Nancy Drew and the Missing Necklace

Any devoted reader of this here blog knows I love a good tale of mystery and suspense. I always have. I can recall being 8 or so on a family trip to Florida. My parents took us to a spring training baseball game and I spent the entire 9 (or is it 900?) innings laying on the bleachers, my face deep in the pages of a Nancy Drew novel. Next came Encyclopedia Brown, The Westing Game and soon I was ransacking the public library for any Mary Higgins Clark book I could get my freakishly long, bony mitts upon. To this day I can't scroll past a "13 Novels to Read if You Loved Gone Girl!" listicle without clicking through and buying at least one of the titles suggested, if not the full baker's dozen.

So it fills me with much glee to find myself in the middle of my very own crime caper! 

It all began this summer when I found a skeleton bured beneath the floorboards.  

Just kidding. That would be legitimately terrifying. And also probably more exciting than my actual mystery but you can't pick your hauntings, they pick YOU. 

It actually all began this summer when I decided to jazz up my wardrobe a bit vis a vis some cute artisan jewelery from the online retailer Etsy.com, specifically from a little shop out of Canada (eh!) called Vintage Acorn. My favorite in the bunch was a necklace with a wooden chevron on a long chain, a versatile piece that compliments everything, be it a professional dress at the office or jorts and a tank top at a music festival, as you can see pictured here in exhibit A: 

exhibit A

Photo shared as evidence that a) I owend and wore the necklace in question and b) after years of doubt, it turns off I can totally pull off a summer hat! 

I had this necklace on heavy rotation, sporting it a few days a week until one morning I went to toss it on and found the hook where it usually hangs was bare. I searched all of the usual spots - every single handbag, my gym bag, the pockets of all of my jeans. Nothing. I overturned the couch cushions, crawled under the kitchen table, pulled the dresser from the wall, turned my hamper upsidedown and vigourously shook it and nada! Well, I found dozens of pens, hundreds of bobby pins and enough loose change to put a down payment on a single family home in the suburbs but not the one thing I was looking for: my necklace. 

I was confounded! Where could it be? Our apartment is not that large, there was nowhere else to look. I swore the last place I'd worn it was to a Mets game (where once again, I watched zero seconds of the actual game, oh, how I've grown since childhood), and worried it must have broken on the commute home, lost forever, fated to become construction material for a new rat motel deep in the depths of the NYC subway system. 

A few days later I was meandering down my street when something caught my eye in a little clothes boutique across the way. Curious, I crossed over. And there I saw it, draped around the neck of a headless mannequin in the window: MY FLIMFLAMMIN' NECKLACE!!!

exhibit b

I couldn't believe my own eyes! It looked 100% exactly like my necklace, right down to the gold chain which I sometimes worried was too shiny, but HOW did it end up in that store? Did they break into our house and only walk away with one $15 artisan small batch Etsy necklace? SEEMS DUBIOUS. And yet...

Suddenly memories rushed back to me, like I was that guy in Memento getting over his amensia or whatever. IDK I've never actually seen that movie. I had completely forgotten that after the baseball game, in a low self-esteem frenzy, I had frantically swept through a few stores, on a hunt to find a new dress for a wedding the following weekend. I was going to be seeing a bunch of folks I hadn't seen in years, and thus decided I needed to fully reinvent myself sartiorially and otherwise by spending a lot of money on a new dress I didn't need. (Spoiler alert it did not work and I just wore a dress I already owned and was my usual wine-soaked, weird self, but also now with a $140 Anthropologie dress that I don't even like burning a hole in my bank account. Someone plz remind me to return that before the month is up!)

And then it all made sense. I must have taken off the necklace while in the dressing room and forgotten to put it back on when leaving. It could even have gotten tangled with one of the dresses I'd tried and been mistaken for merchandise. I'm not accusing this store of stealing, per se, but I'd swear on a dogeared copy of Moonlight Becomes Her that was my necklace.  

