What We’re Doing: Summertime Outdoor Movie Nights

Just a quick one here- wanted to make a place where you guys could easily access the best summer outdoor movie schedules in NYC, plus share a few tips from us pros!

Tim and I have been going to outdoor movie showings in NYC for years, and when Nolan came along of course we had to introduce him to the tradition! Now, of course, you can just stay home on your comfy couch and Netflix any movie easily on your own time- but to us, that’s not the point. It almost doesn’t matter what the movie is, it’s such a cool communal, shared experience that just feels so SUMMER. There are various locations around the city, really in every borough, that host these nights; almost all are free; some require signing up online first to reserve a spot. Some pro tips from us:

1. Get there early: if the movie start time is 8:30 (sunset in the summer), get there by 6:30 to get a decent spot!

2. Bring comfort, but read the rules first: most venues don’t allow chairs bc they block other people’s views, but all encourage you to bring picnic/beach blankets or pillows!

3. Pack food and drinks: this is the time to bring a picnic- we’ve done sandwiches, to Korean takeout, to a pizza pie- anything goes- sometimes we try and plan food around the movie theme if we’re feeling ambitious! In terms of alcohol, check what each venue allows, but all allow non alcoholic drinks, just no glass bottles.

4. Bring games: bc you’ll be likely hanging out waiting for the movie to start, being card and board games! Obvi Nolan is partial to Uno😏, but we’ve totally nerded out and brought full on Settler of Catan (ha!) and other board games- it just adds to the experience.

5. If you’re bringing kids, try not to stress about bedtime: when we brought him to Moana at South street seaport this past week, we were out till 10:30, since the movie didn’t start till 8… but IT WAS FINE- aren’t your best summer memories all around staying up wayyyy past your usual bedtime?!

Ok so lastly, here are some links to some comprehensive NYC outdoor movie schedules we use:

https://www.cityguideny.com/article/outdoor-summer-movies-nyc

https://www.nycgovparks.org/events/film

https://www.amny.com/things-to-do/outdoor-movies-nyc-1.29260543

https://www.thrillist.com/events/new-york/free-outdoor-movies-in-nyc-summer

Enjoy!

Xo, ❤

Christine

What We’re Doing: Montauk Favorites (and where we stop along the way)

High waisted shorts: Aritzia “Gela”| off shoulder top (old Revolve; similar here and here) | mules: Gucci | bag | headband | sunnies

Happy summer friends! We always kick off the first real week of summer vacation at our favorite place in the world- Montauk! For those of you who aren’t NY/Long islanders, Montauk is the last town on the east end of Long Island, at the end of the Hamptons. It has an old school, beach-chic vibe; very family friendly, but also perfect for kid-free getaways as well. We’ve been going for years, and this past trip I got a lot of requests for our Montauk/Hamptons favorites all in one blog post, so here goes:

Where we stay: We’ve been staying with Sole East Resort for over ten years- it has a large pool, in house restaurant, bikes to rent, beautiful beach-chic rooms, and gorgeous grounds. It’s also well-priced for Montauk/the hamptons and the staff is really nice- also its a 2 min/ten min walk to town! I’ve also stayed at Gurneys Montauk yacht club, the Surf Lodge, and Ruschmeyers, but truly Sole East is the best for the best price in my opinion!

Food and room at Sole East Resort

Gingham dress | sandals | bag (old Zara, similar here)

Eats: For breakfast, if we don’t eat poolside at Sole, we always always go to Bliss Kitchen in town for breakfast burritos! We also love Anthony’s Pancakes for a classic diner breakfast, Joni’s or Happy Bowls if we’re feeling healthy. Montauk Bakery is also great to grab a bagel or pastry and coffee if you just want a quick bite!

Our fave lunch/dinner spots include: Tacombi tacos, Crow’s Nest (gorgeous vibes, upscale menu), Harvest on Fort Pont (absolute must in Montauk; family style and very kid friendly), Swallow East (small plates, sharing), South Edison and Duryea’s Lobster for seafood, Ruschmeyers, John’s for after dinner ice cream, Gig Shack for drinks and apps w a side of live music, Montauk Brewery for happy hour and Left Hand for coffee!

Zebra top | black denim shorts | bag: vintage Fendi via Tradesy

Other Montauk “musts”: kitschy mini golf at Puff-n-Putt, hiking Camp Hero grounds, surfing at Ditch Plains, sunset catamaran happy hour (we’ve done Montiki) up at the Harbor, sunset at Navy Beach, and hit up the farmers market in town on weekends!

On the way out: we usually break up the drive out east and stop at a vineyard (Duckwalk or Wolffer) for a drink and snack, or stop in Southampton’s Golden Pear Cafe for breakfast or Sant Ambroeus for lunch if we’re feeling fancy; and Book Hampton in East Hampton is a great stop to pick up your beach reads.

