July 2009


This whole week has been one with a lot of REPEATS! My breakfast Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday looked just like this one:

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Yogurt, Strawberries, Banana, Blueberries, Mango & Kashi Mighty Bites

Lunch Tuesday was another one I’ve been having a lot (got to get through those Boca Burgers!). I added 1/4 smashed avocado with pepper instead of a slice of cheese and it was divine!

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After scarfing down this burger, I went to check out some apartments on my lunch break. Saw one with lots of potential, then two awful ones! When I got back, I had my side salad drizzled in Catalina Free.

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I also snacked on some popcorn (x2), but for some reason this gave me the worst stomach pains. Weird, right?

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When I got out of work, I hit up the gym for a bit. I’m 4 for 4 this week! Then I drove over the hill to meet Katie Jo for dinner at Aroma in the Valley. I got my regular and all-time favorite, the tofu rice bowl! This meal was perfect for dinner yesterday and then lunch again today.  The serving is huge! You definitely can’t tell from the photo but this stuff is BOMB.

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I peaced out of work early today for a doctor appointment and managed to avoid going back in — YES! I made it back home earlier than usual and settled down with a book and a snack. I’ve been trying to eat light (200 calories or less) snacks every day in the afternoon to keep my energy up for working out and keep my metabolism/brain functioning! Today I struck gold with a toasted sandwich thin, 1 tbsp Better N’ PB, and a few sliced strawberries.

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I let my snack digest for a bit before heading to the gym. I was able to get there around the time I am usually leaving the office — sweet! My workout today was a bit of a struggle; I couldn’t seem to get my act together and felt clouded. Luckily I was able to hop on a bike for a bit and read the new SHAPE magazine to wind down, which definitely helped! Moving up my day also meant I had plenty of time to pick up a package at FedEx.

Okay, I have to confess…I LOVE FedEx. You know that feeling you get when something little happens and you feel warm and fuzzy and happy all over? That happens to me every single time I see a FedEx truck, sign, building, you name it. I still remember passing a huge depot with my mom and almost fainting with happiness (she thought I was insane). Now before you all think I am loco too, I studied lots of graphic design in college. Logos are my favorite! The FedEx logo contains a little arrow that’s formed between the E and the x. Check it out highlighted here!

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Is that not genius? Subliminal, and fits perfectly with the company’s purpose — always moving! Anyway, so my trip to FedEx left me with a huge smile on my face. Oh yeah, I also received that boxed wine from Black Box Wines to test, so that might have had something to do with it too!

For dinner I had a Flat Out pizza for the first time! I saw these at that fancy pants grocery store near my work and had to pick them up. I have to say, I was bummed! I mean, YES, it was good, but for some reason I thought they would be much doughier and not so tortilla-tasting. I don’t know why, since they are wraps! Anyway, I think I will probably save these for the sammies and stick to real dough when I have my pizza cravings :)

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I also boiled an artichoke that I bought last week at the Farmer’s Market. I never had these growing up, but they are absolute staples in Cali!

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For dessert I grabbed a small coconut Pinkberry and topped it with my own thangs from home — some sprinkles, strawberries, mango, and blueberries!

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Now I am zonking out and hoping to get to bed at a reasonable hour. So ready for the weekend again :)

What a quick weekend!! And now it’s almost Wednesday?! Yesterday I kicked off the day with a yo-mess, then I used my deconstructed taco leftovers to RE-construct a taco! Confused? I had one La Tortilla Factory tortilla in the fridge begging to be used, so I heated it up and added the other 1/2 piece of tilapia, 1/4 avocado worth of homemade guacamole, lettuce, mango cubes and S+P. I definitely liked the chip dippers better, but the mango was a really nice addition!

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Later in the afternoon, I managed to bypass a huge tray of cookies and had some carrots + hummus and a handful of popcorn for pre-workout fuel. How did I forget about popcorn?! Such a nice, low-cal FUN snack. You just have to be careful not to burn it in the office, and make sure you can share with your coworkers. Popcorn is one scent that really carries, have you ever noticed that?!