I sprinted home armed with cold, hard, grainy iPhone photo evidence that the greatest heist of all time was happening right under my very nose. And I was going to crack the case.

The next day I dressed myself in my cofidence outfit - jorts (natch) and a grey t-shirt (double natch) with the word "unapolagetic" emblazoned across the front in black script. The tee is made my a designer and blogger I admire, Jolie Ankrom, a mantra and a reminder to stop apologizing, to be more fearless. 

I took a deep breath and marched into the store and...immediately apolozied. 

"I'm SO sorry, I know this is going to sound crazy, but I can't find my necklace anywhere and I think it's here, in this store? Like, for sale? Over there? SORRY FOR BOTHERING YOU."

I yammered, I stammered. I finally got to my point. She politely (perhaps too politely, covering up her obvious criminal guilt???) opened the cash register to reveal a drawer full of lost jewelery. Was any of it mine?

NO but also all of it was ugly so of course you would hide it an not try to re-sell it. You think you're a criminal master mind? 

I'M ON TO YOU.

Finally I got her to take me over to the manequin and show me the necklace. It did not have a price tag (!) or anything identifying the designer (!!) but she assured me it was store stock - from a shipment that had arrived "Tuesday or Wednesday, I think?"

TUESDAY OR WEDNESAY! That is some pretttty conveninet timing, considering I'd been in on Sunday. 

Nothing was adding up but, what was I to do? I realized I had one card left to play, to demand to see their invoices, proving they'd actually purchased the necklace. Nancy Drew so would've done it, and probably uncovered some document forging in the process. But I folded.  Maybe if it was my wedding ring or some priceless family heirloom I would have pushed for it, but I decided that a $15 Etsy necklace, cute as it may be, was perhaps not worth launching a full-on slander attack and criminal investigation of a lovely local botique.

I apologized, again, for taking up her time and slunk out of the store, defeated. It was then that I realized my "confidence shirt," the one with the bold UNAPOLOGETIC slogan had been inside outthe whole time. GOOD GRIEF. I mean, what would you do if a deranged woman marched into your store with her clothes on the wrong way and started stuttering about stolen jewelry? I'm lucky she didn't call the cops on ME! 

When I got home, I did a little more searching and convinced myself that my life as a crimefighter was over, I'd just lost my necklace myself, case closed. 

BUT! The next day I couldn't help crossing by on that side of the street, just out of curiosity and when I came to the window, the necklace was gone! They still had the same outfit on display but they'd changed out the necklace. Every single other manequin was dressed exactly the same, accessories and all, the one and only thing amiss was a new necklace, in place of the one I suspected to be mine.

COINCIDENCE? Ok, probably yes. 

ORRRRR, I was right the whole time! They are running a largescale crime ring, re-selling the jewels left behind by flaky neighborhood ladies making frenzied shopping sprees after consuming a few too many gigantic beers at Mets Stadium. It's genius! Right under our noses like that, who would suspect a thing?? 

They were getting away with it but I got too close. They saw me sniffing around and knew the product was hot and they needed to get rid of the evidence, and fast. 

But I'll get the last laugh. If I've learned anything from a lifetime of consuming mysteries it is that no crime can stay buried forever. I can wait. I live right across the street and have no hobbies and plenty of time on my hands and soon enough they'll slip up and oh, the case will be finally closed. 

In the meantime, I'll be keeping my detective skillz polished by hiring out my investigative services. Any takers? If interested, email me anytime, no case is too big, too small,  or too clearly imaginary for me! 

Sincerely Yours,

Liz HottSauce, P.I. 

 

 

 

Brooklyn Summer '16

Well hot damn, it's been about the far side of forever since I last showed my face around these parts and in the interim, summer arrived in Brooklyn in a big way. With barely a warning it's 80 and humid and I think I might just love it. I'm typing this on my veranda, aka our fire escape, surrounded by Brian's plants. This is the summer I'm determined to make the fire escape patio happen. Watch me.

brooklyn summer fire escape

Brian's extra cute during gardening season, every morning he pokes his head out here to check on his lil' guys, reporting on their progress, worrying over buds that just won't bloom. I like to tease that I know he'll be a good dad some day, just by how tender he is to his basil plants.

