California beaches. There is nothing like them.
I have yet to meet a Californian who doesn’t love the beach. The sand is warm, the water is blue, and everyone can just sit on their towels soaking up the sun and enjoying life.
If you’re a West (Best) Coaster on the East Coast your beach options are limited. You can head south and go to the North Carolina Coast–otherwise known as the Outer Banks–or you can head north. We head north.
Our destination? Dewey Beach, DE. If you’re an East Coaster you know Dewey. It is infamous. It will change your life (if not for the better, then definitely for the interesting.) Our group even calls itself The Dewey Family, after we all bonded during a trip on Memorial Day weekend in 2011. If you’ve watched Jersey Shore, you have an idea of what we do one weekend every summer. Drinking, dancing, singing, drinking, bbqing, tanning, drinking, pranks, bonding and oh, did I mention drinking? It’s kind of dirty, fairly trashy, and just a good time.
Here is how you too can have a perfect beach vacation, even if you’re on the East Coast.
Step 1. Have an extremely organized friend to lead the troops – a Dewey Overlord, if you will. This persons jobs will include finding the house, purchasing food and liquor, making car and room assignments and compiling an insane list of rules that will actually save all of your lives at one point. Do not question the Dewey Overlord.
Step 2. Rent a hella bomb house. Patios and/or roof decks are preferred. Mentally prepare yourself for the fact that someone is going to break something in your awesome house and you will not be getting all of your deposit money back.
Step 3. Load up the car with your favorite friends. Have snacks. And a super awesome playlist that you can sing your faces off to. Dancing in your seat is highly encouraged. At least one of your songs should reference California. Because we said so.
Step 4. Drive. Forever.
Step 5. Now here is where it differs from CA: don’t go to the beach. Hit the bars. In CA, there would be bonfires and beers and comfy seats to sit in. In Dewey, there are bars. LOTS OF THEM. Want fried chicken at 2 am? We got you. Need to dance to some dub-step? Not a problem. Want some live music and to be surrounded by critter pants (eek)? Follow us.
Step 6. Dance. Drink an Orange Crush. Dance. Drink an Orange Crush. Repeat as necessary.
Step 7. Share a bed with your 2 favorite gal pals. Photo shotos are strongly encouraged. (Fully clothed photo shoots – keep your mind out of the gutter.)
Step 8. Go to Cracker Barrel. Order something wtih gravy. Get an extra side of gravy as well. DON’T RUN OUT OF GRAVY.
Step 9. Day drink. Wander from bar to bar. Trick your friends into buying absurd outfits. Forget to put on sunscreen. Make friends with strangers. Find a bar game and dominate it for 3 hours, to the disgust of the rest of the bar. The options are endless.
Step 10. Wake up early. Load up the car. Drive home. Be torn between never EVER wanting to return and never EVER wanting to leave.
It’s easy enough, and it satisfies that craving to hit the beach. Sometimes people actually even go to the beach. Sometimes.
But it’ll never beat California beaches. We’ll always be California Girls.
Lest you are concerned by our many ravings about the wonders of California and rantings about DC weirdness, we want to reassure you that we really do adore DC. It’s an interesting and historic city with tons of cool things to see and do. And if we hadn’t both moved here, we may have never met, despite growing up 20 minutes away from each other. So we’d also like to take a little time each month to talk about something we LOVE about DC that cannot be found in California. First up, crab feeds.
I participated in my first crab feed shortly after I moved to DC. I lived in a group house (typical) with some DC vets and they decided to host one on our patio (that’s what we have instead of yards). I was initially perplexed. The “crab feeds” we have in California involve buying tickets to an event put on by the Lions/Kiwanis/Rotary Club and getting a couple of crab legs, coleslaw and rolls. What my roommates set up looked nothing like this: we had a bushel of crabs from the Waterfront Fish Market, bowls of Old Bay and butter, and a half keg of beer. And newspapers. Plates? Please. Crab claw cracker? Don’t make me laugh. What on earth was going on here?
