Bright Lights and the Big City

Summer is officially here. This weekend was the first time that the temperatures broke the 100° mark. It was also the hottest it’s been in the city since 1991. The worst part of the warm weather is having to venture down in the unbearably hot subway stations and wait for the next train to arrive. I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with the weather though. I complain about it being too hot and then I complain about all of the snow and below zero temperatures. I’m learning to embrace the four seasons and make the best out of each one!

Courtney’s 23rd birthday was in June and of course a birthday calls for a full weekend of celebrations! I surprised Courtney with a party cruise on the Hudson River around Manhattan. It was a perfect night out on the water with breathtaking views of the city skyline. We also spent another night at our favorite bar in the city with all of our friends!

I was lucky enough to spend a couple of weeks back in Florida. It’s always so wonderful to be home, especially in the summertime! I spent my first day back with two of my best friends. The soon-to-be bride, Kate and I spent an afternoon at my favorite Mexican place, Casa Tina’s gushing over wedding plans. That evening, I had a lovely girl’s night with Lindsey in South Tampa. And of course I got to hang out with two of my best buddies, Rugby and Roxy.

Every time I visit, I beg my brother to make his famous tacos and homemade salsa for dinner. Since he’s practically a professional chef by now, I send him all the recipes I’m too lazy to make myself. He put corn on the cob on the grill and covered it in a spicy chipotle cheese sauce…it was to die for! Since we let Tyler and Mom slave over the stove, Mariah and I took care of the beverages- margaritas in a bag! What a delicious family meal.

On Sunday, we decided to do something educational on my visit. We acted like tourists in our own town and went down to St. Pete to the Dali Museum. I never knew too much about Salvador Dali and his artwork but after a few hours in the museum, I instantly became a fan. I loved the double meanings behind each painting and the stories each piece of work holds. The building was an incredible piece of architecture. There was a giant spiral staircase in the middle of museum hall and the outside of the building was made of bright blue glass. On the way back from the Dali, we stopped at Ceviche for tapas and sangria. I felt like we spent an exotic day in Spain!

One of my favorite things about Florida summers are the picturesque sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. There’s just something so peaceful about the colorful rays reflecting off the sparkling water. I went out to Bon Appetit at the Dunedin Marina for dinner one night. After enjoying my meal overlooking the ocean, Mom and I decided to beach hop for sunset. Each beach provided a different view of the sun and made for a perfect summer night.

Since the Fourth of July was on a Monday this year, it was a good excuse to celebrate on both Sunday and Monday. I think I wore every piece of red, white, and blue clothing I own and decided to turn the whole weekend into a patriotic celebration. On Sunday, I went to Innisbrook with some friends to catch the July 3rd fireworks. It wouldn’t be a Florida night without a thunderstorm looming over us. As soon as the fireworks ended, the lightning show began, which was closely follower by a downpour. I spent the Fourth of July watching the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest (which grosses me out after the first 5 minutes), swimming in the pool, and at my friend Kate’s patriotic BBQ! The night ended with more fireworks at Crystal Beach and sparklers.

Two weeks ago, Jacob came to visit NYC for the weekend. Even though he lives in London and always seems to be traveling, this was his first visit to the Big Apple. Courtney and I took him to Times Square at night, walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, and took the skyride to Roosevelt Island which made for the most beautiful views of Manhattan all lit up.

Last week my friend Laura from college moved to NYC. As one of our first city outings together, we decided to stand along the red carpet for the “Crazy Stupid Love” movie premiere at Ziegfeld Theater. We were lucky enough to see and meet some big Hollywood stars- Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Steve Carell, and Julianna Moore. In case you were wondering, Ryan Gosling is even more attractive in person, if that is even possible.

I feel so lucky to have two amazing places that I can call home. The beautiful state of Florida, full of gorgeous sunsets, family and friends, and the warm summer nights…and New York City- bustling streets, new friends, and the city of dreams.

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