Tag Archives: Niece

Surf’s Up!

Another biggie gets checked off this week!

Surf Lessons: Last Saturday, I decided to drag out summer for another weekend and boarded a bus bound for the Jersey Shore.  My family gathered in Ocean City, NJ to celebrate three amazing things:

  • The kickoff of my Grandma’s 86th birthday-week
  • My niece’s first beach trip
  • And of course, my bucket list surf lesson

As always, it was amazing to spend time with my beautiful and supportive Grandma. She is literally the best. In preparation for my surf lesson, we discussed all of the other stupid/risky things I’ve done this year (running a ½ marathon without really training, jumping out of a plane, agreeing to go to Vegas with my parents, etc). Later that night we celebrated with cupcakes and carrot cake and sang Happy Birthday twice, which is a family tradition (one birthday wish just isn’t enough!).

 

Beach Day

Beach Day

My niece loved the beach! We built sand castles, which really just resembled sand mountains, and chanted, “fortify the castle” every time we made a trip for more water. We jumped waves, giggled ridiculously when the ocean splashed us, and listened to the lifeguards (that’s the rules). My aunt got us/Veda bubbles, and by the end of playtime Bubble Headquarters (me) was drenched in a sticky, soapy, grape-smelling goo.  My brother was most worried, that Veda would go destructo on another kid’s sandcastle, but instead she came up to my brother and asked, “Can I share my toys, Daddy? Pretty pretty please, can I share?” Kind of amazing.

 

Beach Girls

Beach Girls

My younger cousin was in town to celebrate birthday-week, and as I prepped for my surf lesson, we talked about my remaining Bucket List items and the likelihood that my surf instructor would be an 18-year-old bro rather than a 30-year-old stud. I hypothesized that I could be a surfing natural, and this first lesson may be the start of a new career as a professional surfer. Cowabunga!

On the way to the surf shop, I gave my mom specific instructions that she was not to bring up my bucket list in front of the surf instructor. Hard line.  Applause to her, she didn’t.

 

Slim

Slim

Turned out my instructor, Adam, was not 18 (thank goodness!) and I don’t think he was ‘bro’ either.  He grew up in OCNJ and went to college in CA. Now he’s a year-round instructor that spends the winters in Cali and the summers in OC. Oh, and he’s dreamy! Unfortunately, if I were to grant him a nickname it would be Slim, and that’s just not gonna work for me.

We wetsuit’d up, grabbed my board, and hit the beach with my mom/photographer trailing behind us. We did the standard on-sand practicing of the surfing pop-up motion, and I pretended to be confident that I could this.

 

Walk to the Water

Walk to the Water

The early September water felt amazing! Perfectly warm and free of the jellyfish babies that typically show up in August.  The tide was low and the wind was off-shore so conditions weren’t ideal for a newbie, but I trusted Adam to pick the right waves and not send me into a nose-dive.

My first few attempts were failures; I popped up with the wrong lead foot, I got whacked in the head by the board, and my chic pony tail came undone.  But eventually, I had success.

 

Surf's Up

Surf’s Up

Adam yelled, “You gotta pop up,” and I flew to my feet! My shock and elation at actually surfing caused me to scream the whole ride. Woohoo, I did it!

A Princess Party and a Mudfest

Good thing I didn’t put “Be diligent about keeping up with your blog” on the list cause it’s certainly been awhile. Here’s a recap of some of my May / June accomplishments:

A Fairy Princess

A Fairy Princess

Princess Days: My niece turned 3 at the end of May. I bought us matching fairy wings and wands, and we danced around my parent’s house saving imaginary people with our magic powers. In my first (and last?) attempt at scrap-booking, I made my niece a book detailing our varied adventures. Spoiler alert: It’s covered in glitter!

A Birthday Book

 

Dream Job: Lottery winner? Full-time theme-party attendee? Professional sofa-tester?  I would be remarkable at any of these careers, but thus far my Craigslist job-seeker ad remains unanswered.  I’ve always known my ultimate dream-job involves living in a  beach town and owning a small business. I could spend hours day dreaming of a life where I own a beachside donut shop, a beachside yoga studio, or a beachside glow-stick, pirate bar. Unfortunately, without a lucky lottery ticket or the great revelation of a secret benefactor, I can accept that #thesweetlife is going to have to be a long-term goal.

In the meantime, I’ve gotten myself a new job and for now it’s pretty super-fantastic!  I’ve moved away from accounting (which was my short-term goal) and into a finance/project management role. I’m working with a smart and exciting team, and I have rededicated myself to the notions of hard work and professional success.  It’s not the sweet life, but I’m happy with the change.

BUT… if anyone is interested in the role of secret benefactor, I can show you the business plan for my glow-stick pirate bar. Spoiler alert: It’s covered in glitter!

Dance Party!

Dance Party!

Attend a Music Festival: This one wasn’t on the list, but it really should have been! In June I attended the 3 day Governors’ Ball Music Festival held on Randall’s Island in NYC; it was the muddiest and most exhausting three days of my life. The concerts were great; we saw HAIM, MS MR, Of Monsters and Men, Cold War Kids, Alt-J, Best Coast, The Lumineers, and more. But the whole thing was ridiculous.