Ok so that’s it! Hope this helps you guys if you’re planning a Montauk getaway this summer- if you feel like I left out anything feel free to drop a comment for others to see!

Xo, ❤

Christine

What I’m Thinking: Social Media Democracy and the Power to Judge

Tee shirt | jeans | loafers | sunnies

Comment. It’s an interesting word- as an English teacher, I teach my students to look for “connotations” of words- meaning the “feeling” (positive, negative, sometimes neutral) that a word gives off; kind of like it’s “vibe”. What connotation would you say that the word “comment” has?

Pretty negative, no?

Before the age of social media, the word “comment” seemed pretty much relegated to social situations where people were sharing unsolicited opinions about someone or something. The actual definition of a “comment” is “a written or verbal expression of opinion or reaction”. More times then not, when someone shares an opinion or reaction, it’s critical ( or else it would be called a “compliment”, right?). The idea of commenting on people, places, occurrences and experiences is nothing new- but since social media has become the all-powerful democratizing platform for expression, “commenting” is so much more PERMANENT, VISIBLE, and relentless.

Before social media and the internet, if you wanted to “comment” on something, you had fewer, less appealing options that required either more work or less impact:

1. to get out a pen and paper and write that sh*t down, seek out an envelope and stamp and walk yourself to the nearest mailbox to mail said comment to the desired recipient- chances are you had to REALLY want to comment on something in order to take all of these steps- so maybe that coffee you had at the overpriced cafe wasn’t so bad after all…

2. Just say it out loud, either to the present company, who either agreed or disagreed, then you not moved on, or mutter it under your breath to yourself, in which case the comment went nowhere really other than to let off whatever steam you had brewing over that less than satisfactory cup of overpriced coffee.

Fast forward 20 years…

Now, it’s way too easy. Had a bad cup of coffee? Anyone and their grandma who has Instagram or Facebook can publicly criticize that less than stellar cup of overpriced coffee in a very (semi; sure people can delete comments but people can’t unsee them!) permanent, rapidly spreading way with absolutely NO restrictions!!! ANYONE CAN SAY ANYTHING THEY WANT.

The coffee analogy is a tame subject to illustrate my point- we’ve all seen social media comments that WOULD NEVER and COULD NEVER have been made, let alone given attention years ago, aimed at other human beings’ physical attributes, political opinions, careers, upbringings, cultures- an endless barrage of opinions and reactions.

Most would argue, myself included, that democracy, in terms of giving “the people” a voice, is a positive thing. Humans across all cultures and time periods have fought and sacrificed so that they could have “a voice”.

BUT WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE?

Where does having a voice end, and commenting just because you CAN begin?

What are the consequences for us ALL having the constant ability to hit “like” and “comment”, with such ease and purposeless? What is it doing to our societal expectations, to our individual psyches and to our relationships with each other?

Just because you have an opinion or reaction to someone or something, does that mean that we have to or even SHOULD share it?

Imagine 20 years ago, flipping through the pages of a magazine or watching actual TV or a movie, and coming across a model, advertisement, commercial, actress or actor or product that you had an (probably negative, bc after all, we love criticizing what we can’t attain for ourselves) opinion or reaction to- what could you do?! Yell at the magazine?! Scream at the TV?! Chances are that you were not going to write them a letter expressing how you didn’t like their hairstyle or politics- you just muttered to yourself or “commented” to your present company. And the negative thought died there in that moment.

My mom, who is now close to 70, actually inspired me to write this post. She’s made the the observation more than a few times that “people nowadays” feel like they constantly have a “right” to express their opinion- whereas “back in the day” people knew when and what to keep to themselves. She believes it made for a more pleasant society— and while I do absolutely acknowledge that society back then was more repressed, and the opinions of all people were definitely NOT acknowledged or respected or dammit even HEARD- I do feel like power to “comment” and “like” has given us a weird sense of entitlement to constantly be judge and jury of every. Single. Encounter.

***so at this point, I had originally stopped writing and had my husband, Tim, read over what I had so far***

His feedback included:

“Don’t you see the irony in that YOU and your blog are part of the comment culture- just writing this post is a comment in itself”

“Why do you always glorify the past as if it was a better time? You have to change and move with the times instead of getting angry about “how things are now.”

To be completely honest, his feedback hurt. I had to process what he said and really think about if I even still wanted to hit publish on this post- AM I being hypocritical by writing this? Or being old fashioned and angry at the changing times?

I tried to get to the heart of what I was originally trying to say in this post.