How's that baby fever going? Whyever would you ask??

Quite honestly, it's a relief that summer came upon us so quickly. I've been in a busy spell with work and life and have let my laundry situation get the best of me. So praise the l-a-w-d it's warm enough for dresses, I am literally out of clean pants. I found myself wearing jeans mid-week a few days ago, which is a move I try not to pull except when absolutely necessary. I did feel a bit sloppish about it but I must say I learned a fun and interesting sartorial lesson which is to tuck in your top.

tuck it in hottsauce blog photo funny awkward

A) It really snazzes up the whole look. 

B) It's a handy storage unit for when you drop blueberries down your decolletage. Untucked, they fall right on through to the floor but tucked? Reach down, pluck 'em out and they're still good to eat. Wearable tupperware!

(Important Notice: this outfit was significantly cuter in person. This lighting is unflattering and there was a whole wedge sandal situation happening out of frame and just...trust me, I was slaying.) 

I have BIG PLANS for this summer, aside from just making this fire escape happen. I'm going to finish the Neapolitan novels (holy shit, so good), go back to Coney Island, drink on as many patios as possible, dust off my bike and take her for a few spins, possibly purchase and wear a jumpsuit (????), perfect home-made cold brew, attend a weekend-long music festival, stay calm and cool and collected whilst attending a weekend-long music festival, eat a lot of tomato sandwiches, sleep with the windows wide open, try not to panic about the Zika Virus, lay in the park, get uninentional and weird sunburns, figure out once and for all what the hype is over rose, plan a trip to California, ask my boss for days off to travel to California, travel to California, write postcards, forget to mail them, write essays, muster the courage to pitch them, eat fresh basil, fresh mint, fresh everything, shuck corn, bake corn, freeze corn for the dead of winter when I'm missing these lazy, hazy days and need a bright POP! of color to bring me back to life. 

I'm going to soak it all in to the last sunlit drop. 

hottsauce fire escape summer blog humor funny wine

And right now I'm going to duck in the kitchen window, pour myself another glass of wine and snuggle up on that cute husband of mine because if there's one thing that blossoms through all seasons, it is our love.

BAHAHA gross, JUST KIDDING the one thing that blossoms through all seasons is mint (srsly, it like, never dies!) and also me being really embarrassingly corny on the internet.

Happy summer, guys! We made it! 

Remembering This: Winter Storm Jonas (Brothers)

Over the summer I shared that I've been making a point to slow down and savor the now, to actively capture special moments that I want to hang onto. Little everyday things I hope will bring a smile to my face when they pop back into my head ten, twenty, fifty years into the future. 

This past weekend was one for the record books - both in terms of memories and in terms of nature, with Winter Storm Jonas (Brothers) dropping a whopping 26.8 inches of snow on New York City (just .01 short of the all-time high, aww, so close!). I wanted to jot down a few moments in an attempt to hang onto the goodness, for reasons of both sentimentality and pure psychological self-preservation. I know that by week's end, the snow will be pushed into dirty piles on the curbs and I'll be grouchily tramping to the office, grousing about the cold and it'll do me well to have a few fond snowy memories tucked away to get me through the rest of this godawful season.

I mean, this beautiful season! Oh it's happening already.

I don't think anyone really believed this storm would amount to anything, at least among my social circle. We've been burned in the past - notably last year when the city went on full lock-down only to get a light dusting - and didn't want to get our hopes up. Such jaded, cynical New Yorkers are we! So what a complete delight to wake up Saturday morning to a, and I'm really sorry, I know this phrase is absurd but I'm unashamedly going for it, winter wonderland. 

