Swamp Soiree ~ D.C. Summer Weekend

There were a few reasons I wanted to visit D.C. this past weekend but the #1 reason was to visit my good friend Maura – the one who ran the Paris Marathon with me.  She recently moved and BOUGHT A HOUSE!  My other friend Emma has been living there for the good part of last year and it was about time I went to visit them both.  Four of us from NYC picked out a weekend and scheduled our various forms of transportation.  Jackie and Jess were smart and snagged trains when they were around a decent price range, probably $100 each way if I remember correctly.  I was in procrastination mode and waited until they got to $200 and refused to pay that much.

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Travel Check : Portland, Maine

Almost three months have passed since my trip to Portland, Maine and while I still can picture the delicious food we ate (yep and yep) and beautiful views we had (Instagram again for the win), most of the details are slowly slipping away.  To be honest, I think I’m drafting this simply so I can it to my travel list.

My friend Lauren is much better at the details and will probably have a must-see and do post published in no time, even though it took us 3 months to do so. (I’m pretty sure I had drafted an email to myself with all the bucket list restaurants and then the draft disappeared…maybe it was meant to be)

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Last October, a few friends and I decided to take a trip up to Portland, Maine to explore the outdoors and eat our hearts out.  Lindsay and I are on a “need-to-do” east coast bucket list and Portland just so happened to be one of our destinations!  Sadly we didn’t make it to Acadia National Park, so I guess that’ll have to be another trip down the road.  For now, enjoy the Top Things to Eat & See in Portland, Maine!

Explorations

  • Back Cove Running Loop (sunrise photo above): A 3.6mi loop perfect for a morning stroll or jog.  Since this trip was a week before the New York Marathon, I had about 8-10 miles scheduled and wanted to build up an appetite before our day of eats.  Lauren and I rambled around Portland, around this quasi-inlet, and back through a small farmer’s market.  Our friend Abby located a local spin studio to sweat it out, which was also an excellent find.
    • As mentioned above, we didn’t get a chance to explore the Acadia National Park and subsequently missed out on all the excellent hiking Maine has to offer.  Of course, we did walk our fair share along the streets and local shops, so we’ll call this trip a Portland-dense adventure.

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  • HOLY DONUT – A VERY popular donut shop that is centered around the Maine Potato.  Open daily 8 am and features top-notch fried confections, making millions per year! {Maine Potato, Dark Chocolate, Sweet Potato, Vegan, etc}

As you can see, we went for the full sampling selection and yes, using the bottom right picture for scale, the donut is THAT BIG.

  • Silly’s – Eclectic hole-in-the-wall place that is very vegetarian-friendly and excellent for brunch carbo-loading.  The prices are prime and the portions are even better!  Highly recommend the Berry Me In It + Eganator for a sweet and salty combination.
  • The Standard Baking Co – Breads and goods make from scratch.  There should be no other way.
  • Blake Orchard Juicery – When you are in the need of a detox from brews and baked goods.

I highly recommend taking a picnic or picking up a top-notch lobster roll {Bite Into Maine}, walking/running along the water, or just sitting and staring out into the distance.  Maybe live a little and do all of the above.

  • Where there’s a brewery (or two…or three…or four), there’s a way.  We visited three different breweries for tours and tastings and had a blast!  I’m not usually the one to booze throughout the day let alone the weekend but it was fun to uber around and sample some local (and not to mention popular) hops.

Last but not least, the Maine feature – lobster rolls or as Lauren likes to say LOBSTAH.  Here at Eventide you can find one of the top lobster rolls in town (and on Eater’s 38 Essential American Restaurants).  This place is usually packed, especially on the weekends so expect to wait.  Always smart if you decide to go at 3pm like we did or are willing to stick around or even go for a walk.  They take down your cell # and give you a text when a spot is about to open up.

Do note that these rolls are different from Long Island lobster because they are served chilled and chunky.  I personally would stick to something out of NYC but that’s just my city snobbery.

With that, another travel recap in the books.  Anything you think we missed in Maine?

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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain

Celebrating Pride, Ice Cream, and One Hot Half

It’s a well known fact that a weekend away or in a different environment does the mind and body good.  I started off the weekend with a five mile race in Central Park, put on by the Front Runners in partnership with New York Road Runners.   As I noted Friday, we had created our own November Project tag for the event and as you can see below, showed up in full force for the race.  We had 64 finishers, the men’s team finished 11th overall and 2nd in our division, and the women finished 7th and 1st in our division!!! BOOM!

