Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

As a thyroid cancer survivor, I will be promoting Thyroid Cancer Awareness during the month of September by posting links to articles and information from ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association. According to ThyCa, approximately 62,980 people in the United States will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2014. If you would like more information about thyroid cancer, or to help raise awareness, please visit ThyCa’s website (www.thyca.org). You can read more about my personal journey with thyroid cancer here and here.

Early detection is key. Get your neck checked at your next doctor’s appointment!

Summer Send-Off

Summer Sendoff - Port Jefferson Harbor

I can’t believe today is the final day of August! I’m not sure where the summer of 2014 went, but it flew by. All in all, it was a nice, cool summer. In less than 24 hours it will be September and soon fall will be in the air. I’m sure many of you are excited to break out the latest fall fashion, but I will truly miss summer. I love how the days are longer, it’s lighter later and you can sport a dress almost every day.

I hope everyone had a great summer and has a Happy Labor Day weekend!

Day Trip: Southampton, N.Y.

Day Trip: Southampton-Tate's

What’s a trip out East without stopping in Southampton? Of course, when planning my day at the Hampton Classic last weekend, I knew I needed to leave time for shopping and sightseeing in my favorite Hampton. Two years ago when I went to the Classic, I happened to take a wrong turn and ended up right on Main Street in Southampton. It was my first encounter with the preppy C. Wonder and I was immediately hooked (on the store and the town).

My plan of attack for combating Hamptons traffic in the summertime is always to leave super early. Even though I am not a morning person, I make the sacrifice to avoid the dreaded bumper-to-bumper that becomes the Hamptons during peak times. This year was no exception. I made it to Southampton in a record-breaking 45 minutes (obeying all the traffic laws, of course!) – about an hour before any classes at the horse show were to begin and before most Southampton residents even had their morning coffee.

First up on my agenda was a stop at Tate’s Bake Shop. I have been a huge fan of their crisp chocolate chip cookies for years, but never managed to frequent the actual establishment. The smell of fresh baked goods was most inviting and I loved the quaint house that Tate’s called home. Like any good bakery, my options overwhelmed me, but I figured I couldn’t go wrong with a chocolate croissant and an iced coffee. This place definitely seemed like a local hotspot- while enjoying my breakfast I noticed plenty of women either on their way to or returning from their morning yoga class, ready to indulge in a coffee and pastry. It was the perfect start to a cool morning, and I enjoyed sitting on the patio people-watching.

Tate's Bake Shop - Southampton

Tate's Bake Shop - Southampton

After a quick drive through town (nothing was open until 11 am) browsing the shops, it was off to the Hampton Classic for a few hours before returning to Southampton later in the afternoon.

I had planned on returning to Southampton earlier for lunch, but a cheeseburger at the horse show foiled my plans (and it probably cost more than any restaurant in Southampton would have charged). By the time I returned to the place I had started my journey so many hours before, I was wiped out. But not being one to throw in the towel, I headed down Main Street to explore for a little while before returning home.

If you’ve never been to Southampton, there is plenty to do. Main Street is great for shopping and dining, but I enjoy wandering off the beaten path (aka, the side-streets). Although I wasn’t hungry, I can always go for something sweet, and after being in the heat all day The Fudge Company was the perfect place to cool down. I had read the reviews online the night before and it seemed like a worthwhile place to stop. I ordered a small cone of chocolate – peanut butter yogurt. It was delicious! I continued my stroll down Main, ice cream in hand, and found my way to C. Wonder. I could spend all day in that store. I love everything they have and usually end up coming home with quite the ‘wish list.’ On this trip, I spotted a pair of leopard stacked heels that I really wanted to welcome into my closet. I also found my way to Club Monaco, GiGi New York and Missoni Home.

