It’s hard planning vacations with best friends. As you get older, graduate, start working and are emancipated (unwillingly) from set breaks i.e. summer break, Thanksgiving break, my favorite from high school - mid-winter break… you are given the choice of taking your own “breaks.” The trick is that choice makes this even more difficult considering you’re often judged by your employer for when and how long you take vacation for.
Hence, to celebrate 1/3 of our best-friend-trio’s birthday with short term planning we decided to go to our #2 choice of Atlantic City. We paid too much for our hotel — staying at the Chelsea Annex, which is the not-as-nice-ugly-stepsister to the Chelsea however, it was a block away from the famous boardwalk the hotel had a pool.
Famous Atlantic City Boardwalk
Since summer on the East Coast has been filled with heat waves, humidity and frequent rain showers, we were determined to soak up the sun and get a solid tan.
Guess whose legs are whose!
After getting sufficient tans we ventured out onto the boardwalk. OF COURSE we had to try all the yummy food on the boardwalk. Cue in the fried Oreo’s (Nisha was a fried-oreo virgin) and delicious home-made ice cream
Ice-cream! Can you guess whose was whose?
Us on the beach / boardwalk
Priti and I being momentarily replaced…
The day wasn’t over, as we headed to the pool to swim around. Nisha (of course) decided it would be fun to do some synchronize swimming stunts. I was never a cheerleader, but I aspired to be one in high school (you can thank my parents for sending me to an all-girls Catholic school which lacked a football team to cheer for). and therefore can tell you that Priti and I were the mounters (very poorly so) while Nisha was the base.
Stunts in the Pool
flirted made friends with boys hanging from their balconies, this all felt very high school. Not a bad thing at all, as it was super nostalgic of actual high school when we would cruise around in my Volvo in the streets of Seattle looking for trouble, thinking we were sooo cool fleeing a UW rugby party when the cops broke it up (upon reaching college, we learnt this was a weekly occurrence and nothing to be proud of, but alas we were naive 16 and 17 year olds back then).
As the night proceeded, we were snobbed out of eating at the Revel (which in my opinion is not the true AC experience, but rather the wannabe Vegas) because we had no reservations and thus ended up at Margaritaville (probably much truer to the AC culture). We were flattered to receive a round of drinks from the guys at the next table (who were obviously international and balling out to celebrate one thing or another) - this was something we only saw in the movies!!
Drinks always taste better when they’re sent over by an admirer!
Tired and fatigued by the sun we retreated back to the annex. Our plan was always to go out, but energy was low and we were all contemplating the option of just getting a good nights rest. That’s when I took charge. Pulling a Beyonce, leader of the group I demanded we put on our short dresses, high heels and make it next door to the Tropicana (true AC style!). We all rallied and were out the door at 1:30am.
Mirror photo shoot!
Mirror photo shoot #2!
Arriving at the Tropicana, we ditched the club with dancers half dressed and walked over to the sports bar that was blasting Rihanna. Drinks were $6 (can you believe that? That’s like half the price of a dinky sports-bar drink in NYC) and immediately we three were dancing with each other. We made genuinely-non-creepy friends with a bachelor party group and felt like celebrities when their fobby-German friend (literally he was fresh-of-the-boat from Germany) kept taking pictures with us throwing up the peace sign (I realize that’s a little creepy, but everyone was super nice).
Me and the birthday
Walking home in my fast flats with my two best friends at 4:30am eating leftover macaroni & cheese and fried Oreo’s proved a successful night and birthday. Definitely one we’ll be talking about when we’re old and rickety rocking back and forth to “Diamonds” by Rihanna….
A successful night!
The importance of good girlfriends!
Ashton Kutcher’s Teen Choice Awards Acceptance Speech
Ashton (or should I say Chris) gave teenagers some useful advice at Sunday night’s TCA. The kind of advice that is inspiring, motivating and useful to anyone at any age. Definitely worth watching - but if you’re at work without headphones, read below for the highlights —
On Opportunity -
"I believe that opportunity looks a lot like work"
"I never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. Every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job and I never quit my job before I had my next job."