IMG_7092.JPG

The best thing about a snow day is how it takes a totally regular day and makes it into a holiday. Productivity be damned. To do lists, shredded. It's snowing! We'll have bloody marys at 10 am and read in our pajamas all morning and make a huge breakfast feast of cheesy eggs, bacon and french fries. 

breaking wild snowday hottsauce

Snow calories don't count.

After a lazy morning of treats and snoozin', snoozin' and treats, Brian and I bundled to the gills and set out into the storm on a probably ill-advised quest to meet our friends for beers.

hottsauce snowday jonas winter blog fun

The walk was surreal. The governor had issued a ban on non-essential vehicles so the roads were entirely clear of cars. We walked right down the middle of Seventh Avenue, one of the main streets in the neighborhood. Around us a few other brave (stupid?) souls trekked along, and kids had turned the side streets into blocks-long sledding trails. It was so windy, we couldn't see 100 feet ahead of us, though we couldn't see anything really, the pelting snowflakes forced us to squint our eyes tiny or sometimes walk backwards and hope for the best. Utterly ridiculous to be out and about but it was worth the pain as we burst into the warm bar and shed our wet layers, pulling on dry socks and sweaters that Brian had packed for us and hauled down in his backpack.

Pro tip: marry an Eagle Scout.

sharlenes hottsauce brooklyn blog

The bar was packed! One of the only places open in the neighborhood, it became a home away from home for locals with cabing fever - the old time regulars who I'm pretty sure might actually live there, parents with little babies strapped to their chests, loud groups of 30-somethings, everyone sporting ridiculous layers on layers of all the warmest clothes they own, fashion schmashion. We cuddled up in a back booth and guzzled IPAs and one friend found a nearby restaurant that was also open and brought in wings and fries and onion rings and another procured a set of Cards Against Humanity and we spent our afternoon getting drunk with Midgets Shitting into Buckets and Vigilante Justice and Former President George W. Bush and Oprah Sobbing Alone into a Lean Cuisine. Best overall round: Stuff White People Like (Morgan Freeman's Voice, Sassy Black Ladies, Pretending to Care About Third World Countries, The Oscars, Selfies.) 

After a few hours of building liquid corage, we packed up and trekked back home. The mile or so walk from the bar to our apartment was magical, and I mean that in the most earnest and sincere way. It was still snowing, but the wind had died down, so it gently fell in fat flakes around us. The city was absolutely silent and glowing in the streetlights.

hottsauce snowy day

We ran in the middle of the road and jumped into waist-high piles on the sidewalks and occaisionally passed other walkers but for many blocks we were the only two souls around. 

out in the snow at night

Back home we draped our wet hats and gloves on the radiator to dry, ate macaroni and cheese in our PJs. 

The snow stopped at some point while we were sleeping and when we woke this morning, there wasn't a cloud in the sky, the sun bouncing off of the drifts. We made eggs and french fries for breakfast (again!), pulled back on our layers, grabbed our sled and headed for the park.

hottsauce sledding snow brooklyn blog

A memory in a memory: a few years ago, when we were first living together on the other side of the park, there was another big weekend blizzard and while walking in the park after the snowfall stopped, Brian and I became jealous of the local youth whizzing by us on their sleds and decided we hadto join them. We searched the premesis for abandoned sleds (not technically stealing if some kid just left it there!) (Right?) but came up empty so we sprinted to the local hardware store and snagged the very last sled they had, a lime green plastic saucer, and sprinted back and spent the rest of the afternoon shredding the hills. It was the funnest. 

Another pro tip: marry someone who brings out your child-like enthusiasm for adventure. 

We hung onto that stupid sled and moved it with us from that apartment, which had not one but TWO spare bedrooms for us to stash our junk, to our current home which has one tiny closet to house our random nonsense, including the sled, and also a baseball bat, skateboard, old box fan, Christmas tree stand, two tool boxes, some curtains I'm never ever going to hang, four frisbees, etc. 