Freaking magic, that’s what. DC crab feeds are the best. And all you really need are the things mentioned above (though a mallet can come in handy). I will admit that learning how to pull apart the crabs can be a bit of a challenge and the “mustard” leaves a little something to be desired, but it is totally worth it for the glorious Maryland blue crab goodness that’s inside. You don’t even have to do any cooking! Just run down to the Waterfront Market and you can purchase pre-cooked bushels and half bushels, already covered in Old Bay (which is probably deserving of a Well Played post of its own….mmmm Old Bay).
After you devour all of the glorious crab, your hands will be covered in minor cuts, your clothes will smell like the ocean (not in a good way) and it’s entirely possible that you will have gotten crab juice sprayed on your face or Old Bay in your eyes. Trust me, you will not care. Because, mmmmmmmmm crab.
Well played, DC. Well played.
LG and I have lived in DC for four and three years, respectively. That’s a fairly significant chunk of time. Despite that, we are occasionally AMAZED by some of the extremely strange trends and habits that we run into out here. So once a month we have decided to bring you a “WTF DC” post, where we talk about things we have found here inside the Beltway that totally confuse us. Let’s kick it off with critter pants.
There is no question that different parts of the country have their own distinct style. Some things are adorable and some are, well, perplexing – I’m looking at you, Nantucket Reds. DC is a strange hybrid of East Coast and Southern style, so there are many interesting sartorial displays to be found but by FAR the weirdest to us is the critter pant.
Let me explain the standard critter pants:
1) Take a perfectly normal pair of pants.
2) Dye them a bright, obnoxious color.
3) Cover them with any random animal.
4) Throw on a belt with an equally random pattern (no need to match it to the shorts).
5) Add a button up and boat shoes and walk out into the world like what you are wearing is normal.
6) Don’t just stop at pants! Washingtonians feel free to do this with what ever they might want to wear – dresses, shorts, flip flops, belts, ties, sunglasses. THE MADNESS WILL NOT END!
Our friend KC sent us a few examples from his own critter pant collection, to demonstrate for our California readers who have no earthly idea what we are talking about. We love KC and he is a perfect Southern Gentleman but DEAR LORD does he own a lot of critter pants.
The most confusing thing about critter pants is that they seem to be acceptable casual/beach wear. This is where we must take our stand. How is this even remotely acceptable??? Everyone knows that appropriate casual wear is some board shorts, Rainbows and a tank top! Where, oh where, did DC go so wildly astray? I am now on a mission to civilize (or decivilize, as it may be) all our male friends and get them into some appropriate board shorts, even if it’s the last thing I do in this town. Bonus points if I can get them to embrace suns out, guns out.
Of course, even the righteous can occasionally succumb to the Dark Side.
Oh LG. Sigh.
I’m a book worm. There’s really no other way to put it. Fiction, scifi, romance, autobiographical, humor – I’ll read almost anything and I’m always looking for something new to try. I recently stumbled across a Buzzfeed list (I know, I know) that suggested a number of series to read if you were a fan of The Hunger Games trilogy. Since I was mildly obsessed with that series, I decided to give one of them, Divergent, a shot. It was all uphill (or downhill, depending on your perspective) from there. I’ve literally read 10 books that fall in the DYA category in the last month. I have a problem.
The appeal of the books, besides the fact that many of them are simply well written and entertaining stories, is that they present you with an opportunity to picture yourself in these weird alternate realities and ponder how you might handle such a situation. Or think about which sort of society would be the easiest or most difficult for you to live in. A world where the government decides your career and your spouse and forbids artistic pursuits, as in the Matched trilogy? Or one where you are divided into a societal faction based on your strengths according to a test you took at age 16, as in Divergent? I conned LG into reading a few of these along with me and I was pleasantly surprised by how differently we saw some of these fictional worlds and how we thought they could be dealt with. One theme in all the novels was constant though – America totally gets overthrown and taken over by some sort of dictatorial, mysterious group in every single series. Democracy is not impressing these authors. We should probably consider moving back to California soon, as I’m fairly certain that DC is doomed if any of these books ever become reality.
I highly recommend that you give one of the books mentioned here or on the list a shot. They’re easy reading (because let’s be honest, they’re written for 12-16 year olds) and they’ll give you something to think about. Pick one out, grab your handy BC, head to the pool or beach and read away. And then let us know what your favorite alternate world is!
