Why You Should Visit the Jersey Shore

I think the Jersey Shore is a magical place, especially in the summer. The coast of New Jersey consists of about 140 miles of beaches and boardwalks, but I am biased to the Toms River/Seaside Heights and Park area, of course, because that’s where I was raised. From boating to beaching, I seem to never get bored at this summer paradise and I hope others feel they could take advantage of some of my favorite activities around the area:

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Boating

If I am not lounging on the beach on a beautiful summer day, I am most likely on my boat. My favorite activity is waking up early to ski on the river with my dad and grandfather by 7:00 a.m. to take advantage of the glassy water. Other activities people can do include tubing, eating at dockside restaurants and anchoring for the day to enjoy food, drinks and swimming. Tices Shoal is a popular spot to hold a raft-up, but if you do not want the crowds, the area behind the governor’s beach house at Island Beach State Park is also fantastic.

You don’t own a boat? No worries! There are plenty of spots to rent from: Route 37 Water Sports, The Dock Outfitters and more.

Beaching

From Seaside Heights, Lavallette, Island Beach State Park and more, there are so many spots from which to choose. I can always be found at Seaside Park with my seasonal badge which costs $60 or $55 before a certain date. Senior season passes are $20, single day passes are $10, and weekly are $35. Finally, children 11 and younger and those with military I.D. are free. Time to soak up that sun!

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Sailing

Do you prefer a more relaxed cruise on the water? Try using one of the best natural resources we have: wind. There are plenty of areas from which to charter sailboats, so go ahead and get out there!

Parks

The general Toms River area is full of parks and outdoor escapes, so if the beach or boat don’t draw you in, you can try other places to explore: The Barnegat Lighthouse, Double Trouble State Park and Cattus Island County Park, just to name a few. I have spent countless days at these places, and they never get old.

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Amusement

I grew up visiting the Seaside Heights boardwalk, and despite the wild reputation it received from MTV’s Jersey Shore, I can confidently say that partying is not what it’s all about. We rose up from literal ashes after Hurricane Sandy demolished our boardwalk in 2012 and a fire burnt the rest of it down the following year, and we are back and better than ever. From arcades and eateries to brand new rides, this is a place to have fun for those of all ages.

I could go on and on about the great things that the shore has to offer, but I hope this gets some people thinking about how great the Jersey coast really is! Regardless of where I go, I will always remember Toms River for the beautiful place that it is.

Whitmanythought 1: There are so many things to do around here I barely scratched the surface.

Whitmanythought 2: Why do I ever have to leave?

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Best and Worst of the MTV 2017 Video Music Awards

I was really feeling the FOMO (fear of missing out) of not being at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, since I was there in the pit having the time of my life last year. Despite my consistency of almost never being able to watch award shows, I made sure I was home to view how the iconic show would push political and social boundaries this year. Here are my reactions to the best and worst moments of the 34th Annual MTV VMAs.

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Best

Fifth Harmony Shading Camilla

Having an earlier performance, 5H’s show stuck with me the whole night. Not because of their sexualized dance moves they love showing off, but because they totally shaded recently departed member Camila Cabello. As they opened their performance, they pushed a body off the stage, making the group transform from five to four members. This may hint to a rocky relationship with their ex bandmate, and maybe it was unnecessary, but I appreciate the guts it took for them to put on the visual stunt.

Taylor Swift

Being a huge fan of Swift, I was most excited for the world premiere of her “Look What You Made Me Do” music video. I will be honest, I was slightly disappointed with the song, but after watching that wildly symbolic video in which Swift kills and mocks her old self, this video is all I will be watching for the next few days.

Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid Performance

Logic has moved leaps and bounds since I saw him open for G-Eazy last year, and I am beyond proud of that. I am also a huge fan of Alessia Cara and their song “1-800-273-8255” also featuring Best New Artist winner Khalid. The song doubles as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, which was plastered on every screen alongside the words “You are not alone.” It was a moving, heartfelt tribute that also included numerous suicide survivors who came on stage during the performance. As Khalid became overpowered with emotion, Logic concluded the performance by saying, “…I don’t give a damn if you’re black white or anything in between. We’re all born equal, but we’re treated unequal…”

Susan Bro

Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer who woman killed in Charlottesville protesting white supremacy, gave a powerful speech about hate and the start of her new Heather Heyer Foundation, which will give scholarships to students pursuing law and social justice issues. MTV also awarded every nominee for Best Fight Against the System title a moon man.

Bebe Rexha

Bebe Rexha has been working her way up the charts with being the featured vocalist in numerous songs to releasing several EP albums. Although she didn’t perform on the main stage, her enthusiasm, excited dancing and obvious love for being at the VMAs caught my eye and made me more thrilled just to be watching. Thank you, Bebe, for being so entertained and entertaining!

