Sunday, June 24, 2012

Beach Day Picnic

Sometimes all that good karma and positive energy that you've been putting out into the world finally works its way back to you, allowing things to fall perfectly into place.  Wednesday was one of these days.  A last minute shift change gave me the day off, and as I was updating my little day planner I realized that it was the official first day of summer.  The next morning, I was watching the news as I drank my breakfast smoothie (I believe it was blackberry, blueberry, dark cherry), and Al Roker informed me that on Wednesday temperatures would be reaching into the upper 90s, real summer weather.  It was then that it dawned on me - maybe it was with a little help from the karmic muses - beach day.  The universe was sending me a message, and that message was to grab a blanket, slather myself in sunscreen, and do nothing but lay in the warm rays all day.  And that's exactly what I did.
But who wants to spend a day at the beach all by their lonesome?  So, I convinced my best friend Brynn to come along with me (though she didn't really need that much convincing).  We got to the shore, applied copious amounts of sunscreen, almost died in the surf, got a bloody nose (well, at least me), and were laying, sunning on the blanket all before 11:00 AM.  We spent most of the day supine, flipping from back to stomach to assure even sun exposure, with short breaks to cool off in the water and partake in the picnic lunch we packed.  Brynn made an awesome bean salad -  red, white, and black beans, chickpeas, a couple spoon-fulls of pico de gallo, and a splash of apple cider vinegar.  It was hearty an filling, but light and fresh which was beach-day-picnic appropriate.  I made a fruit salad with watermelon, grapes, berries, and crenshaw melon - a sweet and incredibly juicy member of the cantaloupe family.  When I make fruit salads, I like to finish them off with the zest and juice of a lime.  There's something about the tang and tartness of the citrus that intensifies the sweetness of the fruits.  If you're making the salad the night before, the lime not only keeps the fruit fresh, but it also creates this lovely juice that keeps the whole thing moist and allows the flavors to melt together wonderfully.  The cold, juicy, sweet and tangy fruit was a great way to cool down when the sun got a little too hot.  I also packed up some seaweed salad I got from Wegman's because 1) I am currently obsessed with this surprisingly sweet and satisfyingly crunchy snack, and 2) it's possibly the most perfect beach food, I mean, what's better than eating seaweed salad while sitting in the sand staring at the sea?
We spent all afternoon just lying down feeling the sun beating down and cool sea breeze kissing our flesh, hearing the sounds of the surf and gulls and people, smelling the salt and sunscreen and water until we just couldn't take it anymore.  It was Brynn's idea to stop in a little beach town on our way out to get cold drinks for the ride home.  We ended up taking a stroll down the main drag, popping in consignment shops and boutiques for brief moments of air conditioned relief from the heat.  Heading back to the car, we stumbled upon Re-Juice-a-Nation, a cute little joint that offered fresh fruit juices and smoothies, including a bunch of vegan options.  After much deliberation (there were at least 30 drinks on the menu to choose from), I decided to go with the Bango - banana, mango juice, and mango chunks.  They served it up in a massive cup, I mean, if it had been filled with coke, Bloomberg would have cuffed me.  It was thick and cold and sweet, and as we drove out of town and away from the shore, the Bango was the perfect, healthy treat to end a beautiful beach day.

While I am so happy that karma gave me such a phenomenal day, I'm definitely not going to wait for the universe to do all the work.  I've never been what you'd call a beach bum, but I see myself taking the utmost advantage of my days off to lay a blanket in the sand and spend all day reclining in the sun.  And  now that I know where the good smoothies are, there's nothing stopping me.

Warning: When eating seaweed salad, the strands of seaweed have a tendency to get stuck in your teeth, especially the ones furthest back in your mouth.  Therefore, if said beach-picnic is a date-picnic, seaweed salad might not be the best option.  

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