Dressing up taco night

I talk about tacos a lot on this blog. I just love them so much they really hold a special place in my heart. The weird thing is that when I was a kid I really didn't like tacos (Say what, Marissa!?! You cray!) I suppose I'm just making up for lost time now, stuffing my face with the delicious meat filled discs whenever I get the chance. When it's a hot day, and you don't really feel like cooking, you can cut up a bunch of fresh veggies and toppings and make yourself a fancy taco bar. The "trick" I'm going to fill you in on, is a little secret I learned from my dear friend, Ana. First, you need to head to Trader Joe's and pick up some of their traditional carnitas. One package is just barely enough for two people, but if you have a big eater in your family, you're going to want to pick up at least two packages. This stuff is like gold, it's pre-cooked, pre-seasoned, so all you have to do is heat and serve. See below for more photos and garnish ideas. 


Friendcation in OCNJ

Happy 8th of July! I hope you had a fantastic Fourth of July weekend. Mine consisted of sun, sand, games, friends and a lot of laughter. We headed to Ocean City, New Jersey for a long weekend with friends. We played countless games of Salad Bowl, ate and drank wayyy too much, enjoyed some fireworks, and soaked up some sun rays. Special thanks to our friend Jimmy for letting us crash his parents' vacation home. It was so perfect for hanging out and cooking and spending a rainy day on the porch and late nights watching Drunk History. See more photos from the weekend below. 


A trip to the lake

Following my brother's high school graduation ceremony on Saturday, my family and I packed the cars and made the drive up to Sacandaga Lake where my parents rented a house for the week. The few days we got to spend there were perfect (minus the relentless mosquitoes.) On day one, we had some boat issues, so we spent the morning hanging out at the dock, soaking up the rays, playing endless games of fetch with Titan, and letting dad work his magic on the boat. Finally, the boat was up and running and we headed out on the high seas. Titan got to practice his fetching capabilities in deeper waters and everyone jumped in for a cool off.



A preview of the blog post to come... 


Happy moments of the week

Photo by SimplyChelsetta on Flickr

1. Finally getting all of my herbs planted! 

2. Having a fun night playing classic college drinking games, witnessing a soda stream explosion and hanging out by the fire pit with some of my favorite people in the whole world! 

3. Seeing the bottom of the hamper for the first time in months. It's so hard to keep up with laundry sometimes, but feels so good when all of your belongings are finally clean!

4. Sunday brunchin' and thriftin'. I picked up a Waterford crystal ring holder for like $15 bucks, normally $65 or more. Plus, I got to try on some bomb ass fur coats. 

5. Any movie starring Liam Neeson. Such as Non-Stop, in which Liam essentially plays exactly the same character he plays in the Taken series. But I'm not complaining. Taken 3 comes out next year, I wonder who gets taken this time? He's running out of family members...

6. Scoring free Dunkin' coffee thanks go a generous co-worker sharing her coupons. 

7. I'm BEYOND excited to head to New York today and see my lil' bro graduate high school and then party with my fam at a lake house in the Adirondacks. GO DACKS!

8. Getting my paws on these adorable vans, not only are the comfortable but they are basically the cutest shoes to have ever lived. 

9. Hanging out in the conference room with co-workers for a few hours while cheering on the US during the US vs. Germany World Cup game. 

10. Catching up with a former co-worker over sushi. Sushi dates are the best.  


Happy graduation to my favorite little brother!

Look at that face, no matter how many years pass by, I remember his face and voice perfectly at this age. Zach was basically the cutest child that ever lived, and I'm not just saying that because he's my kin...people not related by blood also agree. So, it has basically been scientifically proven. Zach and I are exactly 11 years and one week apart in age. Some people think this must be a mistake on my parent's part, but nooooo, it was actually planned that way (aren't my parents such weirdos?) Due to this age gap, not only did I play the role of protective older sister, but I also played the role of pseudo-mom and full-time babysitter (...wait a minute...my parents are geniuses!) Occasionally, I would be mistaken for his mother (WTF?!) but most of the time we were just really good pals. He would run errands with me and entertain my friends with his adorable songs. 

I can't really believe this sweet, sweet little boy, is now a grown man about to graduate high school and start college. I'm so proud of the person that he has become. He is smart, unbelievably kind (except to our sister, Emily), a volunteer firefighter, an impressive dancer, a master of one-liners (thank GOD his joke telling abilities improved over the years), and basically the best brother a girl could ever ask for. Thanks for being you. I'm sorry Emily and I tortured you from time to time, but it built character, and oh what a character you are! You're going to kill it in college. Be smart, stay safe, and know that we're always there for you if you need anything. 

And, if you happen to have trouble making friends, just sing "Baby Shark." That's how you won all my friends over during that weekend you stayed with me in college.


Ten happy moments of the week

Image credit: Found on Pinterest, original source unknown. If you know the original source of this image or own rights to it, please let me know and I’ll credit/remove as appropriate.