It seems to be a universal myth that if you live in California, you must live on/very close to the beach. This is so not true (though we really wish it was). LG and I hail from a place called the Central Valley, which is entirely landlocked, unless you count oceans of fruit trees. This is very sad for us, since we loooooooooooove the beach. There’s really nothing better than laying in the sand, soaking up some rays and then popping into the water to cool down. And unfortunately for us, DC is also not very beach-adjacent. However, that does not stop us from getting in some good sun time, whether it’s by laying out on my rooftop pool or hauling our butts to Dewey Beach.
Of course, the most vexing thing about going to the beach is hauling all of your stuff there. And we require lots of stuff – a towel, a phone, keys, beverages, music, a good book and approximately a gallon of sunscreen with at least an SPF of 70. Ok, that last one is just me. I’m a ginger, it can’t be helped. Quite frankly, it’s a pain carrying all that stuff. So we were THRILLED when we found this project on Pinterest. We decided we must try it immediately. We set off for Michaels and JoAnns, our spirits high. Oh, if only we had actually known what we were diving into.
If you are interested in making your own beach companion, I highly recommend that you follow the instructions in the original link. Our own work was something of a comedy of errors that took us two months to complete. This post is much more a commentary on our ridiculousness than it is an actual attempt to show you how to make your own. We’re a strong warning, not a good example.
CHALLENGE 1: Cutting in a straight line
The project calls for you to cut off the edges of your towel in strips and save those strips as the handles. It turns out that kitchen shears are NOT the ideal tool for cutting in nice straight lines. It’s also pretty hard to eyeball an even cut. I ended up folding the already cut strip up and then trying to cut exactly along that in order to keep it straight. This was probably the best option we had, but seriously, get an exacto knife or a scalpel or something. Avoid the kitchen shears.
A close up of my weird cutting style.
Cutting the fabric swatches was much easier. Mostly because they were made of thinner material than the towel and also because I just cut along the fold lines. I’m a genius.
CHALLENGE 2: No Sewing Machine.
I mean, it’s a sewing project. What on earth were we thinking tackling a sewing project without a sewing machine??????
Luckily, LG can sew. (I cannot. I also can’t bake a pie. I will never be June Cleaver. Sad.) She tackled a lot of the smaller sewing project. Below, she’s sewing the strips of fabric together that will form the borders of the towel.
I made myself useful while she sewed by measuring out the length that the strips needed to be.
LG did an excellent (and apparently very fashion-forward) job of sewing the strips together but I think her poor fingers would agree that it would have been easier with a sewing machine.
So what is one to do when one tackles a sewing project without a sewing machine? Fabric glue. Gallons of it. I think in order to complete both of our towels, we went through 4 bottles. We used this stuff and so far, it’s holding everything together very well. But our completed towels don’t quite have the polished look that the original does.
The other issue with the glue: you have to squish everything down and then it takes a LONG time to dry. Hence the two month completion time. Every time we had to stop and wait for it to dry, it was like 3 weeks before we could schedule another work session. We are VERY busy ladies, after all.
More gluing. Or perhaps just more chances for LG to take creepy stalker pics of me. She’s weird.
The completed bottom half of the towel.
The next steps involved creating the pillow case out of the second towel. Let’s be honest, the pillow insert is really what made us decide to do all of this work in the first place. We are super lazy and like to be comfortable. The idea of a pillow encased in a beach towel warmed our little hearts.
CHALLENGE 3: I mentioned the lack of sewing machine, right?
Yes, lot’s more gluing. I think I actually glued my fingers together at one point.
CHALLENGE 4: We aren’t all that bright.
The final stage of the project, once all the big pieces are glued together, is adding the frills. The handle, the pocket, the buttons. The thing is, at this point we were kind of tired of looking at the original post and measuring and all that other nonsense. We basically turned into men who try to assemble heavy machinery without reading the directions. The results were comical.
LG put her tired fingers back to work and sewed on the pockets. A tip for you? Make sure you do a test roll-up of your beach companion (BC), so that you will know which direction the pocket should face. Just trust me on this one. Or if you don’t trust me, well, see the last picture in this post.