The Fudge Company - Southampton

The Fudge Company - Southampton

The Fudge Company - Southampton

The Fudge Company - Southampton

I enjoyed my time in the Hamptons and at the Classic, but by late afternoon I was exhausted and ready to call it a day. The good fortune that graced me during my morning commute continued into the afternoon and I made it home in just under an hour. It was the perfect ending to a great day!

Hamptons Style

Drum roll please….

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Dress: H & M | Sandals: C Wonder | Polish: OPI Hot & Spicy

When it came time to select my dress for the Hampton Classic, I knew it would be something bright, light, and comfortable. This yellow dress with lace overlay from H & M was an obvious choice. The perfect length for a horse show (think dirt, stadium seating, and lots of walking) with just the right amount of style so as not to look overdressed. I paired the outfit with my C Wonder gold sandals (a tribute to spotting them two years ago in Southampton after a day at the Classic).

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Opening Day at the Hampton Classic

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Yesterday was Opening Day of the 39th Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton, N.Y., a favorite event of many equestrians and locals alike. I made sure to arrive at the venue early….as in, at 8 a.m. Even though the vendors were just setting up and horses were being warmed up, the show grounds are a beautiful place for walking before the morning events begin.

I began my day of spectating by watching the hunter classes (during which the horse’s performance is judged) in the morning.

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At noon, I watched the $50,000 Clear Channel Hunter Derby in the Grand Prix Ring, which drew a large crowd.

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Sunday was a beautiful day to be at The Classic. The weather was warm, the sun was shining and there was a great breeze. Stay tuned to see which outfit made the cut for the big day and for more about my side-trip to Southampton!

Summer Synopsis

As we begin to say good-bye to August and welcome fall, I wanted to re-cap some of my favorite things about the summer of 2014. Although this was one of the more milder summers I have seen on Long Island, there were still plenty of days to hit the beach and pool.

For me, these past few months were about new beginnings. I felt like I missed out last summer – having undergone thyroid surgery in June and recovering thereafter, I really wanted to make the most of this summer and take advantage of all the things I couldn’t do a mere 12 months ago.

Some of the highlights included:

Celebrating my one-year thyroid-versary

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Visiting Port Jefferson (quite a few times)

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Attending a Long Island Ducks game with Claudia

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Watching Fourth of July fireworks at said game and getting absolutely soaked

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Going stand-up paddle boarding

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Having a ShackBurger from the Shake Shack mid-week

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Tasting burgers at the Battle of the Burger (and having my favorite restaurant win!)

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Developing a slight obsession with Talenti Gelato

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Adding to my wardrobe courtesy of The Loft, H&M, Nordstrom Rack, and Vine & Roses

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Taking a day trip to Sag Harbor

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Hope you all had some fun summer adventures of your own!

Let The Countdown Begin….

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{The Hampton Classic 2013}

I am happy to report that The Hampton Classic Horse Show is now less than one week away (August 24 – 31, 2014). The event blends my two favorite things – horses and a day out East.

The Classic is not solely for equine enthusiasts. There is plenty of shopping, dining and browsing if the four-legged competitors do not pique your interest. Growing up, I would go out to the Classic when I had friends competing, but since graduating from college and moving back to Long Island, I have made planning a day at the show an end-of-summer tradition.

This year I am even more excited about the show, since my thyroid incision has healed and I can ditch the scarf and not worry about the sun. I have already begun scoping out which events I want to see (the jumper and Grand Prix rings are always a crowd pleaser), taking note of how many days I plan to make the hour-plus drive out to the show grounds in Bridgehampton, and of course, leaving time for a quick jaunt to the wonderful Southampton – a great place to shop if you ask me, and a short drive from the horse show.

Stay tuned as I finalize my plans for The Hampton Classic Horse Show 2014!

Strolling Through Sag Harbor

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As another summer Friday came and went, I decided to make the most of the day by heading out to Sag Harbor on Long Island’s East End. I haven’t been to Sag Harbor since I was a child, but the quaint and idyllic town looks just as I had remembered it.