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^^ Check out all those people ready to run and celebrate Pride weekend!

So I admit, I talk a big talk but never really follow my own advice.  I swore that I was going in feeling sore and not even sure I wanted to “race”.  I needed to take a break and not run or race for awhile and didn’t really follow that.  I thought “sure it’s hot and humid and only 8:15 but five miles can’t be so bad, right?  Harlem Hill isn’t that bad, right?”  Well, turns out I was competitive with myself yet again and ended up running 38:07 (7:38 pace).  I reallllllly need to work on actually training and not jetting out like a bat out of hell on race day.

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^^ I couldn’t stay for the group photo this year but look at those hooligans.  What a good looking and fierce group!

Immediately after finishing the race and consuming the popsicle that was handed out (yes…think ahead folks to next year – popsicles at the Pride Run = amazing), I ran back to Equinox to shower and meet Lindsay at Grand Central in order to travel up to Connecticut.  Lindsay had found a half marathon in Fairfield and while I declined to officially sign up, I did agree to tag along and even run the last half with her.

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^^ Yes.  A beach day was EXACTLY what we needed.  This beach (Jennings Beach) took us about 2.5 miles and an uber ride to find but was oh so worth it.  The water was crystal clear – as clear as the Atlantic Long Island Sound (thank you Lauren ❤ ) will get in Connecticut – and the sand was much cleaner than that of Rockaways or Long Beach.  It also felt VERY much like a suburb beach.  I don’t know why it felt that way, but I could definitely tell we were out of New York City.

In the end we only spent a few hours on the beach since we didn’t want to get too tuckered out from the sun.  After after a few hours of sun and surf, we walked to dinner, ate with the early crowd, picked up some ice cream and headed back to our AirBNB.  Shall I mention that we brought down the average age of the dinner crowd about 50 years?  I mean, they really could have offered us an early bird special at that point.

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^^ AND I MADE A FRIEND

Sunday morning we both woke up bright and early and started to prep for the day ahead.  I have come to accept the fact that I just don’t “sleep in” and my body automatically wakes up between 5:30-6.  Sounds find during the week but on those days that you want to just lay around.  Wait, who am I kidding, I can’t even sit still long enough to do that.

Anyways, we were out of the door at 6:45 and off to the starting line (Jennings Beach).  Again, transportation brought to you by uber.  No this isn’t a sponsored post but I wouldn’t be opposed. Hint hint uber.

Lindsay picked up her bib and then I headed off to meet her around mile 4.  It was quite refreshing to jog and not have to look at my watch, my pace, or even listen to music.  I was more focused on the sights and taking pictures of all the fancy schmancy houses and people on Vespas that I saw.

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Once I saw (and almost missed) Lindsay at mile 4, I ran out to mile 8 and once she came around we wound our way back along the course to the finish.  Let me just say, mega props to runners to compete in such gnarly conditions because at only 75F, it was brutally hot for the runners.  I can’t even imagine anything more than that.  Thankfully a lot of the neighborhood had put out sprinklers and extra water stations for the runners.  But, at least three runners were not so lucky and were being attended to within the last 3 miles.

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^^ Perks of finishing by the ocean – automatic ice bath.  Too bad I wasn’t wearing a bathing suit and didn’t have a towel with me.  I would have totally been swimming all afternoon long.  After stretching for a bit, we called an uber (yep, uber again), went back to the AirBNB to shower and hit up a brewery before going back to the city.

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It was very sweet of our AirBNB host to drive us to the brewery, but turns out she dropped us off at the wrong one… Since that spot felt a bit sterile and didn’t serve food (both no-nos), we took an uber back to the one we had in mind – Two Roads Brewing Company.  As you can see, it was quite an indulgence.  Maybe not the best post-race food for one’s stomach but we hadn’t eaten much afterwards and I guess my mind said “GO BIG”.  Cue “Assimilation fries” with a fried egg as well as an “eh” Cordon Bleu grilled cheese.

See I have this problem if I purchase something, I have the need to finish it – no waste.  Well, I was able to power through my food but wasn’t able to finish the flight of beers.  It was my fault for selecting the wrong brews or just not going with my gut instinct and ordering a regular size of the Lil Heaven IPA.  Lesson learned.  But, when we realized the remainder of the beers weren’t going to be consumed, we called an uber and made it to the train station JUST in time for the 2:51 Grand Central bound train.