I had a nice sweat-fest on the elliptical after work. I’ve been in a LONG exercise rut lately, but for some reason am undergoing a nice attitude change where food and workouts are concerned! I even whipped out the high school punk phase with some Streetlight Manifesto. After a quick trip to Target and tossing in some laundry (FINALLY!), I got settled down for dinner. I was jonesing for a TJ Chile Lime Chicken burger :)

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I also wanted to use up a potato I had for my side, and just wasn’t feeling the homemade fries. No, not burned out on those yet, but I do make them an awful lot! Instead I was inspired by the memory of a killer no-mayo potato salad my friend Becky made earlier in the summer for one of our Laguna Beach bbqs. Here’s my version!

No-Mayo Potato Salad

Serves One

Peel and cube one potato. Add to pot, fill with water, bring to boil, and cook until fork-tender. On the side, dice (all to taste) red onion, green onion, red bell pepper and basil.  Drain potatoes, add to onion/pepper mixture. Drizzle lightly with red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, EVOO and S+P.

MMM!!! I tossed mine in the fridge for a few minutes while I switched out the laundry so it would cool down a little bit, but was too hungry to wait much longer than that :)

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I don’t think that picture can really do it justice, because it was pretty amazing! After dinner I caught up on True Blood (poor Sam!) and enjoyed a Skinny Cow fudge pop. I love the chocolate drizzle on those. Anyone have some other nighttime snack musts?! I’m always up for a good sweet treat testing :)

Do you ever get a taste for something and know you HAVE to have it? A few nights ago, I couldn’t stop dreaming about a light, citrusy pasta. Yes, citrus + pasta! Luckily I had fresh lemon AND fresh basil, so this meal was a cinch to prepare.

Light Lemon Basil Pasta with Chicken Sausage

1/2 fresh lemon, squeezed

zest (if desired)

1 tsp. EVOO

fresh basil

1 serving whole wheat pasta shells

1 serving frozen sweet peas

sliced white or baby bello mushrooms

1 serving chicken sausage (I used garlic herb from Trader Joe’s!)

S+P to taste

This recipe has three things going on at once, which makes for a busy kitchen, but a meal that comes together quickly! You have to preheat the oven to broil for the chicken sausage, put a pot of water on the stove for the pasta, and make the lemon sauce. If you get the timing right, everything should finish all at once! Put the chicken sausage in to cook, toss in the pasta (I added the peas to the pasta and cooked them together) and set those timers!

In a small bowl, combine EVOO, lemon juice, zest (if desired), and 1 small handful chopped fresh basil. (You could add garlic too, but I didn’t have any on hand!)

When the pasta and peas are finished cooking, drain and set aside. In the now-empty pasta bowl, saute the sliced mushrooms until tender.  Add the sauce ingredients and turn heat to low. Whisk in pot until heated through, then pour pasta back into bowl to coat. At this point, the chicken sausage should be finished, so you can take that out of the oven and cut it into small pieces. Add the meat to the pasta, use salt and pepper to taste, and voila!

This pasta dish is light and was definitely doing a happy dance in my mouth!

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I can’t resist one more!

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Sunday night already, boo! I had SUCH a lovely, relaxing weekend. Yesterday I walked 15+ miles, between the beach trail with Julia, shopping down 3rd Street Promenade, and wandering around town all night with Steph.  Julia and I capped off our walk with killer turkey burgers with avocado in Venice Beach. Such a good excuse for exercise!

Then Stephanie and I went to see The Ugly Truth. It was uber cheese, which means I loved it. We stopped off at the Farmer’s Market in the Grove and grabbed dinner to bring into the movie theater. Too bad it was so dark or I would have taken a picture of THE BEST grilled chicken, balsamic-drizzled grilled veggies and whole wheat spaghetti. I was majorly impressed!! Does anyone else get seriously excited about eating a full meal at the movies?

This morning I woke up super early, had the usual yogurt mess, then hit the gym for a nice sweaty workout. A round of errands took me right up through lunch time, and I eagerly dug into my groceries when I got home. I started with a side salad drizzled with Catalina Free.