My plan for the day was simple – to just enjoy exploring the landscape. I love going out that way because even though I haven’t actually left Long Island, I feel worlds away. The small towns out there have such charm and character and the locals are friendly and more than happy to tell you what to do while you’re there. This visit was no exception.

Thankfully, the traffic going out was not too bad. If you are planning on visiting the Hamptons, or anywhere else on the East End this time of year, be warned that the traffic can be backed up for miles depending on the day and time of your visit. The road leading into Sag Harbor is quite beautiful, overlooking water on both sides. I was able to stop at the beach along the way and admire the clouds and blue sky before continuing on to the main part of town. It was a cool and windy day that felt more like late September.

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The first stop upon arrival was at the Port of Sag Harbor information center where a knowledgable woman, and 20-year resident, pointed out all of the things to do and see in the town. She was enthusiastic and I enjoyed talking to her and learning more about the town and her life there. Her best advice for tourists was to just “get lost” and explore the many side streets off the beaten path. Lastly, she offered a few suggestions of where to go for lunch. I noticed some restaurants along the main drag in town, but they were pricey and seemed ordinary. One place she suggested in particular sounded good to me – The Dockside Bar and Grill on Bay Street. As the name implies, the restaurant is right across the street from the docks and offers indoor and outdoor seating. She raved about the seafood, which was just what I was in the mood for.

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The stroll over to The Dockside was very pleasant. A scenic street leads the way to the restaurant and is overlooked by a marina. As someone who has seen my fair share of yachts, even I was impressed with what was docked in this marina! The restaurant was bustling and people were waiting outside when I put my name on the list to be seated. They said it would be about 20 minutes for a table inside to open up. The 20 became 40 minutes, but I used the time to answer some work emails and watch the boats. Once inside, I noticed the restaurant had the beach vibe you would expect of a coastal place – a lot of white, blue and marine decor. It was open and airy with a nice view of the water.

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The menu made for some tough decisions. Calamari? Clams? Seafood Paella? Too many choices. I ordered a pink sangria, hoping that it would help me narrow down my options. The cool sangria coupled with a cucumber garnish was refreshing after a morning of walking in town. A final perusing of the menu resulted in a new find – breaded scallops with French fries. I had never had breaded scallops, but thought it sounded interesting.

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After a short wait my lunch arrived, looking every bit as delicious as I had anticipated. The five scallops were large and tender and the bread crumbs added just the right amount of seasoning and texture. Overall, the dish was uniquely prepared and I would order it again. The restaurant was incredibly charming and worth the wait to be seated. I felt relaxed after lunch and ready for more exploring.

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The best part of Sag Harbor is the laid back feeling the town offers. While wandering I found a few houses I wouldn’t mind living in, and some historic properties undergoing renovations. On the walk back to the car there was an old church under construction. I couldn’t help but stare at its majestic beauty. So much so that the foreman actually came over to show me some old wood where bees made a hive and honey. He explained that he and his crew were working on a two-year project to turn the old church into a residence. I can’t wait to see the house when it is completed, as he said it will have three levels!

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My day in Sag Harbor was just what I needed to escape and feel rested. If you are looking for a short day trip I would highly suggest this town. It’s a quick jaunt to the Hamptons if you are interested in shopping or if you are heading to Montauk. Aside from the traffic, parking can be a little dicey, but there are plenty of side-streets if you are willing to be slightly farther from Main Street. I am thankful for the helpful advice offered by the woman at the information center. Sag Harbor has a lot to offer visitors, and plenty of history for those inclined to take tours.

Waiting for the Weekend

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This week was an eventful one. On Wednesday Long Island received 13 inches of rain in some places, leaving many residents with water in their basements and finding their normal commute to work replaced by a 3-hour one. After Thursday’s cool temperatures this week felt more like fall than mid-August. Either way, the weekend is creeping up and I’m sure we’re all ready to let loose and relax. If you find yourself with time on your hands, I read a great article that really resonated with me and I thought I would share it.