Two Roads Brewing Company
1700 Stratford Ave, Stratford, CT 06615
Hours: Tue-Fri: 12-9 ~ Sun: 12-7 ~ Mon: Closed

I swear, the minute we entered Grand Central, it was like a mad house and the peace and serene feeling of being in the suburbs had vanished.  Nothing like pushing your way onto a crowded and humid subway platform to say welcome home.  The rest of the afternoon was spent lounging and watching the latest season of Orange is the New Black as well as the Olympic Trials. Just 39 days until Rio!! And about 590 until South Korea…if you’re counting.

What were you up to this weekend?  What sport (if any) are you looking forward to in the Olympics?

“Everything in moderation, including moderation” – Julia Child

Life of Late ~ 6.24.16

Who else woke up to the notification that Britain decided to leave the EU?  Well, it’s the end of the world as we (I) know it  – from the countless classes that I took between high school and college that talked about politics, my travels throughout England and Europe, and simply being aware of what was going on.  Between the Brexit and this Hillary vs. Trump phenomenon, our world of politics is on a nice roll.

But enough about politics.  This week I was feeling MUCH more refreshed – probably due to the fact I didn’t go out over the weekend and just hung outdoors – between the west side park and Central Park – for an absurd amount of time.

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^^ Thank goodness I listen to morning television during breakfast because I learned that New York City was hosting our very own volleyball tournament and Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross (the Rio bound duo) were going to be playing!!  This was all FREE and thankfully I decided to bike rather than walk my way down (~3.5 miles) and made it just in time.  They won…obviously.

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^^ After I went back to charge my phone a bit (yay for iPhone battery life), I went into Brooklyn to meet my friend Laura at the Brooklyn Bowl.  She is a HUGE fan of Jeremy Loops, a South African singer and song-writer and I was up for something new and different.  It was SO GOOD! Sadly it was his last USA performance for a very long time and I was so glad that I went.  You never know what could happen when you say yes to new opportunities.

I also happened to fall prey to the artisan ice cream truck before making it to the show, but hey it was part coffee (to keep me awake) and vegan dark chocolate (so healthy?)

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^^ Almost more of a fan of the vegan ice cream (dark chocolate on the bottom because it didn’t melt as fast!)  This also was a summer must as Van Leeuwen’s is ranked in the top 5 ice cream spots 1 in NYC! Thank you PureWow for fueling my constant food exploration and consumption in this city.

Summer means fresh fruit, which means it’s time for BLUEBERRIES! And figs and strawberries and peaches…but I digress.  PureWow rounded up some fresh ways to use blueberries and of course there is one of my favorite YouTube videos about blueberries.  Enjoy:

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^^ Saturday was filled with a very tough workout class (quasi-weights/boot camp), breakfast acai bowl, and lots of park time for a friend’s birthday.  I was quite a sight in the subway as I was not only carrying a butt load of fruit but also walking my friends bike through the mass amounts of tourists in the humidity.  I was not impressed when the subway was 20 minutes late and I’m sure the tourists were not impressed by my desire and ultimate need to get that bike in and on and out of the subway car.

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^^ If you don’t follow Ali’s blog or instagram, I would do so if only for more pictures of Ellie.  How can you say no to that face?  Our friend Jason may have a different feeling after seeing that last picture of Ellie with his soccer ball…she may have thought it was a chew toy.  Oops.

The rest of the day I was SUPER social. Not.  What I actually did was go to Whole Foods with some friends, pick up mac and cheese w/ salmon and cauliflower and then go home to eat and watch Orange is the New Black.  It was glorious and I loved getting a full night’s sleep.

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^^ The next morning was the Harlem Mile up in – you guessed it – Harlem.  Well it was at Marcus Garvey Park to be specific.  I hadn’t signed up for the mile but wanted to get a longer run in and cheer for my friends.  About six miles later, I was up above Central Park and ready to cheer on the speedy crew.  Our crew tied for first and it was also a blast to see all the kids running around – some more enthused about this thing called “running” than others.

For those who weren’t thrilled, I feel for you.  My dad had to draaag me around the local track when I was going into 7th grade.  I’m serious.  I couldn’t even make it that mile.  But hey, look at me now 😉

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^^ Running + Brunch + Levain Cookies + Ice Coffee + Park + ANNELISE FOUND A FOUR LEAF CLOVER! What a Sunday.

IMG_7943 ^^ My view en route to Track Tuesday.  I may not love the track or even really like the track but it’s better with a group of people and the idea that I could get faster.  It also helps that the track is only a mile away from my apartment and I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn (or earlier than I already do) to get to Central Park.  The little things my friends, just the little things.

