Category Archives: New Jersey

Memories Brought back by the Bachelorette

I am not one to do weekly recap posts on television shows and my husband will probably skip reading my blog today once he reads ‘bachelorette’ mentioned. I began watching with season two of the Bachelor and then with season one of the spin off, the Bachelorette while I was engaged. Fast forward to today and that is a decade of watching a show with generally the same plot, just new characters.    To be fair I would rather watch the Bachelorette over the Bachelor any day. Guys all vying over one girl  vs a season full of catfights.  No competition there. Why do I get sucked into it every season?

The dates?  The romance? The premise that you can find your soul mate?  

 My favourite thing about the show is watching their dates in far off countries. Especially when they go places where I want to travel, places I have been, and those that hold a special place in my heart. The last two episodes of The Bachelorette have touched me because of the locations.  Since this blog highlights on travels I would like to touch on the two places and why they mean so much to me.

On the Bachelorette Season 9 Episode 4, Desiree goes to Seaside Heights on a date and gives her date to a lovely couple whose house was hit by Hurricane Sandy.  I actually stopped watching this episode when it got to this point.  I continued watching it this week before starting the new episode.  It was hard to watch.  Seeing all the devastation from their view up in the helicopter.  Harder to imagine that we were just there for a summer vacation with my family last August.  We had gone there a few times growing up as my father’s dad lived nearby in Newark. He loved to take us to the boardwalk when we visited every few years from Europe.  You may have even read my posts about Seaside Heights and the Jersey Shore.  My husband has yet to go to New Jersey and my sons really want him to experience the summer staying at the beach house, walking minutes to the ocean, and enjoying the the fun, food, and games on the Seaside Heights board walk of the Jersey Shore.  I hope that despite the tragedy this wonderful place can be restored to an even better state than it was before. So that many more can cherish the same memories at the shore. 

This week’s episode Desiree took the men to Munich, Germany.  A city I love so much and a country I used to live in for a few years. I was watching every second with a huge amount of wanderlust.  I have been on that same mountain top that they were on and have been snowboarding in the Alps many times.  It is the place of so many happy memories with my father and going on snowboarding adventures together as a family and with our friends.  It was actually my first location choice for our vow renewal because of how special of a place it is for my family. I honestly cannot wait for the day that my husband can whisk us away to southern Bavaria. 

Being married for just about ten years with eight and six year old sons, date nights with just my husband and I are few and far between.  We have had friends watch our kids or have had arrangements set up when we were both working.  But we have never had an actual babysitter who we could regularly call up so we could go on frequently schedule date nights.  It is something I wish could be changed in the next ten years.  My husband by far wins with who has gone out with other adults more during our time here in England.

I have been out with my husband for his Uni function (so not a one on one date), once with his Uni friends without Ryan (to get me out of the house), a girls night out with my friend from  Hawaii who was visiting in London, and a girls night out in Bath with a fellow expat.  Other than that if I go out it is with the whole family in tow.  I think that is why I still watch the Bachelor/Bachelorette because I live vicariously through their dates.  I know not everyone gets the London Eye shut down for their date or a famous band to serenade them for dancing in the city streets, but I still like the idea of sweeping a girl off her feet.  That and who would not want to just jet across the world to visit a new country just for a date?  

I cherish my photographs from our vacation last summer at Seaside Heights on the Jersey shore even more after Hurricane Sandy hit and destroyed a place of such found memories.  Since the passing of my father I take photos of everything because I never know what I will not have the chance to photograph again. Even now going through old photo files on external drives, you will never hear me say ‘I wish I took less photos’. If anything looking back at old photographs I wish I knew back then what I know now about photography, composition, and lighting.  I definitely wish I had more photographs of my father and more photographs of all the places I have lived and travled through out the world.  While majority of those I can not or not easily take photos of now, I have also realised I do not have a lot of photographs of my husband and I together.  Since that is something I can change I have been working hard and on making sure we tackle that feat this year.  Photographs are truly precious to me.
Question:  What past moment in your life would you most like to have a photo of?
I asked this same question to my sponsors and here were their answers:

Jessica Lynn: “If I could have a photo from any past moment in my life it would definitely be one of me, my mom, and my week-old daughter together. It was just three months ago, but I regret not taking a picture of the three of us when she came out to visit.

Tara: “I can’t think of one specific moment, but in general, more photos of me and my parents. I lost both my parents last year and it was sad to realize I could count the number of photos, after the age of 14 (and I am 27, by the way), of me with one or both of them on one hand! I photograph

Rachel: “I’d love to have a photo of the first kiss between me and my boyfriend.”

Tammy:  The moment I met my hubby. :) that moment our eyes locked on each other.

