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Get outside and go for a walk. It’s going to make you feel great, promise! 

Sag Harbor, NY

February 14, 2017 💕

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The Five-Minute Journal

I’m really into sharing things that are great. It actually drives me crazy when people know about amazing / great things and they keep them a secret so that others can’t know about them aka keep their exclusivity. That’s called being selfish although sometimes it’s pretty damn smart. Whatever, I found something sick that I want to share with you guys.

Another blogger I follow posted about her experience with The Five-Minute Journal here, and I obvi knew I needed to purchase this notebook – ASAP.

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All photos from fiveminutejournal.com

The premise of The Five-Minute Journal is simple – the book explains how to make it work for you most efficiently – little tips like keeping the journal right next to your bed so that you write in it every single day – once in the morning and once in the evening. And even when you’re not in the mood or you’re too tired and maybe even too drunk. And it’s all founded in the pursuit of… you guessed it! HAPPINESS!

The journal is guaranteed to help you reach the status of whatever it is that you’re craving – and we are all craving happiness, right? Right, people? Right. The photo below shows the basic setup of this journal. It’s super simple and takes only 5 minutes in the AM and 5 minutes in the PM.

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It’s a fantastic tracker – in the sense that it helps you keep track of and have a reference point for everything in your life – whether it’s what happened, somewhere you went, something you did, how your mood was.

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Plus it reminds me of doing worksheets in elementary school – and I love a good worksheet. Filling in the blanks & writing in your own answers keeps your responses creative and thoughtful but not super long. Helps you get to the point quickly.

I’m really into the quotes that are at the top of each page – and quotes in general. That’s the “basic betch” in me – whatev. Just a little bit of insight into my daily life, enjoy!

 

 

Grateful Project

Actively being grateful is not an easy task, but one that we seriously need to integrate to our daily lives. March 1st I started a self-care project where everyday in a GoogleDoc I write out 5 things that I’m grateful for. GoogleDoc…seriously? Uh, yeah. Duh – Google is easy!

Vocally sharing what you’re grateful for with another person is EMOTIONAL SOLID GOLD mostly because it’s extremely challenging. Seriously, try it… much harder than it sounds. Writing is definitely just as good, so I’ll challenge you to start it up too! Writing totes allows you to reflect and think about your growth cycle. It’s important, trust! I listen to a lot of self-help podcasts, I read a lot of self-help books, articles, whatever. May sound or feel a little “crunchy/granola” to you, but srsly! Hearing about other people’s journeys gives me the motivation and inspiration to do things that I love and things that move me forward. Most of my friends know I’m the psycho who can very clearly recommend a fabulous self-help book in particularly any subject matter you throw my way. Sue me. Or just ask me! 😉

OK – back to gratefulness. Dude, I’m not here to judge what you’re grateful for – everyone has different things – I mean, at one point in my life my gratefulness exercise would have contained some things about designer handbags and manicures (I am grateful for both of those things still…) See, it’s hard to judge…

Wednesday, April 27, 2016:

I’m grateful that wireless internet is working at my office today. (And that wireless internet exists.) YUP.

I’m grateful to be a part of the major community of SoulCycle that just celebrated their 10 year anniversary. #Souliversary

24c90e42-987c-4a59-a6e7-fc6e8359c253I’m grateful for Snapchat filters because they really make all the difference…

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I’m grateful for forward motion and building the courage to push through challenging experiences.

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Also grateful for beautiful friends to go on fun Sunday adventures with!

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I’m grateful that I get to hang out with dogs everyday while I’m at work, they make me 🙂

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You can even add in photos like I just did (although I’ve never done that before).

In addition to the 5 things that I’m grateful for daily, I finish off my morning notes with the following phrase… “and I’m a badass because…” (and fill in the blank).

And I’m a badass because…I’ve taken upwards of 207 selfies this week. And it’s only Wednesday. ❤

Go To The Ocean

Go to the ocean. Often.

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One of my best friends made a promise to herself in 2015 that she would go to the ocean once a month for every month of that year.