On Being Sexy -
"The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful and being generous. Everything else is crap. I promise you. It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less. So don’t buy it. Be smart. Be thoughtful and be generous."
On Living Life -
"Steve Jobs said when you grow up you tend to get told that world is the way that it is, and that your life is to live your life inside the world and try not to get into too much trouble. Maybe get an education, get a job, make some money, and have a family.
But life can be a lot broader than that when you realize one simple thing: everything around us that we call life was made up of people that are no smarter than you.
And you can build your own things and you can build your own life that other people can live in. So build a life, don’t live one, find your opportunities and always be sexy.”
The title of this blog post basically summarizes my visit to Dallas, Texas. Never having ever visited the heartland of America, it seemed like the perfect place to visit for none other than, Fourth of July. I booked this trip so extremely last minute (we’re talking one day before - and on miles of course!) so it was kind of a spontaneous, big deal (#4oJWeekend and #4oJ was all over my Instagram photos). My good friend Pooja is interning there for the summer, and since she currently is my only connection to Texas, my window of opportunity to visit was confined to Summer 2013.
My Fourth of July outfit. I like to think the red/white/blue was subtle but there.
After booking Tuesday morning, I flew out Wednesday afternoon and our first stop was to get tacos. NYC gets a lot of things right, but Mexican food is sub-par to say the least.
Hence, tacos and tex-mex was necessary. We went to Velvet Taco and it definitely lived up to the taco hype. The food was so good we had to get the corn and red velvet cake as well. I should have reminded myself to eat light the week before, because after this meal I knew the weekend would result in many more indulgent meals.
Yummy Velvet Taco!
The next day was Fourth of July! Pooja has a cousin in Dallas, so we drove out of the city for a family BBQ. This BBQ was a feast - think Thanksgiving like. I ate three different kinds of meats: chicken, sausage and ribs (all delicious), macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, asparagus, chips and salsa, bread, pie, beer… and probably more food I just can’t remember!
If I celebrated Fourth of July with this kind of BBQ every year, it would definitely rival my love for Thanksgiving - especially with the warm summer weather! Pooja’s family was so hospital and great. We almost even got convinced to get tattoos (4oJ tradition for some people at the BBQ), but thankfully decided against it before driving home.
Plates and plates of food. Also - how Texans drink beer - with Cowboy koozies!
Friday was more low-key with no set plans. Pooja sadly had to work so I lounged by the pool, watched 90’s TV sitcoms, walked around Dallas, talked to some locals (people in Texas are super friendly) about football (go Cowboys!) and just hung out - this was definitely my “relax-its-a-vacation” day. We later met up with some of Pooja’s friends for dinner at Gloria’s and out to Concrete Cowboy.
Poolside lounging! My toes match the pool!
Tasty Margarita’s at Gloria’s - Mango / Strawberry mix!
On Saturday we did one of my favorite activities - boating! I grew up in Seattle, on the natural lakes in Washington, so I love being in and near the water. In Texas though, they have man-made lakes. They are HUGE. It was so much fun-in-the-sun (literally). We tanned, sort-of learned how to water ski and spent the day with some of the nicest people ever.
Me, Natalie and Pooja on the boat!
Just floatin’ around! Natalie, Sid & Matt
This was the one night we really went out. People in Dallas are pretty attractive, but also really nice and approachable. Among ordering a bunch of drinks, we also played foose-ball, life-size Jenga and took pictures in the photo booth at Kung Fu before dancing at Prime Bar.
