happy places

bye bye summer vacay...

So we just got home from our annual summer trip to the Jersey Shore… and before you think to yourself, “ugh, how tacky…”, NOT THAT JERSEY SHORE!!!

While I’ll admit that I was at times entertained by the mindless train wreck that was the reality show and my name is Jenni Farley… although please call me Jenn and not Jenni and I swapped out my middle name for Farley when I got a new last name a few years ago… unfortunately, MTV gave one of the prettiest coastlines I’ve seen a really bad rap.

For the past several summers we’ve been spending a week gym, tan and laundry’ing (sorry, couldn’t resist) in Ocean City, NJ. If you haven’t been there or to one of the towns between Atlantic City and Cape May, I encourage you to go. Ocean City in particular, is a laid back, family oriented beach town with amazing homes stretching along its blocks and blocks.

 If you happen to find this beach spot on your travel agenda, here are a few of my favorites…

Watching the sunrise with coffee or set with a cocktail. Yes, doing this is generally breathtaking anywhere, but something about the quiet and peacefulness of the Shore, especially on the South End where we like to stay… well it makes even the not so spiritual believe in a higher power.

Mike’s Seafood. I love staying on the South End and being a quick walk to Mike’s is one reason why. We generally get dinner from here twice or, ok, maybe three times while we’re in town. A total no-frills place that specializes in carry out; the fresh, steamed King Crab legs, peel and eat shrimp, crab fries and crab balls are truly addicting!

Voltaco’s. Totally worth taking it easy on the beach cocktails for a day (that’s something for me to say!) so you can drive up to the North End to bring this home for dinner. This OC staple does subs right. I’m partial to the Philly Cheese Steak but have sampled some others and you really can’t go wrong.

Surf Café. We found this place one cloudy morning this year and I have to say it’s one of the BEST breakfast’s I’ve ever had, and as my food baby generally shows, I like me some breakfast. There seems to generally be a wait but it’s definitely worth pulling up an Adirondack and getting in line!

Manco and Manco’s. Don’t be afraid of the line streaming out the front door as these guys keeping it moving. This traditional east coast thin crust pizza is deserving of it’s well known fame as it’s delish! I recommend going simple with the pepperoni. You won’t be disappointed.

The Spotted Whale. I promise I did more than eat on vacation!!! Well, maybe only a little more but I was happy to stumble upon this shop’s new location on Asbury Avenue. An upscale gift shop where I found several new “gifts” for my home. They have everything from hostess gifts to small furnishings, rugs, throws, artworks and the list goes on. The best part is that I didn’t have to fit everything I wanted in our car, I can shop their wares from here in Chicago on their website!

What to pack?

Not much. Seriously, I tell myself that every year and every year I still overpack but I am getting better. Swimsuits, cover up’s, shorts, tees and flip flops are the way to go. Throw in a sweatshirt for when the sun drops and maybe a cute dress and wedges for a nicer dinner out in Avalon and you’re set.


One fairly important thing to note … if you’re like me and enjoy a beach drink or two or three… well you get the point. It’s important to know that Ocean City is a family town. Translation – Dry Town. Translation - No booze. Before you freak out… you just can’t buy it in the town and the restaurants are dry. You can however buy it from liquor stores in any of the neighboring towns and enjoy your adult bevvy’s at your beach house or on the beach in your fave opaque drinking vessel. If you’re driving to the shore, I recommend packing it up with your stuff. While you can buy it nearby, your fave $20 bottle of wine is likely $25+.

So, can you tell I like this place?!?! As a girl who grew up spending a few summer weeks a year at South Carolina beaches, I was initially skeptical and definitely very biased but this was the fourth year of this new tradition and it’s something I look forward to coming back to even as we join the line of cars headed inland at the end of the week. Till next year Snooki!

-          Jenni “not J.Woww” Farley

crossfit craziness...

I’ve been curious about the CrossFit craze for the past few years but was always a little scared to give it a whirl. A few weeks ago I decided to jump into the WOD-ers (sorry, I couldn’t resist) for a month to see if it was really as bad as it looked.

It is.

But I really LOVE it!

The truth is that there have been a few days I’ve almost cried or given up out of frustration (it sucks being the weakest or slowest one in the group) or honestly, exhaustion (16.5 was THE WORST), but there have been more days that I’ve been really proud of myself for accomplishing something in a few tries that I thought would take forever to happen (toes to bar...woot woot… pull up, you’re next!)

While I can see why it’s not for everyone, for now I can say that I’m hooked. At least until I finish my first RX workout…and my first handstand push up…. and muscle up… and...ok, so it may be a while… stay tuned! 

so long 2015...

Happy to be spending another NYE in Charleston! I never get tired of exploring the sights of this great city and all of the food and drink it has to offer. Stayed mostly old school this time with drinks at Henry's and oysters at Amen Street but also enjoyed an amazing brunch at Rarebit. Everything I tried there was fantastic but that Patty Melt I will definitely come back for!

#nyeinchucktown #charlestonsc #roomwithaview #francismarionhotel #marionsquare #emanuelafricanmethodistepiscopalchurch #neverforget 

#henrys #favoritename #marketmash #sometimesidrinkcocktails

#macsplace #chicagobarincharleston #siteofthebestsundayfundayever #jcrew #vans #anthropologie

#whyisthissmoking #itcomeswithawarning #nonclassydrinksinaclassybar #marketpavilionhotel #bestbluecheeseolivesever

#oystershooters #whynot #amenstreet #happynewyear

merry christmas...