Even if it was cold, even if it was inconvenient and even if she had no time to do it – she went to the ocean. Being there in solitude or with a friend is really grounding – makes you think and allows you to reflect on what’s happened and look forward to what will happen.

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This year I’m going to further this challenge with a vow to visit the ocean on a weekly basis or even more often, if possible. Starting a bit late into 2016, I was able to “make it” to the ocean once in January and once in February. Look for some photos and segments as 2016 goes on. #GoToTheOcean

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I love this dirty sign. ❤

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All photos taken at different spots in Montauk, NY.

Things I’m Into: Feel-Good Edition

Think about things that make you smile today.

This light / neon / crystal image is my new iPhone lock screen background because I really enjoy looking at it. Colors are dope.

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Image from Pinterest ❤

Next up is a ridiculous Snapchat. Doing things that make you feel pretty. Feel-good things are not always the same as wellness things, but whatever. I got my hair colored yesterday…(great color = really good vibes) however (toxins from hair coloring = bad vibes) but I mean… I haven’t done it in about 1 year and I needed it and I’m making up excuses for myself BUT I just wanted it. And it makes me feel good. And this puppy filter on Snapchat is putting me over the edge– how cute is everyone as a dog? OMG. Plus follow me on Snap if you want a peek of all the weird shit I do on the daily. @ashleybyrdy, hi!

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Next up: Thank you. Stop saying sorry if you want to say thank you. I saw this image below on a blog post here and totally had to share it with you guys. Putting good vibes out into the universe with a  positive message instead of a negative one. I’m about this.

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Bathing suit season is approaching and I for one am super excited and looking forward to being in a bathing suit and on the beach all summer long. I came across this pretty rad swimsuit website, Cocodune – that allows you to order suits at no charge, have them shipped to your house to try-on and then ship back whatever you don’t want. At no fee. Unless you keep something, then your credit card gets charged. It’s genius, especially if you have no time to swimsuit shop or you’re self conscious about it. Whatever the case may be, I’m trying it out this week so I’ll let you guys know what I think in a later post.

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Keep it feel-good, guys…keep it feeling really good!

Maven

Recently tried out this new-ish app (available in the App store) for women’s health – it’s called Maven. It’s legit very easy to use, basically immediate and super efficient! (things I LOVE – duh). The concept is like going to a urgent care health clinic, except it’s in an app…

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I spoke to a nurse practitioner and asked a nutrition question I had about sugar in alcohol – but you can ask them anything at all. Like weird things you don’t want to make a doctor’s appointment for (I took 4x the recommended dose of Vitamin C and can’t stop going to the bathroom)… normal, easy things like (my medication is causing weight gain and I’m concerned). Maven practitioners can prescribe you medicine – like birth control, or if you have a UTI, cold/cough, all the basics of what you’d want and need.

Maven is exactly like going to an “urgent care center” on a Sunday when your doctor’s office isn’t open…except you don’t even have to physically GO! It’s basically FaceTime with a doctor. on YOUR schedule. Your appointment can be over in less than 10 minutes. And there’s no waiting in the waiting room forever. AKA this is awesome! I’m obsessed.

You can get your first appointment for FREE if you use my code: ASHLEYBVIP on the home screen of the Maven app.

So literally Maven does not cost you a thing – they ask you to enter credit card info so if you do like it and continue to book appointments they have a place to bill. If you want to use the service again or continually, the prices are fair and reflective of typical urgent care centers. Takes ultimately no time to book your free appointment using my code – do this while you’re sitting on the couch between commercials, lol.

• Download the Maven app on your iOS device by searching “Maven Clinic” in the app store, or visiting this link.

• Enter code ASHLEYBVIP on the home screen. (This makes your appointment FREE!)

• Book an appointment with one of the practitioners. Ask them any health question you want – it doesn’t have to be complex. Something like: Is my breakfast healthy enough? Should I be taking medication for that? Basically all of the health questions you’ve been asking Google, you can ask an NP or doctor. You can book with any of the NP’s and the appointments last 10 minutes – SUPER EASY. You get one free session with my code!