Gosh, I am the worst. Sorry for sucking at my weekly happy moments. Here are 11, just to make it up to you. 

1. Spending a few days last weekend with our parents and siblings in New York. We attended a wedding where we totally dominated the dance floor and we had the most perfect Father's Day brunch on Sunday. 

2. Seeing our most favorite wedding photographers, the dynamic husband and wife duo, Bailly Photography at said wedding. 

3. Feeling super energized this week. I was totally dragging last weekend, it was probably the lousy rainy weather, but this week has been SO much better.

4. Walking down the street the other day and hearing someone in their car blasting old Boyz II Men jams.

5. Finally hitting over 100,000 page views on this humble little blog here. The growth has been slow and steady and I'm so happy for that. Please please please let me know if there's anything you specifically want to see more or less of on Marissa says...!

6. Iced coffee after lunch on an insanely hot and sunny day. It's the bomb dot com.

7. Scoring a crazy cheap pair of black pants for work at TJ Maxx. I have the hardest time finding pants for work, especially ones that are black or navy. 

8. Having an impromptu weeknight dinner with one of my favorite pals, Ms. Ana Lee. She also shared a top-secret "recipe" for amazing carnitas tacos. If you're lucky, I might just share it with you too.

9. Tying up the loose ends on a project at work that I've been stalling on for a while now. Sometimes you just have to sit down and focus, and it ends up being even easier than you thought. 

10. The deliciously sweet scent of peaches and nectarines! I cannot go into the grocery store without stocking up on some of these perfectly ripe treats. 

11. Brainstorming a potential new business venture over cocktails, called, The Wedding Turn Up Crew. If you're worried about your wedding being a bit of a dud, hire the WTUC to make sure even your granny busts some moves on the dance floor. 


Beach day essentials

This little heat wave has me thinking about parking my tooshie in a beach chair and sticking my toes in the sand. Instead, I'm sitting at a desk in an overly air conditioned office. Major bummer. A girl can dream, can't she? I'm headed to Ocean City, New Jersey for the Fourth of July Weekend with a small group of friends, and since I'm a crazy planner, I'm already writing my lists of things to bring. When you're a beach bum like me, you have to be prepared or there's no way you're going to make it all day in the sun. So here's my list of beach essentials, for a full day on the beach. 

The key is an even mix of activities, entertainment and relaxation tools:

1. First up on the list, an over-sized beach towel, preferably in a nautical print. Whether you're lying directly on the sand, or sitting in your chair, you want a towel made of nice fabric, that's going to keep you comfortable and dry. 

2. Sunnies - beach sunglasses should be a) cheap and b) mirrored. This way if you happen to go in to the ocean with them on, you won't be too bummed when a rouge wave rips them from your face and you can eye up the man (or lady) candy without looking like a major creeper. 

3. Havaianas - I'm specifying the brand of flip flops because in this case, it matters. Sure, you can score 20 pairs of Old Navy flip flops for the price of one pair of Havaianas, but they're not going to be as comfortable and they're definitely not going to last as long. These are the best. Hands down. 

4. Sunscreen - I don't care how well you tan, grab a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and apply that goop in liberal doses every hour. Believe me, you'll still get tan, but you'll protect yourself from the harmful rays, the ones that lead to a trip to a dermatologist years down the road. 

5. A hat - Don't forget your scalp when applying sunscreen, but I know it's hard when you have a full head of hair. Sometimes when you feel like your face or head is getting a bit too much sun, the hat is a perfect solution. I am a fan of the fedora variety, which has an air of cool and casual, but if you can pull off the wide brim Gone-with-the-Wind-fabulous look, by all means... 

6. Kindle, book or magazine - People-watching at the beach is one of my favorite past times, but I also love getting lost in a good book or gossip magazine at the beach. What I love about my Kindle is that it's super light and easy to pack, has an anti-glare screen and allows me to have a handful of books loaded up, so I never run out of reading material. 

7. Games - When you need to stand up and stretch your legs a bit, Pro Kadima is the perfect game to play with a friend. BryGuy and I love to play a version where you stand at the edge of the water and count how many times you can hit the ball before it hits the ground. If you're feeling a little less active, but still want to interact with your beach mates, spread out a blanket and play another board game like Bananagrams, cards or Scrabble. 

8. Boogie board - If I go into the ocean, it's usually just for a quick cool off and then I'm out again. But if I have a boogie board, I could stay out there for hours, trying to catch a wave, or just bobbing along. 

9. A good beach chair - We just invested in some Tommy Bahama beach chairs, they are definitely a little more expensive than I'd typically spend on a beach chair, but they are so comfortable, easy to carry (they come with backpack straps) and have a cooler pouch on the back! 

10. Beverage koozies - You need a way to keep your beverages cold in the hot sun, so grab a clever beer koozie and stay refreshed! 

11. Cooler - Keep your beverages and food cold all day long in an insulated cooler. Don't forget to pack plenty of water and lots of snacks! 

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