But I digress. 

The park was bumpin', with essentially every Brooklyn resident shaking out the wiggles after a day stuck inside. Brian steered us to a hill he'd discoved while running, a long steep slope winding through a wooded area off the main road, just wide enough for one person to sled at a time.

(LLimbs flailing, always.) 

(LLimbs flailing, always.) 

Alas, we weren't the only fans of this hill. A line had backed up at the top of the hill seven people deep, everyone waiting their turn on the slope, some more patiently than others.

"Why do we have to wait in line?? This isn't SCHOOL!" a kid in front of me griped.

Preach, sisterfriend.

We moved onto bigger and better, a favorite hill from our last sled outing, not as long but steeper and wider, allowing many sledders to go down at once. It was a wild mess. Everyone smashing into one another, sleds breaking, tweens stunting out by standing on their sleds or piling five bodies atop one another or holding hands and whipping one another down the hill. Brian and I took turns doing run after run and our friend Jeff, out for a jog, joined us for a few. Brian kept finding himself stuck in a divot at the bottom of the hill. Me, I kept crashing into small children. Every single run, without fail, I'd play it cautious at the top, wait until it seemed like I wouldn't crash into anyone and push off only to see out of the corner of my eye, a little kid scooting just ahead of me and I'd try to stop in time and fail and smash into the child, knocking them flat. And it was always a cute little one!! Never one of the nightmare twelve-year-olds doing backflips off his sno-tube, oh no. Always a tiny four-year-old who probably spent an hour gathering the courage to go on the big kids hill only to be crushed to death by a 31-year-old woman. 

Whoops?

A mom did tell me she thought it was "so fun" that Brian and I were "enjoying ourselves even though we don't have children." She SEEMED sincere but upon further reflection that feels a little bit back-handed.

(can you spot BriGuy?!)

(can you spot BriGuy?!)

Blessedly she missed the moment where Jeff literally took out a child at the knees. To be fair, it was totally her fault! She broke the cardial sledding rule, which is that one does not walk horizontally across the middle of the hill whilst others are sledding. However, it's hard to keep rules in mind when a 6-foot-plus man in his 30's crashes into a child's legs and sends her flipping into the snow.

jeff sledding

My only regret of the weekend is that I don't have this moment on tape.

After we'd had our fill of sledding we parted ways with Jeff and hiked around the park for a while, making friendly small talk with cross country skiiers and families out for a stroll and at one point we passed a friend's husband and young son, who I have met maybe once but recognize from instagram and said to Brian "I know that little boy!" and that wasn't creepy even a little tiny bit. We tramped back home and had soup and tea and laid on the couch for hours. I vaguely considered grocery shopping or yoga or laundry but then remembered, it was still a snow day. Productivity continue to be damned! 

Now Brian's off at a buddy's house watching football and I'm tucked up under a blanket, eating a big bowl of cacio e pepe (snow day calories, remember?!), drinking red wine and listening to the Modern Love podcast. The streets are mostly plowed, but traffic is still sparse, the usual noise of busses and taxis and delivery trucks replaced by the occaisional slushy whoosh of a car driving slowly by. 

Tomorrow reality will set back in and the snow will start to melt and winter will return again to being the worst so for now I'm going to sit here and sip my wine and soak up the silence and try my very best to remember this. 

hottsinwinterstormjonas





Brooklyn Summer

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning.” ~Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

summer hott sauce

A friend (ok, random mom blogger) shared this quote on instagram last week (which was, of course, the first week of August, in case you’re not picking up on that) and it’s been lingering in my brain ever since. Summer tends to bring out my worst tendencies towards panicking. I don’t know who to blame (Hallmark? Obama? Probably Obama.) but sometimes it feels like there’s a great marketing scheme in place run by some kind of Big Fun Corporation to remind you that summer is fleeting and, goddamn it, you will enjoy every second. Sure this was doable when you were like, seven, what else did you have to do, but adulthood is a year round situation, gang. That shit don’t let out on June 17th. It can be easy (for me, anyway!) (but we’ve already established that I’m nuts soooo) to get caught up in that mindset to worry that I’m not making the most of every second, to convince myself that everyone else is doing summer better than I am.  Every beautifully instagrammed coastal sunset becomes a reminder that someone is somewhere way prettier than I am and, oh, yeah, we’re another day closer to fall which is closer to winter which which is the WORST!