I suppose it’s not that I think we should all silence and censor ourselves and each other— social Media really has empowered so many groups and individuals that otherwise would have no platform to express themselves. Tim is right- The ability to comment and voice our opinions has helped shape everything from political and social movements to fashion trends.

Maybe what I mean is that we should perhaps use caution when commenting- to try and not forget that just because it’s easy, doesn’t mean it’s to be taken lightly. Maybe a good rule to live by is to comment online only what you would say out loud. And maybe to remember that just because you can easily show approval or disapproval in the digital space, doesn’t mean that that constant and instant level of judgement needs to transfer to “real life” encounters as well.

This post isn’t ending in a comfortable place- and I’m actually ok with that. After all, some aspects of life just remain unresolved, and that’s alright. There’s no conclusion, and as Tim clearly reminded me, I definitely don’t have the answers- actually, I’m leaving this post with more questions than I started out with. To add to the irony, if actually live if you guys would leave a COMMENT (!) , share or discuss this idea with me- positive, negative or neutral reactions are welcome!

Xo,

Christine

What We’re Doing: Eating in Restaurants with a Toddler

Guys, I don’t know if it’s a New York thing (what’s cooking?), or a working mom thing (oh so I’m supposed to go grocery shopping after work THEN cook dinner; NOPE * ), or maybe it’s because I (we?) crave a little outing/adventure and I just love being in a social atmosphere for the most part (+ really hate doing dishes)… but we EAT OUT, like A LOT. If you’ve been a reader/follower for some time now, you know that my little fam and I may as well be restaurant critics at this point lol… and one of the most frequently asked questions I get in response to my Instagram stories is “how do you keep Nolan entertained at restaurants ?” (or something to that effect)- so I figured I’d share here what works for him and us, all in one spot that you guys can go back to if needed!

So first off, let me give the *disclaimers*:

Nolan is 2 going on 3 in a few months as I write this post.

No, he is not always well behaved and far from always perfect when out; however, I have to be honest- he just has a chill little personality and really is “good” in restaurants 90% of the time. In regards to the scary 10% though, he usually can be calmed down and refocused within a few minutes.

Lastly, I am by no means an expert!! Just here to share what works for him and us😁

1. We’ve been taking him out to restaurants with us literally since birth- we chose to not follow the “wait till the shots at 8 weeks rule” bc to be honest, I couldn’t go that long without going out for brunch and dinner!!! Also, I’m a big believer in that the world is a dirty, loud, uncomfortable place- the sooner they can adjust, the better! I remember stowing him under the table at many a dark, loud, crowded restaurant in his little car seat carrier- and I really do believe this helped!

2. We don’t let him have our phones for entertainment. Now PLEASE, if you do let your kids use iPads or phones at the table PLEASE DON’T FEEL BAD OR GUILTY!! Not here to judge AT ALL- do what you need to do!! For us though, we didn’t want him to rely on a device that needed charging- bc god forbid the day came when the battery dies and he doesn’t know how to entertain himself- we were more afraid for ourselves to be screwed lol. So please, no judgement- but I will say, bc he never was given it, he doesn’t even know it exists as an option, and seems to have developed pretty good social skills so far in terms of table skills. I will say, not giving him a “device” does mean more work on our part as adults at the table to engage with him, converse with him ( no matter how boring the topic he brings up is🤣 “sooo… let’s talk about CARS AGAIN”)… but it’s worth it to us in the long run.

3. We play lots of verbal/visual games— “EYE SPY”, “Name your favorite _____” (food, color, animal etc and we just go in a circle around the table!), we make up stories, retell old stories, play guessing games (describe an object and he has to guess), and always have each person tell how their day was- old school, but I swear they really work!

4. We bring plenty of table activities (will share links and visuals below!) and try to rotate which ones we bring so that they always feel fresh. We leave a few in each of our cars for cases of impromptu meals out (which happens frequently for us!).

5. Order bread/crackers/chips/whatever the restaurant provides immediately + decide quickly what we’re all having and order when the server comes for the drink order- time is of the essence with a toddler!

6. Lastly, we like to have Nolan be a part of be whole eating out process- a trip to investigate the bathroom, wash our hands and (hopefully) use the potty, greet and talk with the waitstaff or hostess, and give his own order to the server- we feel like making him do most of the things the adults do helps to keep him occupied as well!

Some of Nolan’s favorite table activities:

Shop them here: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

And before I go, I’m sharing some unedited videos of his current fave restaurant activity- all you need is a roll of dot stickers (can even use reinforcements or those color coded garage sale stickers!) a sheet of paper and a writing utensil! Easier to see visually than for me to describe lol:

Hope this all helps! At the end of the day, practice makes it all better- also “practice” means less dishes to clean also so…💯💯💯

Xo, ❤

Christine