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And then had my last TJ chicken sausage with some spicy cheetahs. Such a great meal!

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Later in the afternoon, I snacked on some fresh mango. I meant to do laundry and clean, but I ended up just reading and watching TV. I did get started on the new APARTMENT SEARCH which was exciting. Julia and I are moving with my little sister, who is moving out to LA, down to the beach. I can’t wait, and signing up for the search engine makes it all real :)

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I have been having major avocado cravings lately, so for dinner I recreated an old childhood favorite. Growing up, my mom would always make deconstructed tacos, with a ring of lettuce, then tomato, then cheddar cheese, then taco meat on a big serving plate. We would each get a bowl of chips and then the dipping and dunking would begin! I gussied up my version with lettuce, tomato, homemade guacamole and tilapia. This was actually my FIRST time making guac and it came out pretty good! I used 1/4 avocado, pineapple salsa, red onion, lemon, sea salt and green onion. I swung past Whole Foods for some lime cilantro tortilla chips to use as dippers.

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Just as delicious as it looks :)

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Right now I am watching Royal Pains on USA — love summer programming! I’m picturing a lovely Skinny Cow fudge pop in my very near future, mmm. Hope you all had great weekends! I am looking at another crazy Monday. Ah, better to be busy right??

Wednesday night I had an event for work.  My day usually ends around 5:30, but the event didn’t start until 7. Even though I was supposed to get there early and knew there would be some food passed around, I am never quite sure what or how much I will be eating when I am “working” at these parties. And since I tend to get cranky aka turn into a total raging biotch when I am hungry, I thought fueling before the event would be best.

Ever since seeing Wahoo’s Fish Tacos featured by the lovely Banana Cabana, I’ve been wanting to check it out. There was a location not far from my final destination, so I ended up grabbing a kid bowl with grilled white fish, brown rice, and seasoned spicy white beans on the way. It didn’t look nearly as pretty as the food Caroline ate, but it tasted healthy and fresh and I felt both stuffed and clean (opposed to stuffed and sick/gross of course). Can you believe that this is a kid portion?!

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I had plenty of time to eat and chat with my mommy for a bit before going into the event, held at an upscale shoe boutique to launch a new website all about…can you guess?? Shoes! I was there with my boss, for our client. Doesn’t she look pretty??

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There was also LOTS of dessert to follow my dinner. Try not to drool!

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And some lucky b won this purse. It wasn’t me, but wouldn’t that have been nice?!?!?!

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My cute boss and I had fun working the room. She is pregnant and glowing, no? I clearly forgot how to smile like a normal person and after blinking the first 2 times, am now opening my eyes like a crazy lady…but besides that, love it!

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P.S. Thanks Julia for outfitting me in your sweet lacy dress :)

Hope you all had a great Friday! My week has been LOCO so I am looking forward to some R&R. Tonight I’m off to Cat & Fiddle for a glass of wine, with a big crew apparently. Can’t wait to read up on all your fun adventures!!

Last night, I gave cheetahs a makeover. Yup, I am now officially addicted to Firey Cheetahs! Thanks to Penzeys Spices, who offer over 250 amazing seasonings to coat all your foods, my sweet potato fries got quite a liberal shaking of Chipotle spice.

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From the company:

Ripe, red jalapeño peppers that have been slowly wood-smoked, chipotle peppers are rich, smoky and hot (but not searing). Throughout Mexico and Central America, chipotle peppers, also known as moritas, are regarded as a versatile and necessary addition to many dishes. Commonly used to add a deep smoky flavor to traditional Mexican dishes, such as red chili sauce, the use of chipotle peppers has exploded with the popularity of American Southwest cooking. A dash of chipotle is a perfect addition to everything, from barbecue and breadsticks, to soup and salsa. Ground Chipotle Pepper is an attractive, coarse red powder that is so easy to use it almost seems like cheating!  15,000 heat units

Now, I’m not sure what exactly 15,000 heat units means, but these were some flaming fries, just what I needed to kick them up a notch! I might have gotten a wee bit carried away, as they were almost too spicy to finish, but I succeeded.

