About this time last year I was actively preparing for my first trip to Italy. I was so excited to visit Europe, see where my grandparents came from, and meet extended family who still live there. During my trip, we visited five places – Rome, Siena, Florence, Aquapendante and Positano. Of all the places we […]
About this time last year I was actively preparing for my first trip to Italy. I was so excited to visit Europe, see where my grandparents came from, and meet extended family who still live there. During my trip, we visited five places – Rome, Siena, Florence, Aquapendante and Positano. Of all the places we visited, Positano was far and away my favorite and here’s why.
No matter where you are in the city of Positano, if you look around you’ll see spectacular beauty day or night. The town is built out of the steep cliffs and faces the ocean so no matter where you are you can look out and see the beach and the sprawling sapphire ocean.
The beaches there are a rocky combination of sea-polished pebbles, crushed shells, and sea glass. The water is calm and clear with boats small and large far off in the horizon fishing and exploring the nearby islands. If you’re so inclined, you can spend the entire day laying under an orange and yellow umbrella and listen to the waves calmly crash over the rocks. And with a book or a drink in hand, there’s nothing more relaxing in the world!
There are narrow streets that run up and down the hillside along the plaster and white-stone buildings. On these twisty-turny streets are many little shops selling everything from gemstone jewelry to lemon candies to fine Italian leather loafers. Each shop has its own charm and unique trinkets to persuade you to stop and look.
As a serious food lover, I was amazed by the abundance of seafood available on the Amalfi coast. Everyday I indulged in these freshly-caught delicacies like; clams, mussels, squid, lobster and even sea urchin. As a born and bred New Englander, I’ve had a lot of seafood, but nothing compares to the brilliance of Positano’s seafood.
Born and raised a Boston girl, in September of 2012 I made the move to Austin, TX. I spent the next two years eating, drinking and exploring my way through what is undoubtedly one of the coolest cities I’ve ever been to. After two years I thought to myself, “Hey Self! Let’s move back to […]
Born and raised a Boston girl, in September of 2012 I made the move to Austin, TX. I spent the next two years eating, drinking and exploring my way through what is undoubtedly one of the coolest cities I’ve ever been to. After two years I thought to myself, “Hey Self! Let’s move back to Boston this fall. I hear you’ll be back just in time to break the record for the snowiest, most miserable winter ever.” Fail.
Anyway, in lieu of my recent daydreams of South by Southwest, sunshine and ice cold Shiner, I thought I’d capture some of my top must see, do and eats in ATX.
1) BBQ. Say it with me, bar-b-que. Redbones, eat your heart out, you got nothin’ on real Texas BBQ. Call me crazy, but I once waited in line for about 4 hours for brisket. If you have the time, do yourself a favor and visit Franklin Barbecue. Bring your friends, a cooler of beer and a few chairs. Yes, you will wait in line and yes, it is worth it. If you don’t have a half-day to devote to BBQ you may want to check out the original Salt Lick in Driftwood, TX. It’s a short drive from downtown but it’s absolutely delicious! (And please, save some room for a slice of homemade Pecan Pie).
2) Catch some live music. Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” No matter what night of the week it is you can walk into a bar and catch a really amazing set. The Continental Club on South Congress, White Horse on the East Side, Clive Bar on Rainey, and the Mohawk downtown are all popular spots where you can find anything from honky-tonk to rock-and-roll to indie and alternative.
3) Eat. All. The. Breakfast. Tacos. I don’t think I had ever eaten a breakfast taco before I moved to Austin… and then I ate them excessively for two years. Tacodeli, Torchy’s, Veracruz, they are all amazing. Breakfast of champions, people.
4) Get your nature on. You may have heard of Barton Springs, a man-made, spring-fed swimming pool in the heart of Austin. The water is a constant 68 degrees all year round, making it the perfect place to cool off in the summer. If you don’t mind a little drive, Hamilton Pool is another beauty, located in Dripping Springs. There are gorgeous waterfalls, a swimming hole and nature trails – a great escape from the city.
5) Grab an adult beverage. Whether you’re into craft beer, prohibition style cocktails or $5 pitchers of Long Island Iced Tea, there is spot for you. East 6th Street, or more appropriately known as “The Dirty,” West 6th Street, Rainey Street, South Congress, the East Side—each has a distinctively different vibe, but all are worth checking out, at least for one drink. Just make sure you stop at one of the many of amazing food trucks on your way home, you’ll thank me in the morning.