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^^ That’s the plan for this weekend.  After my 5-mi run (the NYRR Pride Run) tomorrow, I’m heading up to Connecticut with Lindsay and we plan to hang at the beach all weekend long. YES!

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^^ New November Project tag ready for tomorrow’s race.  Thank you so much to the paint crew that got up early to spray paint all of our t-shirts because they look saweeet!!!  Here’s to an awesome weekend to all.  Enjoy!

“Know your own happiness” – Jane Austen

Summer 2016: GOMO not FOMO

> FO·MO – Fear of Missing Out: anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website. <

This four letter word has been phenomenon for who knows how long and was officially incorporated into the Oxford dictionary in 2013.  It’s something that our society, especially my generation, needs less of.  Much less of.   I’m sure it has been around for ages but thanks to the various forms of social media, has had more of an impact in recent years.   We have so many stimulants in society that keep us thinking about what we should do, should work on, should look like, places we should travel to, and on and on.

Sure, sometimes having certain images circle around social media can have a positive effect – you can get inspired to try new meals, plan trips, or get out and about.  Unfortunately it can also become a detrimental factor in making you feel worse about what you already do and that’s not cool.  A fun company called Eventbrite, which enables people to create invites online, is leading the charge on this GOMO mentality, considering it the new FOMO. So today on the first of June, I make a pledge to filter out the FOMO in my life and I hope I can encourage a few to do the same.

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How does that work?  First start by writing a list of things that you enjoy and would be happy to do in your free time.  Now set the seed and make it happen!  Bring friends or go solo but now is the chance to carpe diem!  Of course the next part of that is to commit to your plans and not comparing them to others.  Remember, you do you.

This summer, instead of sitting around and having said FOMO, how about trying GOMO or Getting Out More Often?  There are plenty of ways to stay busy during every season and thankfully summer is one where we can really get out and play.  Thank you also to summer Fridays, which will allow me to hopefully escape the city or at least soak up some rays in Central Park.  Here are some other ways I plan to get out more:

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np on gma

  • find some sun and surf
  • enjoy an ice cream cone
  • find the best lobster roll in town
  • make some new friends
  • hike outside of the city

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(click picture or here to link to Outdoorfest’s website!)

  • go to Gallow Green (again) because fancy floral rooftops = winning
  • see a musical
  • attend a summer BBQ/hang-out
  • turn my phone off at least once a week and/or weekend
  • be happy with myself and the decisions that I make

For other ideas around New York, check out the I Love NY website.  More summer fun around NYC ideas from 2014 >> Part 1 and Part 2.

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So now I’m committing to the world wide web.  I will truly do my best to staying in the moment, not letting myself get wrapped up in other people’s trips, travels, excursions, or pictures.  Instead, I’m going to encourage myself and as many people as possible to seize the day, the moment, the hour, and do more of what pleases me!  Who is in??

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P.S. If you are curious about starting your own event, definitely check out Eventbrite as they support ticket sales as well as other features like discounted options for non-profits!!

MDW ’16 in Review ~ New York Staycation

Ah Memorial Day Weekend.  It’s a relatively jam-packed with activities and of course holds a couple of meanings  The main purpose of the day, one that used to be known as Decoration Day, is to pay tribute to all the men and women who have died in military service for the United States.  To all of you, thank you.

This day and ultimately weekend also serves as the start to summer, the beginning of beach days, and historically in the fashion world – the “ok” to wear white.  Now that last point has sort of gone out the window and you can see women wearing it all points of the year, especially in Southern California where the seasons fluctuate between summer and mild summer with maybe some 50’s thrown in there.

Memorial Day Weekend is one holiday weekend that I never really have had solid plans for.  Growing up we would have a fun run on Monday or possibly go up to Mammoth Mountain.  I have been to the Jersey Shore for a few days and even a trip to go white-water rafting.

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I can look at this last weekend in one of two ways.  One – I didn’t get my act together to plan a trip or full weekend excursion or two – I worked on creating some open ended plans that would allow me to relax a bit and not go into some busy weeks at work completely exhausted.  Let’s go with the latter.

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^^ Remember when I mentioned that I loved Westville’s salad so much?  Yeah well when I was given the ok to leave work on Friday, I decided to go back down to 18th street, have a solo salad and then make my way back to Central Park to meet up with Lindsay and a few of her friends for a bit.  It was amazing to see how many people were out in Sheep’s Meadow.  While the heat did get a bit bothersome at times, if you stayed in the shade it was absolutely lovely.