I promise that this picture and the plaids weren't planned but since we all looked presentable at the same time for once (Henry even smiled!) I thought I'd share. I'm thankful to be spending a little down time down south in warm SC with my parents for the holidays. Hope you all enjoy yours!

#happyholidays #christmas2015 #krebschristmas #jcrew #dl1961 #shinola #lovewearingwhiteafterlaborday

prague?!? yes please....

I "had" to go on another last minute work trip to Prague this week and while it was short and sweet it is always welcome. I've been very vocal about how this is my favorite city in Europe and while there are others (yes, you Italy and, ok, fine France) that are beautiful for other reasons, Prague is one that took my breath away from my first visit almost 10 years ago and only gets better each time I visit. I'll admit that I'm not one to fawn over architecture but this place has me saying how beautiful the buildings are with every glance. Something about this place is truly special to me and this trip was no exception. Two hotels that I HIGHLY recommend are the Emblem Hotel and the Ventana Hotel Prague. The Emblem is a little more upscale but the Ventana feels a bit more like you're in a castle which is fitting for the city. The Emblem's restaurant and bar were very welcoming even as we stayed there late into the evening drinking them out of Cabernet.  #badamericans. Oh and don't forget to swing by the James Dean bar late night if you love dancing and cheesy music ... every hour brings another decade of hits!

#thanksfortheupgrade #americanairlines #aa #delaysarebetterwithchampagne #ragandbone #converse #loft #traveloutfit

#pragueatnight #swoon #iloveoldbridges

#lightsfestival #pragueatnight #oldtownsquare

#legendofthegolem #praguefolklore #hopehesnotinmyhotelroom

#nutellaforbreakfast #yogurtmakeseverythinghealthy #breakfastinbed

#roomwithaview #emblem #oldtownsquare #prague

easy like sunday morning...

Happy to be back home and enjoying a low key Sunday morning and a little kitchen time. Sometimes a simple egg sammy is all you need to brighten your day. Well that and a little Bailey's in your coffee!

Not Rocket Science Recipe - Thomas' Everything Bagel Thins; Nueske's Applewood Smoked Bacon; 2 Large Organic / Free Range Eggs; Sweet Onion. I use one cast iron pan to make everything. First, I cook the bacon over med high heat after starting the first batch in a cold pan. When the bacon is done I pour out the grease but leave the brown bits and throw in my raw chopped sweet onions. Once those are nice and browned I remove and then it's egg time. I've found my eggs come out best when I whisk in a little almond milk or regular milk if you prefer. I pour the mixture into the pan and wait less than a minute for the edges to look a little cooked and then start to mix adding salt and pepper and any cheese or other seasoning as I go. Generally the eggs take less than a couple of minutes to cook. You want to turn off the heat while they're still a tiny bit runny as they'll continue to cook as you plate them. Then it's time to put it all together with the toasted bagel thins. Hot sauce is always a good add! 

#baconeggandcheese #everythingbagels #bagelflats #mughoarder #starbucks #dreamingofcabo

#baconeggandcheese #everythingbagels #bagelflats #mughoarder #starbucks #dreamingofcabo

brews, beaches, bikes and a jeep...

That cute little ginger was right (Annie...duh)! The sun did come out and we were able to do a lot of exploring. We made the most of the island thanks to Young's Bicycle Shop's bike and jeep rentals. Enjoyed some micro brews at the Cisco Brewery, saw some beautiful homes and landscaping, made our way to six beaches (amazing how different they all are!) and did a little driving in the sand! Shout out to the Nantucket Inn with all it's charm and hospitality for making our visit all the more special. All in all a good couple of days and as we head away on the ferry I'm already missing this cool little island. 

#ciscobrewers #patiodrinking #daydrinkingproblems #sometimesidrinkbeer #whalestale #sharktracker #nantucketweekend2015 #raybans #jcrew

#ciscobrewers #patiodrinking #daydrinkingproblems #sometimesidrinkbeer #whalestale #sharktracker #nantucketweekend2015 #raybans #jcrew

#nantucketbeaches #bikingafterbrews #septembersunshine #youngsbicycleshop #nantucketweekend2015 #raybans #jcrew

#nantucketbeaches #bikingafterbrews #septembersunshine #youngsbicycleshop #nantucketweekend2015 #raybans #jcrew

#offroadin #redragtop #topless #agirlandherjeep #jeep #tomnevers #youngsbicycleshop #nantucketweekend2015

#offroadin #redragtop #topless #agirlandherjeep #jeep #tomnevers #youngsbicycleshop #nantucketweekend2015

#nantucketinn #nantucketweekend2015

#nantucketinn #nantucketweekend2015

rain rain go away...

Kicked off my birthday weekend getaway to Nantucket with a layover in Boston. The forecast for the next few days is looking a little dicey but I'm trying to stay positive and enjoy some of the city's best to eat and drink which of course means oysters, oysters and more oysters! Amazing lunch at Marliave - one of the oldest restaurants in Boston- and dinner at Neptune Oyster which may be my new favorite place...too bad it's so far from home!

#marliave #oystersandcharcuteriekindofday #historicbostoneatery #craftcocktails #jcrew #boston #nantucketweekend2015

#marliave #oystersandcharcuteriekindofday #historicbostoneatery #craftcocktails #jcrew #boston #nantucketweekend2015

#historicchurches #reflect #boston #trinitychurchboston #jcrew #nantucketweekend2015

#historicchurches #reflect #boston #trinitychurchboston #jcrew #nantucketweekend2015

#neptuneoyster #oystersfordays #boston #nantucketweekend2015 #guinness

#neptuneoyster #oystersfordays #boston #nantucketweekend2015 #guinness