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Along with my spicy fries I had sausage and peppers. Well, a healthy version at least! TJ was OUT of my favorite cilantro chicken sausages (are these discontinued?!?) so I settled for Garlic Herb instead. Mixed with yellow peppers, mushrooms, and red onions, this bowl was a perfect match for my cheetahs!

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I also revisited my childhood this morning with a new cereal find. Last night at TJ, I was scrounging the aisles, looking for a low-calorie, nutrient-dense cereal to use in my yo-messes.  I grabbed Kashi Honey Oat Graham Love Cereal (you know which one I mean, the one with the oat-y hearts) but then spotted Mighty Bites and went for that instead! The nutritionals seemed spot-on, and there are only 60 calories in 1/2 cup which is perfect for me since I add so many other things into my breakfasts. Best part?! These taste JUST like the cereal bits in Lucky Charms!!

I had many little men frolicking in my bowl this morning.

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I may or may not have drowned them all in some Fage :)

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I am lucky enough to work at an office building that is basically inside a gorgeous outdoor mall in LA. One of the best things about shopping in Los Angeles actually is that a lot of the pretty shopping centers are designed to be entirely open air. In fact, the one near my office only has one “indoors” section where the stores aren’t free-standing — and that’s the food court!

While there are many great food options (Coral Tree, Breadbar) there are just as many “evil” temptations (Wetzel’s Pretzels anyone?!). I usually save the restaurants for days when I am meeting friends for lunch in an effort not to waste my dollars! On days when I don’t bring lunch and don’t feel like driving to the grocery store, I end up at Gelson’s, a fancy-pants supermarket that carries SOME unique items but mostly just a melange of overpriced food. I hate spending the extra cash but at least I am saving on gas, right?!

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Today I came to work with red peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower…and that’s it. How I had time to chop fresh veggies last night but not make anything else is beyond me! Luckily, I FOUND SANDWICH THINS at Gelson’s and my meal was set. I’m so happy the West Coast finally has these guys cause they were great! After picking them up, I needed to find some protein to finish off the meal and the most processed lunch ever was born…

Sandwich Thins, Boca Burger, Kraft Fat-free Cheddar Cheese slice

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Which turned into this:

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Thank goodness I had lots of fresh raw veggies to munch and crunch as well :)

Late afternoon was spent reading some magazines for work while enjoying a delicious 0% Fage. I don’t know what happened to me, but I am in love! I was going to kiss the container, but thought that might be a wee bit awkward.

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Side note, Fage also looks really good when mixed in my morning mess…

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Oops, sorry, got distracted there.  Okay back to the magazines! The August 4th issue of Woman’s Day included a great quote from Wendy Bazilian, one of the authors of The SuperFoodsRx Diet:

Eating well is about continually making good small choices.

True dat.

Thursday night, I finally had my first chance of the week to truly RELAX!  So after work and a visit to the gym, I headed straight home to make one of my favorite foods — PIZZA!  Ever since I learned how to make a super quick and easy dough, pizza has become one of the easiest meals to make.  The recipe I’ve eventually settled on is pretty hearty, yet doughy enough for me.  I wouldn’t necessarily use it if I wanted a fluffy, thick crust, since I usually divided the dough into 3 portions and roll it out veeeeeeeeeeery thin.  Following this recipe, each portion of dough comes out to 290 calories, plus a few extra for flouring the baking stone. Having a healthy base gives me room for lots of toppings, and makes it light enough to eat whenever I have a craving!

Hearty Half Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup warm water with 1 package active yeast; stir and let sit approximately 10 minutes

While yeast mixture is settling, mix 1 cup whole wheat flour with 1 cup white flour. Then add 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp honey to the flour mixture. Slowly stir the yeast into the flour and knead until a soft dough forms.

Use extra flour for dusting/rolling. Add toppings and bake for 10 minutes!

