This Bathing Suit Changes Everything: Best Swimsuit EVER

i swear i look just like her under my cover up.
Earlier this year, I wanted to lose weight before my family reunion cruise. I started at 145 pounds and my goal was to be 125. Super skinny! Tina Fey recommends everyone experiences skinny at least once in their life. This was going to be the summer I crushed bathing suit season. I joined Weight Watchers and eventually lost 10 pounds. Then I quit Weight Watchers and ate everything in sight. That was fun.

I kept putting off bathing suit shopping because I thought I still had time to lose the weight. A week before the cruise started, I weighed myself: 145 pounds. The exact weight I started at. The same weight I've been since I got married. Since I was in college. Since I graduated from High School. I've always always always landed back at 145. A size 8. Not skinny but not curvy. Just a little lumpy in some areas and droopy in others and fabulous in others. And with that attitude, I went bathing suit shopping. Alone and online. I found this swimsuit at Anthro and took my chances. Even had to buy expedient shipping because I procrastinated so long.

I tried it on and I'm convinced it's the best swim suit in the universe. I have never felt more confident and comfortable walking around the beach until I got it. I've wore it ten days straight and plan on wearing it until it disintegrates. I'm hoping the purple one goes on sale soon so I can buy it too. The ruching does wonders for my squishy belly and the deep neck line? Frumpy mom no more. I'm sure there are knock-off versions at TJ-Maxx, but unless I have to, I hate shopping in actual stores. I'm lazy. Here's the details: I'm 5'5", weigh 145 and ordered it in size 8. It fits perfect.

Turns out I crushed bathing suit season without being stick thin. I never thought it was possible. All I needed was the right suit. The only proof is this excellent footage Ella took while testing out my waterproof case. Nothing but quality entertainment over here.

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Travel Reads: AFar Magazine

This image by Peter Bohler is amazing in AFAR's August/September print edition.
My computer screen isn't doing it justice. 
I picked up the latest issue of AFAR magazine at the airport last week and fell in love. Their hand written titles by Penman Ships are gorgeous. This article about a cynical man's trek to the miracle waters of Lourdes, France made me cry. This article about a girl's search for her violin's maker in Germany made me gasp. The authors and photographers make me feel like I'm their travel companion across the world. When I got home, I went to the website expecting to get the same warmth and intrigue I got from the print edition, but it fell flat. The photos I stared at in the print edition, are tiny thumbnails on the website. I clicked on them to enlarge, but it didn't have the same affect on me. I did like a few things on the website. It's cool that they posted images that didn't make it into the print edition here and there's some really good travel tips in the highlighted section. But overall, AFAR is best enjoyed in print. I just subscribed. I can't wait to see where the next issue takes me. 
Photo by Christian Kerber.

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The Best of Cruising: Photos With Husbands

Putting Rob in his place.
It looks like I have horns growing out of my head. 
Nothing makes me happier than cruise photography. Where else in this world can you go for poses and back drops like this? I discovered it last year with my sisters (it's one of my favorite posts ever) and again last week on a family reunion cruise. We spent an entire evening hopping from one booth to the next. In the end, we had a huge stack of photos to choose from. It was hard to narrow it down, but here's our best shots. I won't be surprised if they use our photos for promo material. We take it to another level.
The big mystery: Where is Rob's hand in this picture? Somebody's getting felt up and it's not me. 
I've said this before and I'll say it again: Cruises are a country and culture all within itself, and the best way to experience it is to say yes to everything. Leave all inhibitions and snobbery off the ship. Take disco dance lessons on the lido deck, order four desserts at dinner, and, most of all, pose your heart out for the photographers. It's the closest thing us normal people will ever get to feeling like super models. Nothing beats that.
I couldn't have been more proud of Owen (in the shades) when I saw this picture.
He has cruise photography in his blood.
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2014: The Summer of Wide Open Spaces

This has been the summer of wide open spaces. Every week I drag the kids out to the widest spaces NY offers. So far my favorites have been the Great Lawn, Governor's Island, and Nickerson Beach Park. Sing it with me!
The song is too good to be called a guilty pleasure. It's an actual pleasure. It resonates with me today as much as it did in 2000. Probably even more now. Give me some wide open spaces and room to make some big mistakes. Starting with using Dixie Chicks songs to add deep meaning to my life. What ever happened to them? They wrote some powerful stuff. I relate to the chubby sister with all the talent. ha
I was playing frisbee (aka AEROBIE) with Oscar and tossed it around some dudes neck. Even if I tried for a million years I wouldn't have been able to do that on purpose. The guy was not amused. Which made it even more hilarious. 

I would live on Governor's Island if I could. It's the car-free island of my dreams.
I made them do this. 
And finally, Nickerson Beach Park. It was worth the $30 entrance fee. Great beach, playground, and skate park. There was even beach cabanas and camping spaces for rent. I enjoyed it's sweet small town vibe. The perfect place for 10-13 year old kids to spent their summer roaming around and causing trouble. I would love to look into it in the future.
 In case you need supplies for next year's Gay Pride Parade, they sell these towels at Big Lots.  
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Best Weekend Getaway out of NYC: Windsor, Vermont

We spent Fourth of July weekend Tipi camping, rafting down the Connecticut River, and wandering around the Path of Life Sculpture Garden in Vermont. In other words, we out did ourselves. It was such a great weekend. I didn't want to come back to the city. Urban life has been losing its allure for me lately. It felt so good to run free for a few days without constantly being monitored with rules and regulations. Any chance I get, I find myself escaping NYC. We've played the role of city people for almost 4 years now. Might be time for something new. Really new. Out of the country new. Rob keeps suggesting London. I'm leaning towards the English countryside. Seeing my kids run around this summer is convincing me it's time. They need room to stretch out. I think I do, too. 
The garden was stunning. It's broken up into 18 mini gardens that brought us through the path of life. It sounded too "New Age" for my taste at first, but I enjoyed it tremendously.  
Keep reading for more pictures taken by my shitty camera.


My Happy Place: Fire Island

Fire Island is my happy place. No cars. Two choices for activities: the beach or the bay. It strips life down to the basics. I even left my phone and computer in NYC. On the third day, I asked Oscar if he liked that I didn't have my phone and he said, "Yes! Because you're always ready."
"Ready for what?" I said.
"Read for my hugs! Twice today I put my arms out to hug you and you didn't say, 'Wait one second.'"
My heart sank. I really need to throw that stupid thing off the Brooklyn Bridge.

My kids and I spent the week running barefoot to the little store for ice cream. Visiting our friends house. Dragging each other around in wagons. They jumped off life guard stands. We stopped rushing around everywhere. No stop lights to beat, no subway trains to catch, or elevator doors to run after before they close. Everyone slowed down. I did rush for one thing each day though: the sunset. I didn't want to miss it. I would move there if I could. Car-free destinations are the way to go.

Here's some of the pictures from the trip. My friend Liz supplied most of them.

Tragic: The ice cream store temporally closed for 5 minutes.
Keep reading for more pictures. . .

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