From the park, Lindsay and I made our way to CitiField where we were able to watch our Los Angeles boys in blue take on the Mets!  It may not have been the best start for the Dodgers as they were down 5-1 by the 8th inning.  Lindsay and I thought they were out for the count and had started to make our way back to the city on the 7 train when I got a text from my mom saying the following “Dad hopes that you are still watching the game since it’s tied 5-5.”  Well if that’s not a guilt trip…Just kidding.

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There were a ton of people on the train and we were all kicking ourselves in the pants.  I just claimed that we were typical LA fans – arrive late and leave early.  The real excitement was Saturday when Chase Utley hit a grand slam for the Dodger win!

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Saturday I decided to give myself the day off from working out and instead Lindsay and I got up early to hit the beach.  We left the apartment around 8:30, picked up some snacks and caffeinated beverages at Starbucks and were on the sand by 11:30.  Now that it’s beach season, the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) has various beach deals including one to Long Beach – $23 round trip fare and access to the beach (normally $15).  I guess they charge at most beaches in order to maintain the classiness or cleanliness.  Either way, it does make for a better experience, especially if you make it a full day.

We may have been overeager on the sun and less than smart on the sunscreen.  I had thought it would be easy to spray myself periodically with the spray bottle but apparently that was not enough.  When I got home it looked like I wore some fancy schmancy suit that had cut-outs on the sides.  Let’s be clear that I did not wear that.  So from 7pm onward I sat and applied aloe, ate Bareburger and watched Disney Channel movies from the 100th episode celebration.  Adulting at its finest.

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^^ Sunday started with my last ClassPass class at KORE.  We worked for about 45 minutes with kettle bells, TRX ropes, and our own body weight.  The music was good, the bathrooms were fancy, and the lighting was a bit too much disco-esque.  I didn’t feel it too much right after the class but boy did I feel the burn the next morning.

Once finished, I hopped back on a Citi bike, prepped breakfast for the week and got ready for day #2 of the beach.  This time we were keeping it cheap and taking the A train out to Rockaways.  Turns out we went to the surfing spot, which doesn’t exactly allow for swimming.  Good to know.

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Once we got past the loud family and two parties playing loud music (really people, is that necessary?  How about listening to the ocean waves), everything was just fine.  I had brought my second book – The Lake House by Kate Morton – and alternated between reading and napping and glaring at our neighbors.  We actually didn’t even make it into the water because an odd fog started to roll in and we took our cue to depart.

To be 100% honest – the beaches are nothing like those in California.  I grew up going to Laguna Beach and there seriously is nothing better – the waves, the color of the ocean – the cleanliness (on most…).  That or Hawaii but we can’t all have Hawaii all the time.  It is sort of hard to trek all the way out with all your goods, but that’s part of growing up and exploring new areas.  Maybe I’ll stumble across a few other beaches this summer and make a list of pros/cons.

I’d like to say we went home and got dressed to go party but that would be a lie.  I sat right down and applied aloe and watched some excellent Disney films.  1) Johnny Tsunami, 2) ZENON and then 3) Teen Beach Movie, which seemed like a mash-up of modern day Johnny Tsunami (mostly for the poor kids who will never watch it) and Grease.  I was actually highly satisfied with all three and then got 8+ hours of sleep.  Now that’s an awesome weekend.

Monday Monday Monday.  After waking up to a cool apartment at 8:15am, it was off to the gym for a spin class and barre class.  I was supposed to go biking to a brewery but with 100% chance of showers, that plan was busted.  Once I set off for the gym a funny thing happened.  IT DIDN’T RAIN ALL DAY.  Get that meteorologists.  Anyways, it was probably for the better because I was able to stock up on some cleaning supplies, work through the apartment and get prepped for the week.

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I did meet up with my two friends that I was supposed to bike with and we tested out a new brunch spot instead.  I had selected this place (Jane) based on the reviews of the burger and bloody mary.  I did not get the burger and was actually not a fan of the bloody mary but did love the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich for what it’s worth.

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And that folks was a New York staycation.  A bit hap-hazard of a write-up as there was no real itinerary but we made do with our resources and it was one to remember.  Oh and for one little teaser of where I wish I could be – Curacao – with this view.  This is what a couple of my friends have seen for the past week.  Sunsets (NO FILTER) like this on the daily with plenty of sun and perfect surf to go around.

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“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you will look back and realize they were the big things” – Robert Brault