How to Grow Old with Yourself from The Everygirl is a must-read for every 20- and 30 – something-year-old woman. I appreciated the advice offered of accepting your failures, learning to forgive yourself and others, and doing what makes you happy. The notion of having a “road map” after college hit home for me. I always thought I had my life figured out: When I was in high school I was set on the idea of becoming a veterinarian. I loved animals and grew up with horses and cats. It wasn’t until I acknowledged that years of math and science classes were not for me that I shifted my focus. After two years of college and a major in political science, I began researching law schools. For my remaining college years, I studied for the LSATs and took as many pre-law classes as I could. Then came graduation and I felt completely lost. I wasn’t sure where I was going to live, what kind of job I wanted, or even how to start answering these questions. I felt scattered and the only thing I knew for certain was that time off from school was best for me.

Five years out, the future is still a bit hazy, but for the first time I can begin to see the picture a little clearer. I no longer obsess over trying to connect the dots on the map. I concentrate more on learning something new everyday, finding my passions in life and being content with the life I have. So I didn’t go back and pursue my masters like I had thought I would. So I’m not adjuncting political science classes at a community college. I’m okay with all of that. The longer I am out of school, the easier it has become to see that I don’t need to have all the answers in the first few years of life in the real world. A lot of what I have learned about life and careers has been obtained through trial and error. Upon graduation I took a position in fundraising and quickly realized that this was not the field for me. Even though this was not the career I was looking for, I learned invaluable lessons about raising money, networking and making connections. Learning from my mistakes has had beneficial consequences as well. After beginning a new job that I thought was a better opportunity, it proved not to be. I had left a stable job to take a risk and found myself unhappy and with nothing to fall back on. This experience taught me the importance of saving money for a rainy day and having a back-up plan. I always looked at my twenties as the time to make mistakes, learn from them, try new and different things and establish myself.

If I could offer advice to my younger self, I would say forget about the road map and just live your life. I think the best moments in life are the ones that aren’t planned, but just come naturally.

Happy Friday!

What’s in My Bag

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My make-up bag is a vital part of my existence. It is one of the first things I reach for in the morning and is a large part of my daily routine. So what’s in my bag of tricks, you might ask?

I’ve never been an exclusive brand buyer. I’ve used a slew of products from different companies at one time or another — from high-end to drugstore brands — but all that changed this past February when I was introduced to Stila. As I mentioned in my first make-up post, I have rather temperamental skin (if you missed the post, catch it here). Over the years, I would use one product and get great results, only to be searching for something else a few short months later because it began to irritate my skin.

My beloved bag now includes exclusively Stila products, which agree with my skin, afford a natural look with good coverage, and last all day. I love their liquid foundation and loose powder as much as their shadows, liners and lipsticks. My most recent purchase was their Mile High Lashes mascara. It should come as no surprise – I am now a huge fan! Although $25 for mascara is more than I would typically spend (mascara was the only part of my make-up regimen that was not from Stila’s line), the enticing sale in which the mascara came with a free smudge stick in Stingray (black) was too good to pass up.

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The other day my package from Stila arrived at the front door, wrapped in pink tissue paper. I was so excited to try my new mascara. The one thing that makes this product stand out is the brush. Of all the mascaras I have used, this is one of the more nicely made, sturdier brushes. While combing, the brush maximizes volume and prevents clumping. Each lash receives a generous coating of mascara without feeling heavy and weighed down. And if you haven’t tried using smudge sticks to line your eyes, let me just say they are great. I have been using eyeliner since high school and have tried everything from liquid liners to pencils to eye shadow with a thin brush. The smudge stick is the perfect blend of all three, and it is easy to apply.

Overall, I am very happy with the new additions I have added to my Stila family. And just in case you were wondering – no, this is not a sponsored post, but Stila, if you are reading, keep up the good work and make more products for me (and my skin!) to love!