Anyone else ever feel like this?

You may recall from my Project 30 Q&A, which I’m sure you’ve all committed to memory by this point, I’m just so brilliant and wise, that I am making a concerted effort to s-l-o-w down and take every experience for what it is, to live in the moment instead of worrying about what’s to come or what’s already passed. Something about this quote spoke right to me, the image of summer hanging in mid-air became a reminder to pause and take in the scenery.

This summer has, in a lot of ways, been one of my hardest - work has been uncharacteristically stressful for the season and some behind the scenes family stuff (I do have some filter, you know! I am full of secrets!!) have been bringing a lot of pain and worry and heartache - but now that I’m pausing here and looking around, I’m realizing it’s also maybe been one of the best.

I may not be sipping rose on a dock in Nantucket but for what feels like the first time, and without really trying or stressing over it, I AM “making the most” of the season and all without leaving home. City folks like to say that we don’t need personal outdoor space, the city is our backyard!  And that’s mostly just bullshit to help us justify our life choices but I gotta say, I’m really digging my “backyard” these days.

A private patio might be nice but so are bloody marys and buffalo chicken sandwiches at a neighborhood haunt

bloody mary drinks hottsauce blogger i don't know how to do this

...and certainly a personal backyard couldn’t deliver views like this:

alta

(or the accompanying margaritas that come with it.)

You can take the train to boardwalk amusement parks….

(more on that here!)

...and beaches…

Rockaway baby

….and to minor league baseball games which are fun even if they get rained out. And hey, you get free hats!

free hats!!!

And just a few feet away from our front door is Prospect Park, where on Thursdays you can do outdoor yoga…

prospect park yoga blog brooklyn hottsauce

...and every other Wednesday there is a community 5K and if you’re really fast, you may even win a medal, which is great, but then your weird wife will make you awkwardly pose for a photo because she’s just so proud of you, but also so, so embarrassing…

so proud of this hottie!!!!!

… and on any other night of the week there might be an outdoor rock concert or a free screening of a hit film or even a symphony!

symphony space

Or you can just grab a bottle of wine and some snacks and grab a patch of grass amid all of the other city folk enjoying their backyard and catch the tail end of the pee-wee baseball matches as the sun goes down over the city.

beisbol

Or you can just stay home and sneak out the window and make your own little balcony there on the fire escape cum herb garden because city folk are a resourceful bunch and know how to make the most of every square inch of space.

fire escape stuff

(Also I’ve always really wanted to use “cum” in a sentence like that because LOLOLOLOL cum! Did you really think I could be sentimental and serious for this long and not even sneak in one childish sex joke?!)

I said this, too, in my Q&A (a really interesting literary technique is just to quote yourself a whole bunch) but every now and then I have these fleeting random moments where I’m sort of overwhelmed with gratitude for wherever I might be and I just think “remember this, remember this! This is your real life.”

I had one of those moments on Sunday night - I’d spent the day at Rockaway Beach, in Queens, with a few friends and Brian and we took the train home, tired and sunburnt and sandy and stopped on the way home to pick up clams and mussels for a seafood feast - to hang onto that beachy feeling. Before dinner we poured glasses of wine and climbed out onto our fire escape which Brian has cultivated into the most charming herb garden and it was breezy and dusk was falling and I thought to myself “This. This. This. Remember this!”

Bri guy on balcony, with wine

This summer has been hard, yes, but it’s also been pretty beautiful, too. I want to remember that. So here I am, pausing, remembering it.