The lady I met/FaceTime’d with was super nice – her name is Maya Freidman and she was under the “Nutrition & Physiotherapy” area of the app. There are lots of practitioners and they all have their credentials listed on the app, obv. The next appointment I’m planning on setting up is within the Mental Health section with a therapist because I mean#problems. 😉

If you have further questions, definitely direct message me, comment or e-mail. Make sure to use my code for your free first appointment on Maven.

Diva Cup, OH. My. God.

Dear All Betches Everywhere:

An open letter about menstruation. Read further if you dare. If you don’t want to read about a potentially uncomfortable topic I would suggest you stop reading now. Men especially. But women, you’re welcome…maybe? Whatever. Here we go…

A few years ago, one of my BFF’s informed me of a product called “Diva Cup.” Basically, that she started using it and that it is life-changing, once you get used to it. She uses it, has been for quite a while and apparently loves it.

Click the Diva Cup link above or just Google it if you want to learn more about specific details.  Basically, Diva Cup is made for females as an alternative to using tampons or pads during menstruation.

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It’s a silicone “cup” that you virtually insert inside of yourself and it captures the blood. Benefits are that you can leave it in for up to 12 hours, it’s a 1-time cost of under $30 and lasts for a few years apparently (instead of spending a lot of $ on tampons/pads) and sort of saves the environment (less waste) and your septic systems! Score! Win! Great, I’m interested… let me find out more! Headed straight over to Amazon.com to order this puppy and give it a try… and by heading straight over, I mean I contemplated doing that for approximately 2 years and finally did when I had an Amazon gift card over the summer and was bored because I didn’t have a real job. Whatever…

I tried this product, not one time, not two times, not three times, but FOUR freakin’ times. I think that should suffice as me giving it an actual try… and certainly not just “giving up.” Even though, that is essentially what I did…. every. single. time.

Maybe for some women, Diva Cup is the end-all, be-all solution to menstruation. It does offer some great benefits. The problem with those benefits, are that I don’t exactly give a shit about them. I mean – I tend to be on the eco-conscious side of things in life – however, I don’t really 100% care. Do you? Do you really think that not using tampons is going to save the world? OK, fine if you do. Next, I want my body to be 100% healthy and try not to willingly induce tons of toxins inside of it, but I mean – I’m not 100% convinced that TSS (toxic shock syndrome – from keeping tampons in for too long) would ever even happen to me. I have to switch my tampon far too frequently for that ever to be a problem… so in reality, there is not a specific cause that’s leading me to really want to use this product. So I’m having no or low expectations and just giving it a whirl.

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Photo found in Google images so whoever deserves credit for it, thanks!

All of my viewpoints are speaking from a “first time user” perspective…. and after the 4th month of trying Diva Cup, I still feel like a “first time user”…. which is already saying something. Yeah, things may get easier and you can get used to it after time passes. But this was not easy to “get used to.”

Inserting Diva Cup is not easy in my opinion, AT ALL. On the instructions paper (yes…) there are 2 diagrams of 2 different techniques to “fold” the cup so that it inserts into your vagina in an easier way. I tried both. Several times. And failed. Several times. It’s also worked. Several times. But then later failed. Several times. (I’ll get into that later…) It’s also bigger than a tampon… when folded. So like, enjoy shoving that up into your vagina. I was considering using lube, but then….what? no, Ashley – bad idea. What? UGH. Didn’t. 

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Photo from Google Images

If you’re lucky enough to get the insertion correct, GREAT JOB! Woohoo! You got it in and this silicone cup is now up inside of your vagina – score. Basically your vagina eats this thing up and good the fuck luck trying to get that puppy out again…. (those were my first thoughts). But then the instructions go on further… saying, now you must ROTATE this cup 360 degress! UM….. WHAT?!?!