It's raining, it's pouring...it's tropical storming.

It’s raining, it’s pouring…it’s tropical storming.

Friday Tropical Storm Andrea pummeled us with rain and wind as we stood through our first three shows. Fortunately, we were prepared with rain boots, slickers and ponchos, which turned a cold, scary and wet experience into a weirdly brilliant one.

Mudville, USA

Mudville, USA

Saturday we returned to the venue to find the grounds demolished by both the storm and the concert-goers. Mud was everywhere. Maneuvering through the island-wide, 3-inch-deep, mud-pit was both incredibly challenging and exceptionally terrifying. The port-o-potties were a nightmare.  Ultimately, some clandestine alcohol smuggling made the experience fuzzy and buzz-y enough that the memories are now more funny than gross.

Governor's Ball Crew

Governor’s Ball Crew

By Sunday the mud had mostly dried, and we were able to have a true festival experience. The sun was scorching, the beers were flowing, and everyone was wearing glow-sticks. It was amazing.

Overall, it was the wettest, muddiest, craziest experience. If the weather’s better next year I could be persuaded to go again, but ultimately…. at 30, I’ll be way too old for this!

My Easter Princess

Better to post a late update than none at all, right?

Prior to Easter my parents and I took my niece to see the Easter Bunny. The lead-up was filled with questions like, “what does the Easter Bunny eat?” and several renditions of Here comes Peter Cottontail (of which we only know the first verse).

En route

En route

The little girl in line in front of us, Virginia (yea, I know, right!), got both stage and Bunny fright. From the sidelines my neice offered encouraging, yet probably unwelcome, tips like “smile” and “say cheeseburger”.

In my niece’s official E.B. pictures, she had the classic creeped out kid face. But luckily I was able to snap a few smiles!

Easter Bunny

Easter Bunny

But the highlight of the weekend came later when my niece softly whispered to me, “you’re my princess.” Sweetest moment of my life!

"You're my princess"

“You’re my princess”

Pre-Super Bowl Update

I know this is a sure way to jinx them, but I wanted to make sure everyone was aware that the Ravens are headed to the Super Bowl on Sunday and I had specifically Christmas-wished for their  victory. I’m not saying I should be given all the credit for their playoff performance, but I probably deserve a “thank you” phone call from Flacco.

I’m all set for Sunday. I’ll be anxiously watching the game (and Beyonce’s Half Time performance) in NYC with a bunch of non-fans. And since I’m watching the game with non-fan-friends, it means victory or loss I’ll be tipping the cars by myself.

You're welcome!

You’re welcome!

Bucket list updates:
A million princess days: This time we pretended Veda was an artichoke that I dipped in butter. Obviously, my niece has inherited some of my quirkiness.

Me and my artichoke

Me and my artichoke

Give up drinking games as sport: Since this one isn’t going to be crossed off until the day after my 30th birthday party (after all no Kane celebration is complete without a flip cup tournament), I have at least another 9 months of complete drinking game buffoonery. In that vein my 2nd BFF and I created a new drinking game titled, “I Am Ready.” We are currently in the app development stages, so please look for beta versions to be released over the next few months. The last part was a joke; unless of course someone would be willing to fund our initial start-up costs……

Go to the Doctors: I get credit for going to the eye doctor and the lady-part doctor this week, but I’ll still need a physical and mole-check before this one is officially crossed off the list.  Note: Out of respect for my favorite blog follower, my grandma, I decided not to include the photo of me in the lady-stirrups even though it was tastefully filtered and my legs looked super tan.

Cook like an adult: I’ve actually impressed myself with my progress on this one. Over the last three weeks I’ve made dinner almost every night. While they’ve been pretty simple to cook, they look fantastic under the right filter!

Dinner

Dinner

Happy New Year!!!! Update

Happy New Year! Welcome, 2013. I hope you’re a lucky one for us all!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

At first I had decided I didn’t need any more resolutions. I have a list of 30 things (spoiler alert: now 28) that I need to accomplish over the next ten months and I wasn’t sure whether I could handle anything else.

But last night I had one of those startling and anxiety-filled 2:00AM awakenings that make you feel exactly like Mama McAllister in Home Alone. “What am I missing?” “What did I forget?” “What am I doing with my life?” As I lay in bed struggling to fall back asleep (and praying not to see a ghost), I decided maybe this ill-timed worry was the result of my lack of new resolve for 2013. Sure I’ll skinny dip and jump out of a plane this year and I’ll be introspective by figuring out my passions and dream job, but the new year is a time for fresh perspective and new mantras. So here are some of my new words to live by for 2013:

  • If it matters, fight for it; if it doesn’t, let it go.
  • Clean up your own messes (work, relationships, piles of laundry, etc)
  • Be a little more fearless than you’re comfortable with, and shyness is not an excuse
  • Deep condition your hair more

I also came across this article on Oprah.com (through CNN…Jeez I’m not that old yet…) (Seven steps to living the life you want) and decided my “Ideal Island” is actually fairly simple: a house by the sea, a job that inspires me, a family that adores me (and I them), and a closet full of sequins. While I certainly don’t have room in my tiny NYC apartment for a mile-long island map, I might add making one to the New Year’s resolution list.