Beers, Bras, Bucket Lists: A Coney Island Travelogue

Summer is upon us and with that comes the Summer Bucket List. The Summer Bucket List is like a real Bucket List except that instead of being a list of things to do before you die, inspired by a Morgan Freeman movie, it is a list of things to do before Autumn comes, to make you feel really stressed and anxious about each passing day and convince yourself that sweating your teats off waiting on a nine hour line for Shakespeare in the Park tickets is a rational idea because, SUMMER!

On my SBL: oyster happy hour, outdoor movie in the park, acquire a tan. On my bff Kathleen's list: an evening in the seaside haven of Coney Island, Brooklyn.

Coney Island is one of the strangest microcosms on earth, at once quintissentially summer and quintissentially New York. You've got a beach, a boardwalk, an amusement park, the subway, housing projects, a convergence of overpriced foodtrucks known as Smorgasburg ("The single greatest thing I've ever seen gastronimically in New York City" - Mario Batali) , a franchise of the Wahlburger chain of restaurants owned by the Hollywood Walburgs, ladies wearing fur coats in mid-July, the works. It's crowded, diverse, incongruous and so. much. fun. 

I will admit - ok I'll admit!! - that when Kathleen floated out this idea I was not fully convinced as to the wonders of Coney Island but I went along with it because I like her and I like friends and I heard they sold funnel cakes. I was in for a great surprise, then, because Coney Island is the funnest! 

I hearwith recommend that ALL New Yorkers add it immediately to their summer bucket lists and all non New Yorkers add it as a sub-category under the Visit NYC bullet on their list. And yes OBVI I assume all non New Yorkers have "Visit NYC" like, top spot on their bucket lists. It's the greatest fuckin' place on earth. And no we're so not snobs about it..who said that?! 

Anyway, to entice and delight you, I've put together a little list of tips to help you make the most of your trip to America's Boardwalk Paradise. 

That's not what anyone calls it but now I do so...let's go! 

DO: Bring your camera. This joint is an instagrammer's paradise.

Coney Island Hott Sauce Beach Fun Boardwalk
coney island is cute!
buddies at Coney Island yay!

DON'T: stare. No matter how weird someone looks because trust me, there's someone even freakydeakier like 3 feet behind them. Women in pleather bikinis cracking whips? Check. Men carrying live 80 foot (approx) boa constrictors? Cha-heckkkkk. DOZENS of people in minion costumes, one of whom appears to be touching himself inappropriately? Check, checkty dozens of checks. Coney Island is like the county fair meets Times Square meets the Jersey Shore boardwalk with a dash of the G train at 3 AM. Delightfully repulsive. Charmingly horrific. 

DO: However, soak up all the good diversity of this mishmash of humanity. Unlike the county fairs where I grew up, where I actually literally was once handed a pamphlet on being kind to Jewish people, Coney Island (like the city that calls it home) is full of people of every caste, color and creed. The night we were there was the start of Eid and the place was teeming with Muslim families all celebrating the end of Ramadan, women draped in gorgeous colorful, festive hijab. I kept thinking how lucky I am to be surrounded by this variety of cultures on a daily basis. 

Well, JK mostly I kept thinking how I hoped I wouldn't be trampled to death by hoardes of sugared up children and their exhausted parents but upon reflection, I'm lucky and happy I get to soak this all in. 

DON'T: Wear clothest that can't withstand breeze and movement.

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I scooped up this shirt, above, on one of my thrice weekly visits to my mothership, Old Gravy. This particular trip I was on a hunt for "fun tops" after realizing I basically only own grey and white v-neck t-shirts and like, professional work blouses. #thisis30. In case you can't tell, it's basically a regular crew neck in the front and then a glorified hospital gown in the back. Hot? When standing still it's totes adorbs and shows just the most amount of skin I feel OK flaunting. However, when you move or when anything more than the gentlest of breezes blows, it flaps wiiiide open. 