I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you. Austin, Texas ya’ll – visit if you can, you won’t be let down!
When I was 12, my family and I went on a summer vacation to the E/L Ranch outside of Missoula, Montana. A typical family dude ranch, the E/L offered riding or fishing expeditions in the morning, tubing on the river or hanging out at the ranch house during the afternoon, and a softball game after […]
When I was 12, my family and I went on a summer vacation to the E/L Ranch outside of Missoula, Montana. A typical family dude ranch, the E/L offered riding or fishing expeditions in the morning, tubing on the river or hanging out at the ranch house during the afternoon, and a softball game after dinner every evening. However, the most memorable part of the trip for me was the junkyard and the skeet course where I had my first experiences shooting a gun. The ranch allowed kids age 9+ yrs. old to shoot soda cans in the junkyard with a BB gun and kids 12+ yrs. old to shoot clay pigeons on the skeet course with a shotgun.
It didn’t take much to get me interested and since our visit to the ranch that summer I have continued to pursue the sport of shooting. Today at age 22 I have completed a conservation education and firearm safety program, participated in trap and skeet shoots, gone dove and quail hunting, and just this year earned my very own shotgun. Not many people can say they got a gun for Christmas and even when I do, it’s never received without some sort of look of confusion, surprise, or concern. However, I was thrilled when I realized that gift under the tree was actually a Beretta 20-gauge over-under shotgun. Shooting has become somewhat of a hobby of mine since that summer out west, thanks to my dad. He was the one who introduced me to the sport and has continued to share his passion for shooting with me ever since.
Out in the fields behind our house in NJ, our family shoots clay pigeons together every year over Thanksgiving or Christmas break. My dad sets up the clay pigeon thrower and cranks the arm back into place as I get into a forward leaning stance to yell, “Pull!” Once the clay pigeon is released into the air, the feeling of excitement and anticipation sets in as I find the bird and pull the trigger. The whole process occurs in less than a minute, yet it feels like time stands still as you swing through the shot.
In addition to these backyard shoots, our family has also gone on a few shooting trips in South Carolina to hunt game birds like duck, quail, and dove. This hobby of ours is definitely not your typical family activity, but it has been particularly meaningful to me, as it’s given me the opportunity to become closer with my dad. An avid outdoorsmen and a phenomenal shot, my dad approaches the use of firearms with a serene reverence. His gun is like an extension of the quiet power and composure that he exhibits in everything he does. It’s something that I have always admired about him and it reminds me how fortunate I am to have him as my teacher.
Over the last few years as we’ve spent time together out in the field or in the car driving to gun clubs, I’ve realized the lessons he’s taught me about guns and shooting are actually some very valuable lessons in life as well. For example, not only does every firearm have a unique history, but so do the many people you meet on the course, at work, in school, with family, etc. So it’s important to be mindful of who you are and where you come from in relation to others.
Being aware of your surroundings is especially important when you consider what’s in your sight. One of the first things I learned about gun safety is that a firearm is first and foremost a weapon and should therefore never be pointed at something that it is not meant to shoot. Likewise, it is important to remember that your actions affect everyone around you and can have consequences, regardless of good or bad. One way to be cognizant of this cardinal rule is to remember to be present and to take your time.
When shooting, you want to be relaxed and focused so that you can be as accurate as possible when finding the target and pulling the trigger. In life it’s very similar; in order to achieve your goals, you have to plan, take action, and be accountable. Lastly, it’s important to share your passions with others because you never know how great of an impact you might have on someone else. My dad’s passion for shooting has taught me how to be a stronger, more confident, and determined person, and for that I will always be grateful.
Here is the scenario: It’s midsummer on a bright Saturday morning, and you’ve just awaken on your living room couch. A ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ blanket is draped over your body, but you have no recollection of how it got there. You reach for the TV remote and press down hard on the power button. […]
Here is the scenario:
It’s midsummer on a bright Saturday morning, and you’ve just awaken on your living room couch. A ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ blanket is draped over your body, but you have no recollection of how it got there. You reach for the TV remote and press down hard on the power button. Your eyes widen as you instantly recognize the intro to your favorite cartoon show, The Rugrats. In excitement, you rush into the kitchen to grab a small bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, hurrying back to the TV set, not wanting to miss a second of the episode. You sit for hours watching these cartoons, show after show, each one better than the next.