The other downside of the not-so-straight cutting job? The strips have to be reused as the handles and they are not all that pretty after that. LG had the idea of braiding the two handles into one giant one. It definitely looks better than our sad frayed double handles did, but it does make the BC look a little strange when carrying it.
LG sews buttons. I take pictures. Seriously, I’m kind of a failure as a lady. How will I ever make a proper wife if I cannot sew a button? I blame my mother. (Just kidding. Hi Mom. Love you, don’t kill me.)
We may or may not have sewed the buttons and the hooks on the wrong side the first time around. And then had to remove them and redo them. Really, I’m surprised that we make it through most days without just falling over while trying to walk and breathe at the same time.
And finally, we have a completed BC! Isn’t it pretty? Doesn’t it look comfy and wonderful?
LG has been using her BC for a month and I have been using mine (the one in all these pictures) for about a week and they are really are cute and convenient and SO comfy. But making it was HELLA INVOLVED.
We here at FF&F strongly encourage you to take on your own crafty projects, because we’ve certainly had oodles of fun with the ones we have tackled. But seriously, don’t be like us. Follow the directions and make sure you have all the necessary tools. Otherwise, THIS happens….
Thank goodness we’re pretty.
The sugar free/carb free lifestyle can be boring. And by “can be boring,” I mean I have been bored out of my mind. And all I’ve wanted is a milkshake. Omg, a milkshake. Well, the heavens (google) opened and I found THIS recipe. I altered the recipe just a bit, so let’s see how it turned out.
1.5 cups of almond milk to freeze
1.5 cups of almond milk for the shake
1/2 cup splenda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
I started with 1.5 cups of almond milk (less than 2g of sugar for every half cup!)
Then, I poured the almond milk into an ice cube tray…
…and froze it.
I took a teaspoon of vanilla extract, half a cup of Splenda, and the frozen almond milk and threw them all in the blender.
Then I added another 1.5 cups of almond milk.
And voila! A beautiful milkshake to curb those cravings. Yum Yum!
There is only one thing in this world we love more than California. You guessed it: ‘Murica! The parades, the food, the FIREWORKS: America is really the best! The Fourth of July is our favorite holiday, and we are going to show you how to celebrate in style! So buckle up cowgirls and cowboys and let’s git ‘er done.
Start with a blank canvas. Get that pretty pink Barbie nail polish off those dainty little fingers! Or was that just me?
Paint eight nails with the raddest red nail polish you can find. We used this gorgeous Sephora nail polish.
Wait for your nails to dry and use this hella tight nail art pen to start your embellishments. For a star, start by making a dot in the middle of your nail. Make sure the dot is a tad bit runny, so that you can use some of the polish from the center for your star points. Star points? That sounds like something you win in a video game. I think…
Personally, I think it’s easier to star with the top point of the star.
Use the pen (and a little more polish from it) to do the upside down V of the star. Then do the two horizontal lines one at a time.
Voila! That’s hella rad.
Then we used this Wet ‘n’ Wild nail polish in Moon Blue. Yes. We used Wet ‘n’ Wild. Yes you may judge. Yes I bought this a while ago when I was on more of a budget. And yes, it works perfectly.
Wow. Whit may be beating you in America pride.
Then our friend K let us do hers. K is a true American.
Then for my nails. Don’t worry, the best embellishment is coming soon.
All the ladies! Here are 3 different ways to choose an accent nail with different embellishments. You and all your friends can be American without being too matchy-matchy.
Got some boys around who think they love America, but don’t feel comfortable wearing nail polish to work? So do we! So we painted their toes. And yes, we did have to make threats, promises, and give up our first borns.
What gorgeous feet our boy B has. After this, he showed us his “monkey toe” tricks–meaning he can hold my hands with just his feet. Weird or cool? I think that’s up for debate.
The best part about painting toes is that the big toe is large enough for lots of stars. ALL THE STARS!!!
Our friend D didn’t want to be left out, but Brazil was playing, so I gave him a special pedicure. We’re a mutli-cutli bunch!
And now you’re ready for your BBQ, trip to the beach, or in our case a crab feed! So go forth, salute that flag, and remember: ‘Murica!