Melyssa: “I’d like to have a photo of my nana making me mac & cheese. I don’t even really like mac & cheese, but because she always used to make it for me, I associate that memory with the feeling of home. It was never about the mac & cheese, it was just about her love. I’d like a picture of that.

Lisa Ng: “I would love a photo of the first time I held my son. I have plenty photos afterward, but just not the very first time.

Thank you to my lovely sponsors for taking the time to participate today. Make sure you check out the blogs of these wonderful ladies and I’ll ask the same question to you, my reader, below:
Q:  What past moment in your life would you most like to have a photo of?

Travel: Seaside Heights, NJ

My sister Zoë at the Seaside Heights Boardwalk in NJ

Now that we are officially in Spring and preparing for the coming Summer I have been looking back at some of my favourite Summer destinations.  Last year we went to one of them: Seaside Heights at the Jersey shore.  My family has gone to this costal destination a few times as I was growing up to visit my dad’s father and brother who lived around Newark, NJ.  Now that both my father and his father have passed away it is just my uncle who lives there.  I have only been able to see him a handful of times in my life and one of those was August of 2012.  My sons and I flew out to meet my mum (‘Nonna’) and my sister Zoë (‘Zia Zoë’) at the airport in Pennsylvania where we drove to our summer destination. 

Seaside Heights, NJ

Seaside Heights Beach park
Lounging on the beach with Uncle Tom, my boys, and my sister.
My mum rented a condo that was only a two minute walk from the beach. 
Thats right only two minutes and we could be ankle deep in sand and splashing around in the water. 
My boys and Zia Zoë enjoyed playing together in the water. 
What beach vacation would be complete with out making sandcastles with your Nonna. 

Then a short walk back to our vacation rental to get ready to go out to eat.

Visiting the MTV Jersey Shore house…might I add they painted the flag backwards. Seriously?
I flipped the photo (which you can tell by the words on a sign) because I am a girl raised in Italy.
The Boardwalk was cool at night because you could drink at the bars and the rest was locked up and deserted. 
During the day it was bright and sunny. A perfect setting for eating ice cream  from the famous Kohrs. 
With my only and best sister in the world: Zoë
The boardwalk is full of fun games and and prizes that can bring a smile to the child in us all. 
This is how I will always remember the Jersey Shore. 

In the end this was one of the best family vacations that I have been on since my boys have been born.  Unfortunately my husband was not with us on this one due to him being back at school during that time in England.  The condo was really nice inside, we could prepare our meals in the kitchen, and do our laundry whenever it was needed.  There were a lot of great places to eat at for dinner in the area and bagel shops for breakfast.  My one recommendation would be for those who would come here with children.  The rides on the boardwalk can be quite expensive so we let our sons choose one ride each.  We then took them to Six Flags nearby for the day and let them ride all the rides they wanted.  My sons said at the end of the trip that their favourite part was playing at the beach (free) so dont feel pressured to break the bank for family fun.

Sadly after our trip was when the storm came through and wrecked and destroyed many places with the flooding.  There is much that has to be rebuilt to get the boardwalk back to its former glory.  Despite the vacation rental being so close to the beach it luckily was unharmed.  Hopefully someday we can return to relieve the great memories of last summer.  My boys definitely recommend it.

Helene in Between
Linking up for Travel Tuesday.

Jersey Shore Vacation

Seaside Heights, New Jersey 

It has been over a year since I have seen my mum and sister, Zoë.  So being able to take the boys out to New Jersey for the week was really a blessing.  Not only did my boys get to see their Nonna and Zia, but their Great Uncle Tom, my father’s brother.  For me just being around my Uncle was very comforting.  I forget how many similarities and mannerisms that my father and my uncle share.  With not having the option to be around my dad anymore, every minute with my Uncle is golden.  Although he had to work every day, we go to spend the evenings together.  I really enjoyed seeing him and my boys together.  

My Uncle, Ronan, and Maddox with my Sister. 
Maddox playing at the beach. 

We basically spent the week on the beach, living in a condo that was just a short walk away.  It was basically impossible to get the boys out of the water, Ronan especially.  They have really missed living at the beach and being able to live in the water since we moved from Hawaii.  We built sandcastles, collected shells, and enjoyed the warm sunshine.  Ronan and Maddox really loved the boardwalk with all the games, rides, and food choices.  The special treat was getting to spend a day 
at Six Flags and it was one of the highlights for the boys. 

Having fun at the beach at the Jersey Shore

At the end of the week we got to have a reunion with my best friend Tammy from Hawaii. It has been so long since we have seen each other and being able to catch up with her and her family was heaven sent.  The week went by really fast but we enjoyed every second. 

My sister and my Uncle hanging out at the beach at Jersey Shore. 
Zoe and her nephew, my son, kayaking in the ocean. 
Fun photo op at Six Flags. 
Six Flags