I decided Coney Island was the perfect occaision for this shirt's inaugural outing. Big mistake. Huge! It was reasonably breezy, windy, even, on the boardwalk and my shirt was flying open like curtains in a rainstorm, exposing my sensible nude bra to the world. I managed to solve that situation by tucking the tail ends of the open back into the butt pockets of my jeggings. 

Cute look. HOWEVER this makeshift fix was no match for such vigorous activities as Whack-a-Mole, which left me fully exposed. And I didn't even win! 

Not to mention for scratching my legs while walking, which sadly did was not captured on phtograph, as this multi-tasking led to me falling down on the sidewalk, the flaps of my tshirt falling wide open.

Per a friend who witnessed, I was "like, nakey."

LUCKILY as previously mentioned, there were so many freakydeaks strolling the premisis, my sensible nude bra was the least scandalous sight but still, guys. BUT STILL. 

DO: Eat fried clam strips even though you can't really be certain they're you know, fresh or fit for human consumption. You're on the boardwalk...YOLO. 

DON'T: Be so uptight! While we were downing our clam strips, a woman with came up to our table and said "hello! Do you have a moment I could speak to you about these oils I am selling" and we said "no thank you!" and she, boldly replied "don't just shut me down! Let me finish!" and prodeeded to randomly single in on our friend and lecture him, MUCH to our delight, on how he should stop being such a prude, investin in some of her sensual oils, and get way freakier in the bedroom. 

He did not take her up on the offer so, good luck with your boring sex life, friend. You know who you are! 

DO: Be alert for strollers passing on your right, lest you find yourself running head on into a father and child, losing a toenail and spilling your beer ON A BABY in the process. 

I repeat: Spilling your beer. ON A BABY. 

Hypothetically, of course.

DO: Ride the Cyclone, even if it seems rickety and terrifying.

cyclone!!!

It IS rickety and terrifying but it's an American icon! 

roller coaster of love

Can you spot us?! Wheee! 

DON'T: Allow FOMO to convince you to ride ANY other rides, such as this nightmare contraption:

NO THANKS!!!

Um. HARD PASS. It is perfectly acceptible to stand to the side, hold the bags and video tape like a suburban stage mom. Someone has to capture these memories! Might as well be you.

DO: Be wary of Dark Haired Strangers.

ZOLTAR!!!

My girl Jamie gave one whole American dollar to Zoltar the fortune teller and her fortune was SO TRUE! It said she loves art and people go to her with their problems and...lots of other good things that I now forget because they didn't directly involve me so who cares. But ALSO it said that a dark haired stranger was out to do her harm. 

Dun dun dun.

WELL! Jamie has this new-ish boyfriend and he SEEMS great but guess what: dark hair! So I'm not saying he's a serial killer but I'm also not saying he's NOT a serial killer, you know? 

Jamie, GURL, you know I love you and just want you to be happy and I am sorry to have to be the one to tell you this but, you're dating a serial killer.

DON'T: Listen to Zoltar. He's probably full of shit. 

DO: Stop at the original Nathans (now in its 99th year!) for some dawgs, fries and gigantic beers. And if anyone knows how many hotdogs Nathans sells per day...could ya let us know? We spent the whole night trying to find stats on the interwebs but couldn't find them anywhere!

DON'T: Miss the fireworks! Every Friday at 9:30 PM. I don't have any pictures but...you've seen fireworks, you get it. 

DO: Go with great friends. 

budz!

Friendships are the best ships! 

DON'T: Worry that's the last time I say something that cheesy everrrrrrr again. 

And now you are SET for your dream night in Coney Island. Enjoy!

YOHF-NDOSLSDGLLTTF!!!!! 

(You Only Have Forty-Nine Days Of Summer Left So Dear God Live Life To The Fullest!!!)

XOXO Liz Hott (Diggity Dawg!)