful! Let me know about any cool adventures you’re taking and any packing stories, mishaps or tips you may have. Happy and safe travels, Tasters!

xx,

Toni

Email: tantilizinglytasteful@gmail.com

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