Miley Cyrus, Shawn Mendes, Demi Lovato

I need to give a well-deserved shout out to Cyrus, Mendes and Lovato for giving powerful performances of their respective hits “Younger Now,” “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back,” and “Sorry Not Sorry.” These performances showed what young, pop talent is all about.

Pink

I am not a huge fan of Pink, but I respect her success and her music. I was excited that she didn’t perform multiple times like last year’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award winner, Rihanna. However, her medley was a strong vocal and visual performance as she sang career-spanning hits from “Raise Your Glass” to “What About Us” and did multiple stunts such as riding a four-wheel on stage. After the performance, Ellen DeGeneres presented the award and Pink gave a touching speech about self-love that focused on her daughter.

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Worst

 Katy Perry

I was skeptical about Perry’s hosting gig, and my concerns were solidified from the start of the show. From her over-extended opening in which she tried preparing herself to go to the moon and then played with a fidget spinner, it just did not seem fluid. I do think she seemed comfortable and confident up on stage, but her corny jokes and basketball-themed “Swish Swish” performance fell flat.

Fifth Harmony Interview

During a preshow interview, Charlamagne asked the girls if they would share their possible Best Choreography award with Camila Cabello. After a bit of awkward hesitation, Normani Kordei explained that they would give the award to their choreographer (nice save, girl). Charlamagne in no way needed to make this awkward situation for the women. The ladies of 5H were there for a good time and to celebrate their talent, not for dealing with unthoughtful comments.

Ed Sheeran

It breaks my heart to say this, but something seemed off about Sheeran’s performance of his hit song “Shape of You.” I have seen him perform live before, and I know he has sounded better than he did at the VMAs. Also, I did not think it was necessary to have Lil Uzi Vert add some lyrics to the song before switching to his own “XO Tour Lif3.”

Lorde

After learning that she had the flu, I give Lorde props for still giving us an interpretive dance to her new song “Homemade Dynamite.” I have started liking Lorde a bit more recently, and I was excited to hear her sing, but it’s not her fault she is so sick.

I read articles saying that the VMAs were boring, and I whole heartedly disagree. I thought the show was full of solid performers and a great number of artists attended. I look forward to the show next year!

Home at Last

Long time, no blog! I cannot say I am pleased with myself for not posting in so long, but you know, life happens. And by life happening, I mean I have been home from Australia for just over a month. I considered the options for first blog post after I got back from my Australian adventures—tips on transitioning back home, dealing with post-trip depression, what I learned while I away—the list goes on and on. I didn’t want to do anything too fancy or pretentious, so here are my responses to questions I’ve repeatedly received.

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My last picture from Australia

“So you’re actually going to be in America, Miss World Traveler?”

I cannot tell you how many times I heard this phrase or something similar. Yes, I was just traveling the world, but I did not forget where my home is! To be honest, exploring the world is still so important to me, but coming home to sweet New Jersey in summertime was the best timing possible. I do not want to be anywhere else than the Jersey Shore with my family and friends for a summer full of beaching, water-skiing and fun before I head back to Hofstra to begin my senior year of college.

“How was transitioning back to reality?”

Despite popular assumption, coming back was super easy. I luckily had a job lined up as soon as I got home, quite literally. I walked in my door at 11 p.m. on June 25, and started work at 8:30 a.m. the next morning. Jumping into work and a schedule made it simple and necessary to transition myself back to home life.

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Fourth of July at home for the first time in two years

“What was your jetlag like?”

Luckily I slept/cried for almost the whole duration of my first two flights, and stayed awake for my last, so my sleep pattern was not too far off. Waking up early the next morning for work was easy and I almost flawlessly transitioned into Eastern Standard Time. Of course I was tired, but my sleep schedule was nowhere near backwards like some people thought.

“How sad are you to be back?”

As cliché as this sounds, I am sad that my adventure is over, but so thankful I have heaps (still using popular Australian terms) of memories to look back on and new friends to outlive these memories. Like I said, there is nowhere I would rather be in the summer than New Jersey with my friends, family, awesome job and of course, my pets. If I returned in winter, it may be a different story…

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The best part about coming home

“Where to next?”

People who know me know I will go anywhere I can if I have the chance. I plan on staying in America for quite some time to finish my undergraduate studies and earn some of the money I blew through back. However, the next large trip I want to take is a cross-country road trip through America. I feel like I have seen more of “the world” than I have of my own country, so I’d like to focus on that.

Coming home after living in another country for months can be a huge change, but I think it is all about perspective. Yes, I was upset to leave the new life I created while away, but I had so much goodness waiting for me at home. It has been a beautiful and crazy ride, and I plan to continue my journey of world and self-exploration one day at a time.