So there’s a little tube looking piece (you can see it in the diagram above) that would compare to a tampon string and would essentially help you remove your cup when you’re ready to do so. But it specifically states on the directions, do not use this to do your 360 degree spin. I tried, they’re right… basically that thing is not going to spin. So you have to reach your fingers inside and squeeze them up against the sides of your vagina to hopefully grab the cup and do a full “spin” of 360 degrees on the cup. On separate occasions I’ve either done the spin, or I’ve avoided the spin. Avoiding is a poor choice. Basically, you have to do the spin so that the cup “unfolds” and slides into the shape of your vagina and so that it can open fully to catch the blood. If you do not spin it could potentially stay sort of folded inside of you and either not open at all to catch or just sort of open and either way you’re going to get MAJOR LEAKAGE. Which IMO is a MAJOR PROBLEM.

Ok, so say if you complete this step (DOUBLE SCORE!) and you have your Diva Cup inserted. You’re a fucking all star if you’ve made it this far. Now starts my rant about the biggest product flaw that I see with this product. I wish I would show you what I mean by this ,so I think I’m going to draw it. So you can see exactly what I’m talking about. Otherwise, it’s confusing. Please hold….

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Dude – This is my SOOOOO not technical and obviously NOT TO SCALE diagram. Hand drawn. LMAO — I actually can’t with this one, and I think I’ve truly out-done myself. I can’t believe this is what I think a vagina looks like. I’m probably way wrong, I don’t care though. This is what I want to tell you!!!

The part of the wall of your vagina still has blood on it that is never going to get caught by the Diva Cup because it just will never have the opportunity to. It’s below the Diva Cup opening. Gravity says that this blood will come out of you… so virtually every single time you remove / re-insert your Diva Cup, you’re going to still bleed out that amount of blood.

I would always recommend using a light panty-liner or thin pad each and every time you’re using this product. Which sucks and is a total fucking bummer and completely defeats the purpose of the whole process at all… am I right?

The purpose of a tampon is to avoid wearing a pad / diaper. Keep it all inside so there’s less chance of a mess on the outside. Diva Cup in theory should keep it all inside and let you go for much longer extended periods of time without having to change tampon or have it pushed out if you use the bathroom in any other way…. so that’s cool. Except it does not.

Further, using this product is fucking gross because it gets you DIRTY. For example, when you do use Diva Cup successfully (me, every time). Or say even if you somewhat use it successfully. You eventually finally have to remove it. Removal will be 100% messy and gross. Aside from that, it sort of will sound like suction cup or plunger when you’re removing it. Think about making that noise with a product that’s coming out of your vagina. And immediately you’re going to want to die / vomit. You pull it out of yourself and try not to get blood all over yourself – your hands, your toilet seat, your floor? WTF, not okay. Then it’s going to be a total fucking murder scene. This thing is going to be full of blood, so you then…. dump it out into the toilet. Great. Now there’s excess blood / tissue, whatever the F is left on it. VOM DOT COM. So what are you instructed to do? Clean it out. So yes, you have to physically go to your sink and rinse this out. Aka more touching with your hands. And you should use a mild soap obviously nothing that will irritate the inside of your vagina because then… other problems when you put it back in there. Worst.

My biggest fear / concern is what if you’re out of your own fucking home? Are you going to change this thing in a public restroom? The noise factor is already a problem here for me. Not okay. Next, when you’re finished removing.. oh let me just flush and go out to the sink and clean out my bloody Diva Cup… which takes a minute or so… and oh, now let me get back in that bathroom stall there and re-insert my Diva Cup.. in whatever awkward position I decided to get into to actually figure out how to get this cup inside of myself. Hopefully on the first try, sometimes on the third try, though. And if there’s a line in this restroom, I’m sure all of those other women waiting in line will totally understand what you’re doing… NOT! They’re gonna be like wtf does this weird girl think they’re doing?! Playing with her period? What is she like a 3 year old toddler playing with finger paint? UGH. Ew. I rest my case. Except, unfortunately for you, I’m going to keep writing.