Ahhh, the ’90s were such an awesome time to be alive.
Often times I hear my peers reminisce about “the good ol’ days.” When life was carefree and we had no responsibilities. “The 90s was the best decade.” They hate the direction the world is heading: constant terrorist threats, police brutality, riots, school shootings, so much hate amongst humans, student loans out of control, etc. I can see myself agreeing with them, and then I think to myself… Every generation must have this exact same thought about the decade they were raised in.
Terrorist threats, violence on US soil, and bills are nothing new. Ask your parents if you need reassurance. It all may seem more prominent these days because of its newborn awareness. There is more exposure to these events and circumstances, especially with the increased usage of the internet and the introduction of online videos. Information about the world can be reached by more eyes and ears than ever before.
I personally think this is the greatest time to be alive. As I type out this blog post on my mobile device, I hold a tiny computer that has access to any and all public information in today’s world. All of it. If I am curious about a certain topic, I can simply conduct a Google search and learn a basic understanding of that subject. There are programs and apps readily available for me to learn any spoken language I desire. Universities such as MIT and others have free online classes in place, so I can obtain college level learning on my own time. YouTube is full of free online tutorials that direct you step-by-step how to design and produce Hollywood quality graphics and visual effects. If you are interested in learning a craft such as playing guitar and piano, there are handfuls of lessons that can be followed online. Hell, if I press a certain combination of buttons on my mobile device, food will be delivered to my front door! This is the greatest time to be alive.
Now, the world certainly isn’t perfect, and we have a LONG way to go before it is. There are too many issues to count, especially in the US, that have me scratching my head wondering “How is that even still a thing?” However, I believe some of us ’90s kids (and others in general) tend to focus solely on the negative portions of life, while not noticing how amazing our lives really are. We must continue to enjoy the positive aspects in life in order to bring back that ’90s childhood mindset: genuine happiness.
That is the way I try to live my life, and it always keeps me smiling.
Buff bikers clad in leather, drinking cheap beer in a smoke hazed room might be the image that comes to mind when you picture a pool hall today. However, if you walked into Phil’s Pool Room on Main Street in Rockland, Maine during the 1950s that is not the image you’d be presented with. In fact […]
Buff bikers clad in leather, drinking cheap beer in a smoke hazed room might be the image that comes to mind when you picture a pool hall today. However, if you walked into Phil’s Pool Room on Main Street in Rockland, Maine during the 1950s that is not the image you’d be presented with. In fact it would be quite the opposite.
At age 17 my great-grandfather, Philip Sulides, left Albania, a small country west of Greece and immigrated to Maine, a place where he only knew his brother and where everyone spoke a language he did not. After couple of years he was able to both learn English and open Phil’s Pool Room, which also served as a shoeshine and hat cleaning business.
Pictured below is the interior of Phil’s (that’s my Grampy looking sharp in the suit): on the left are the shoeshine chairs, and on the right is the hat cleaning area and candy counter where my Mom and Aunts would stare lustfully until they were given a piece. The door in back led to the four pool tables, and while this was where the fun was, there were also rules to be followed. If alcohol could be smelled on your breath, if you swore, or were disrespectful, you would be asked to leave, and you had to have an invite to be allowed back in.
While I never had the opportunity to step inside Phil’s, there are three major lessons I can take from it and apply to my own career in advertising. Number one being that hard work absolutely pays off. Seven days a week my great-grandfather would open his Pool Room, work through the day, go home for dinner, and return to work until closing time. This was his daily routine until a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s disease forced him to close his doors when he was 72. Doctors gave him six months to live. He lived to be 99, proving that working 74 hours a week, for 40 plus years, might not be as bad for us as we all think.
Lesson number two is that respect is a two way street. Just like my great-grandfather with his customers, you must show the same level of respect you expect to receive, whether it’s within the internal team of an agency or with clients. And if you don’t, expect some consequences. They might not be as drastic as being kicked out of a pool hall for your first offense, but eventually you will find yourself outside looking for an invite back in.
Lesson number three is that nicely shined shoes are always in style.