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This gorgeous pizza is actually two servings; usually I just make one a time but I wanted leftovers for lunch! Here are a few of my favorite pizzas I’ve made since starting the blog:

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Potato, onion, rosemary pizza

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Basil, Grape Tomato, Goat Cheese & Rosemary

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Mushroom, Goat Cheese, Grape Tomato & Rosemary

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Mushroom & Onion

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Mushroom & Onion Calzone

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Eggplant, Zucchini, Mushroom, Basil & Onion

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Green Pepper, Mushroom, Basil & Onion

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Mushroom, Onion & Extra Cheese

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Green Pepper, Mushroom, Zucchini, Basil & Onion

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Eggplant, Zucchini, Basil & Onion

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Red Pepper, Mushroom & Onion

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Mushroom & Basil Calzone

One of my absolute favorite foods to make on Thanksgiving is a dish that the Tatem family has oh so creatively dubbed “yams & apples.” Super simple to make, just mix one large can of yams with a can of Comstock apple pie filling, then mash it up a bit, heat and serve! So easy and amazingly delicious.

Last night I decided to recreate this side dish with a few twists! In what ended up being a completely bizarre combination of foods, I totally dug these faux yams & apples.

Faux Yams & Apples

Ingredients: 1 sweet potato, 1 apple, cinnamon, vanilla yogurt (8 oz container)

Peel 1 sweet potato, cube

Add SP to boiling water until easily pierced with fork

Drain water and add one 8 oz container of yogurt (I used a vanilla Dannon Light & Fit because it’s what I had in the fridge but anything would work!)

Mash with fork, masher, or even blender, depending on desired consistency

In a separate bowl, combine 1 chopped apple (skinny slices or cubes) with cinnamon to taste; heat in microwave until apples are somewhat soft and mushy and cinnamon is syrupy

Combine the two bowls and voila!

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Might not look perfect, but it tastes pretty darn close!

I have another dose of HOME for you guys! Friday night after my mom’s grilled masterpieces, us four girls headed down to Point Pleasant. If you aren’t from Jersey, you might not know that PP = THE BOARDWALK! I learned in college that some people have never even heard about a boardwalk before, so if that applies to you, the boardwalk is an elevated promenade that runs above the beach. The best boardwalks include food, rides, carnival games, mini golf, etc. Point Pleasant has all of these plus a cute little aquarium. We used to go here all the time during the summer at night as kids, and then on dates in high school. Not only does the boardwalk bring back a million memories, it’s also a great place to share some fun EATS!

I made my three loves stop for a photo right after getting there.

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Mom, Rachel, Hannah

I jumped in the middle!

I jumped in the middle!

Then I grabbed SUCH a cute shot with da moms.

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Photos were followed with food! I wanted something fried. You may have heard of funnel cake and zeppoles before, but what about fried Snickers, butterfly fries, or fried Oreos?! I charmed the kid behind the register into just handing over one powder sugared fried Oreo. Can anyone seriously eat all four that come with a regular order?? Actually, I’m guessing the answer is yes…

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The first bite was divine!

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Mom captured the warm and gooey inside for y’all :)

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My second treat of the night was some frozen custard from Kohr’s.  First offered at Coney Island in 1919, Kohr’s is a shore staple!  I was always fascinated by the Orange Cream flavor as a kid, so of course I had to get that again.

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Swirls in action!

Swirls in action!

Sweets in hand, we made our way all the way down the boardwalk until hitting the inlet where we settled down on benches to watch the water. And, oddly enough, a full fireworks display that happened to be going on a few miles away! The four of us just talked and laughed and took more pictures. We almost fell off the pier we were giggling so hard!

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I honestly can’t remember the last time the four of us had such a good time. It was so nice being with my girls again! It almost felt a little like I had never left. On the walk back up the boardwalk, I stopped into a sweet shop to grab some salt water taffy for Jules. A little chocolate fudge sample sitting on the counter made the perfect ending to round out all my boardwalk treats!

Okay, so I’ve gotten you guys through Friday…hope you are enjoying your “visit” to the Jersey shore!  Part 3 of 3 coming soon :)

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