Photobooth at Kung Fu! Pooja, Natalie and I taking some super-unflattering photos…
Sunday - my last and final day before flying out was spent skeet shooting on Elm Fork Range. I’m not scared of many things, but guns scare me. The thought of so much power to destruct something being put into the hands of someone really scares me. But if I was going to go skeet shooting, Texas was probably the best place to do it. I was instantly nervous hearing the shots when we got out of the car. Luckily, we were with friends who live and have grown up in Texas, calming my nerves.
Skeet shooting in Texas!
They taught us the basics of shooting (rules, how to hold the gun, how to aim, etc.) and I was ever so grateful to have them show us (instead of Pooja and I - aka newbies, going on our own!) what to do. I felt more comfortable being on the range after a couple tries and discovered that It’s definitely a lot harder than it looks. The gun is heavy and it’s a bit of a work-out — at least for your upper body and core! Regardless, I managed to actually shoot a few skeet!
Torchy’s Tacos! So much delicious food!!
We ended the morning with lunch at Torchy’s Tacos filled with tacos, queso, and chocolate chip fried cookies. People from church trickled into Torchy’s as Pooja and I headed to the airport (with a quick stop at the mall). All in all, I had a great time and made some great new friends. The two things I took away from Dallas was that the food and people were amazing - people are so friendly and willing to make new friends and if it weren’t for Pooja and her friends I wouldn’t have had such a great time!
As I continue to embrace New England, which includes but is not limited to: Salmon shorts, boat shoes, Ray Bans, J Crew chambray and nautical stripes (all of which I love and own proudly), I visited Narragansett, Rhode Island last weekend (5/31 - 6/2). A bunch of friends and I got a house 10 minutes away (walking distance!) from the beach and I absolutely loved it.
This only made me wish I OWNED a house in one of these New England beach towns - that way I could go every weekend. (Though that would require a car, which I also don’t have, along with the millions of dollars that a home like this would cost…)
Anyways, here are some highlights from the trip:
BBQing on the deck (BBQ is behind me - I was helping with the grilling!)
Proof the grill was behind me! Chowing down on a burger. IDK why I love this picture, maybe because I don’t have too many flattering photos of me eating. This was posed, duh.
Girls bathing in the sun - in an effort to get golden tans, my result = lobster red shoulders - I vow to NEVER skimp on sunscreen again!!! (Don’t worry derms, I always put SS on my face, wear sunglasses and a hat - I don’t want wrinkles or worse, carcinogens!! (though I DO want golden stems!))
Too many cooks in the kitchen… people kept telling me I was in the way so I just tossed kale and then helped clean for this meal…
All that hard work in the kitchen paid off! FAMILY DINNER =) Delicious meal of bean salad, gnocci, orzo, asparagus, kale and more!
My favorite candid of Arvind and I (thanks Bri!). Maybe because we both actually look happy to be next to each other (or at least I do! Arvind is over it, or too cool for school, as usual).
Beautiful picture of the ocean, wind, Esha and the boys on Sunday. While the wind looks great here, it sucked while trying to sleep and get a tan. Imagine little grains of sand flying into your face and hair and landing in your eyelashes and ears. No “I’ll shower when I get home” - mandatory shower was necessary and still didn’t get all the sand out of my scalp (gross I know).
Like I said, the wind kept shifting everything, including our beach-sheet. Hence Nisha is rolling around in the sand. On a different note - aren’t my retro sunnies cute? I think so, though no one else was a fan…
And here’s the end of it - going home on the Metro North after driving to New Haven. Thank you Nilesh for convincing me to buy a preppy New England sweatshirt in douche-bag-prep-new england-salmon-pink. I actually absolutely love it and wear it every night in my apartment!
Picture credits: bbarzola
@macklemore & @ryanlewis in NYC #seattlepride #pnw (at Roseland Ballroom)
Red carpet to see @macklemore and @ryanlewis sponsored by @bacardi (at Roseland Ballroom)
DIY bracelet cuffs with @refinery29! #neon #gold
Pink ladybug nails by @vanityprojects! Thanks to @refinery29 event in office :)