Now for the Bucket List updates:

Sit on Santa’s lap: My niece and I wrote a letter to Santa Claus, and put it in the mailbox on Christmas Eve’s eve. On Christmas Eve we went to the mall and reiterated to Santa what was on our list: a new doll and a new airplane for Veda, and a Raven’s Super Bowl victory for me. Christmas morning Veda got her new doll, a Dream Lites, and about a million other presents, but no new airplane. Granted she had been telling everyone she was the bad list, rather than simply being on it, so maybe the missing airplane was some type of comeuppance. I’m still awaiting my Super Bowl victory, but I figure due to a technicality in my Christmas wish-wording, as long as it happens within the next 30 years, Santa can still take credit.

Feeding Veda the lines...

Feeding Veda the lines…

Princess Days: In the middle of the Christmas festivities, Beautiful Belle fell asleep. I can relate; being a princess is tough work.

Sleeping Belle

Sleeping Belle

Follow-through: It finally happened; 2012’s drunk New Year’s Day planning for NYE 2012 was a success! I’ve spent New Year’s with the same crowd of outrageous hams for the last several years, and this year on January 1, 2012 over several beer towers and plates of tot’s, we all agreed to trek up to Gray, Maine to celebrate December 31, 2012 in a snowy utopia. The weekend was full of snow (10 inches), champagne (20 bottles), sequins (3 NYE costume changes), and an engagement (Yay, Kristen and Matt!!!). Of course New Year’s Day 2013 was filled with plenty more drunk planning as we nursed pre-return flight Bloody Mary’s. So expect some more follow-throughs in the form of St. Paddy’s in NYC, Disney in March, and sequin-y bathing suits for NYE 2013.

NYE Band Practice

NYE Band Practice

Bucket List Items Accomplished:

  • Sit on Santa’s Lap
  • Follow-through

30 before 30 – Week #1 progress report

One official week into my 30 before 30, and I’ve already made some progress!

I’ve had some great reactions to my list and everyone has been incredibly supportive of this undertaking. I want to thank everyone for all the feedback (replace ‘plan for retirement’ with ‘get weird’) and support (my mom’s first public comment!).

So here are some updates:

  • Go to the doctors, all of them: Over Thanksgiving break I had an appointment with my hometown dentist (http://www.familydentistkennettsquare.com/). I was informed the last time I had been there was in 2009, but I still walked away without a single cavity and received the following praise from my dental hygienist, “You have beautiful teeth; shape, color and shine” and from Dr. Baccellieri, “gorgeous gums”. After my dentist appointment I was feeling really good about my progress toward this goal, but then I pulled a move that was so “early 20’s” I lost that positive gain. Saturday morning, the morning after my 10 year high school reunion, I slept through my eye doctor appointment. I mention my high school reunion so that you can infer there was plenty of alcohol involved including some whiskey (see goal #XX). Friday night was a lot of fun, but missing my eye exam made me feel pretty irresponsible and not at all “adult”. I’ll have to find a way to make up for this one, perhaps by buying old-person eyeglass frames at my make-up eye exam.

8:30 AM Dentist appointment – didn’t sleep through this one!

  • A million princess days: After my extended Thanksgiving weekend I’d say we can check off at least 5 princess days.  For hours each day Veda and I played cowboys (with matching boots and hats), Beauty and the Beast (she got to be Belle and I was stuck in the roles of Mrs. Potts/Crazy Maurice) and Jack and the Beanstalk (I was the Giant and Veda/Jack kept stealing my gold). We put on (pretend!) make-up, she wore my shoes, and I bought her a sequin sweater dress. Essentially for 5 full days, I acted like her 2 ½ year old peer.

Belle and her book

Cowboys saying “cheese”

  • Learn to enjoy whiskey / find a signature drink: The most progress this week was made toward this bucket list goal. Fortunately, or unfortunately for my liver, I have great friends and family who were very eager to share with me their favorite whiskeys and drink recipes. My friend, Matt, ordered me a couple shots of Jameson on Wednesday night which I sipped at the bar and was told, made me look pretty hardcore.  I tried a Makers Manhattan, and promptly decided that would not be my signature drink (too sweet). On Thanksgiving my brother made me a VO Old Fashion with ginger ale; it was delicious but he’s already claimed it as his own signature drink. On Friday, I drank Jack on the rocks at my high school reunion and was again assured I looked “2 legit 2 quit”. On Saturday I tried Tennessee Honey and water and loved it, but was informed it doesn’t really count as whiskey.  So while I can’t check this one off the list yet, I’ve definitely proven I’m serious about this goal.

All in all Thanksgiving passed, and I had a great five days in my hometown.  I shared my list with several friends and family members, and everyone offered their encouragement and even described their own bucket lists. I am so thankful for everyone’s support on my journey to 30, and I promise to offer inspiration to those interested in formalizing their own 30 before 30, 60 before 60, or even 99 before 99.  Plus, I think I owe some people whiskey shots after this weekend.