Diva Cup failed me. Every time I tried it. And I always got it in wrong. Which is painful. I always felt it. Tampons I never, ever feel. Maybe because I shove it far enough up there or just a normal amount because I’m normal? … and I never feel it. This thing I feel when I’m sitting on the couch, I feel when I’m working out or walking around even. Not 100% feel it but most of the time I did. Maybe I was hypersensitive to knowing it was there. But with a tampon, I don’t forget that I have my period. Like I know in about 2.5 hours I’m going to have to change that thing. Just inherent knowledge… and I never felt it.  So Diva Cup, I’m just NOT A FAN.

I don’t want to ever have that feeling where I’m like OMG I’m sitting in the middle of a meeting or somewhere that I’m not close to a bathroom or worse, where I won’t be able to access a bathroom for an extended period of time and feel a leak. Like any girl that has ever felt that…. which is EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU!! KNOWS! That it is THE WORST FEELING EVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! If you think it’s not, you’re a fucking liar and I don’t think you have actually ever menstruated.

Further, I have no reason to ever try to use this product ever again. I do not recommend it if you have no particular reason (environmentally friendly chick, allergic to tampons chick, TSS aware chick). Those girls, I think maybe you’d like to try it out and this could potentially be a better solution for you… that is, if you’re willing to deal with all the downsides of it. But maybe those aren’t that bad of downsides since you’re usually downsides are WAY worse than these anyway… so I guess, Good luck!

One way I think this product may be super helpful is in this scenario: Say you know you’re going to get your period tomorrow. Like you’re a very regular period betch and you know exactly which day you’re going to get it. Unlike myself, when I go to the bathroom some random day and I’m like, “Oh nice! Got my period, sickkkk!!” Ruined another Cosabella thong, but hey at least I got it… better start heavily medicating with Advil to subside the pain. Also, that must definitely have been why I have been such a bitch the past 2 days. Now it all makes sense. Random tangent – sorry. So yeah, if you do know yourself very well, it could be great for you to insert the morning that you know you’re going to get your period to avoid the potential underwear stain if you’re super against a pantyliner or pad or maybe you ran out of them. IDK?

Disclaimer: If you do want to try this product for yourself, YOU MUST WEAR A PANTYLINER OR PAD. I repeat, you MUST. Otherwise, you will 100% leak / stain / ruin beautiful / expensive underwear and I’m not about that life for you, me or anybody!

Disclaimer: If and when you do want to try Diva Cup for yourself, think back to my blog post that you read about it and remember that I FUCKING TOLD YOU SO.

If you have any tips or great success stories that you want to share with me… please, please be my guest. I’d love to hear about your fantastic experiences. Maybe I’m doing something totally wrong and you can change my life and I can try doing Diva Cup your way and I’ll love it and live happily ever after.

Until then, I’m team tampon. Signing off as I live out the rest of my menstrual cycle. Until next month, betches…

Bullying is Real

I don’t really think about being bullied on a regular basis – or ever, really. Until recently, when I’ve literally been assaulted several times by several men on the subway or in other public places.

Before you start assuming anything insane, let it be known that I’m completely OK, I’m totally safe and I am not suffering any mental or emotional damage, aside from the regular. 😉

But really, I’ve been violated on the subway by ultimate creepers twice this month – both on the same action – weird butt grabbers. Let it also be known that I am NOT one of those happy-go-lucky subway riders… I don’t smile at people – not children, not grandparents, and especially not disgustingly gross men, OK? AKA, there’s no “flirting” coming from my end. Further, I am so not a fan of this type of harassment that I make it so absolutely known that the person is wrong and try to vocally shame them and make them look like pieces of shit in front of as many people as I possibly can. (Takes long, deep breath…) I feel as if it’s a duty of mine to shame people who deserve to be shamed. The following simple, yet loud statement will suffice: “Don’t you ever F*ing touch me again you dirty, disgusting PERVERT. I’ll cut your fingers right off your hand!” Maybe aggressive, but maybe necessary. Then he has to sit there while myself and others on the crowded subway give him dirty looks until he gets off the subway.

Two weeks ago I was assaulted (I think that is the proper word to use) by a complete stranger while I was walking through a rather empty Chipotle Mexican Restaurant. I was violently swung at and hit in the arm by a man that was much larger than me, for no apparent reason at all. He later screamed in my face, after I questioned this barbaric human that, “You was textin'” OH! ok, psycho. I forgot that texting warrants abuse to strangers. Understood. NOT. I maybe should have called the police, but like – what? To sit around and waste an hour of my life to report the crime after the guy had already ran away because he’s clearly a child, or deranged or something just so I can have a report written up? I mean, maybe. Maybe it would have stopped him from hitting another random humans due to his unhappiness or psychotic behavior. Who knows.

Point is that specifically women, but people in general are abused, assaulted, sexually or not in public places in NYC and all over, all the time. It’s one of those things where you may think, “Oh, that won’t happen to me…,” but it just may. It happened to me! Don’t stand for it. Speak up, tell somebody. I told a bunch of people and at the least, it strikes awareness. My awesome co-workers got me flowers, a teddy & chocolate to cheer me up after the Chipotle lunchtime incident. At the ultimate, very least a cheer-up is in order!

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Even better, your boyfriend may buy you pepper spray as a Christmas gift to ensure protection while in sketchy situations. Obviously an ass grab on the subway is maybe not reason enough to engage in pepper spraying, but your chops are! AKA – cause a scene.

Update, 1/19/2016: FYI, after reading this article from Gothamist, I learned that NYPD SVU is now investigating all subway-related sexual abuse and you can file any complaints via this link! 

Lolë White Tour

On Wednesday night, we headed to the #LolëWhiteTour, put on by Lolë Women. It was held on The Great Lawn of Central Park in Manhattan and it was a breathtaking, beautiful, inspiring and enlightening experience. Over 10,000 yogis participated and the message of peace was uplifting and so positive. Everyone dressed in white for the color of peace.

Lolë holds events all over the world and this year New York City was one of the chosen places. The white tour is a free event (ticketed lottery style) so really anybody can attend. Upon arrival, 10,000 yoga mats were perfectly lined up in rows surrounding a large stage with mini stages all around the sides. Musical performer Ingrid Michaelson was a special guest. ❤

Check out some of my/my friends photos below!

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A helicopter above captured some amazing shots of The Great Lawn with all of the yogis – looks awesome, see below.

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Cannot wait to participate in upcoming Lolë events!

Active Summer

For some reason, everybody has a little more time for fun in the summer. Obviously the days are longer… but usually the fun lasts longer too! Below are some fun things I’ve done this summer outside!

SUP in Sag Harbor Cove, New York

SUP (stand-up paddle boarding) for 3 but more like… 2 paddle boards tied together with drawstring from a wet bag because one was missing a fin & didn’t move well… so whoever got the back board chilled while the 2 on the front board had to work. By work I mean take selfies.

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Kayaking in the Peconic River – Riverhead, New York

Little afternoon kayak through the Peconic River. You can definitely pack a lunch & some bev’s! You have to buddy system though because there really isn’t room for a cooler. 🙂 Gives your abs, back and shoulders a nice little workout!

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Shorefront Park, Patchogue, New York

Great South Bay Music Festival was held at Shorefront Park in Patchogue, NY on July 16-19, 2015. It’s a 4 day music festival that’s beginning to draw bigger and better names every year! This year I attended on Thursday night and saw Colbie Caillat, Christina Perri (not to be confused with Katy), and Rachel Platten of “Fight Song.” 311 was also a popular name to play this festival. Great way to spend the evening outside by the water.

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Sagg Main Beach, Sagaponack, New York 

Let’s be honest, activity is nice – but relaxing on the beach is much nicer!  Add wine and you’re done. Workout is biceps (lifting your wine glass to your face & repeat).

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Summer is halfway over – sorry to say – Sooooooo get outside and enjoy the rest of it! Xx