Wednesday, December 31, 2014

happy new year, long island!

Wishing you coastal cheer all year! Let's make 2015 the best year yet. Thanks for the over 15,000 hits to coastal village girl. It's been a pleasure sharing this journey with you. There are no shortage of reasons that Long Island is such a wonderful place to live! :-)

Friday, December 26, 2014

coastal freebie #7: outfit planner printable

Happy Holidays, Long Island! I hope Santa has treated you well. ;-) Here is the newest of my planner printables, designed for our lovely local ladies, who manage to put such style and panache into their outfits, whether it's a New Year's party, a trip to Yankee Stadium, or an impromptu trip to the beach.

For personal and non-commercial use only. If you use it or pin it I'd be absolutely tickled pink with a comment, tweet, or link back. :)))

To download, click below to be taken to the Google Doc:
Outfit Planner printable

Thursday, December 25, 2014

merry christmas, long island!

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy Christmas filled with love and wonderful memories!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

coastal freebie #6: free 2015 at-a-glance printable

Thumbnail preview

For personal and non-commercial use only. If you use it or pin it I'd be absolutely tickled pink with a comment, tweet, or link back. :)))

To download, click below to be taken to the Google Doc:
2015 Year-at-a-Glance printable

Friday, December 12, 2014

coastal cheap and chic #8: getting organized w. kokuyo campus B5

Happy Holidays, Long Island! It's hard to believe Christmas and Hanukkah are almost upon us. For many, gearing up for the new year means purchasing a new planner. (Or if you are a cheapskate like me who can't rationalize dropping $50-90 on the fancy planners you admire online, you might consider scouring the internet for free printables or making one yourself with a word processing template. Hence, the 2015 freebies that will follow in subsequent posts ;-).

Confession: while I'm something of an organizational nut, as a child I was very disorganized. (Read: third-grade was spent forgetting my math homework 50% of the year). As a teen and later adult, overcompensating for that trait became important to me. Whether you work full-time, go to school, or are a stay-at-home parent or caregiver, the need to be organized is something we can all relate to!

I've been using a similar version to this, as well as homemade monthly, weekly, work, fitness and faith pages in my Kokuyo B5 Campus binder, ($13-15). While this printable is sized for 8.5x11 paper, I actually print everything for my needs at JIS-B5.

Here's why.

Over the years, I've tried:
1. Cute, standard three-ring binders from Walmart & Target (too big and bulky for a purse; seldom lay flat for writing; pretty binders with metal edges are too expensive)
2. Collegiate academic planners (too small; flimsy covers that frequently peel)
3. Bullet Journaling in notebooks (still love & use it, but want to do so in a modified capacity)

Here's what I love about using the Kokuyo B5 Campus binder for my planner now.
-extremely sturdy, whisper-soft binding that easily opens and locks closed
-well-constructed yet flexible cover
-minimalistic, frosted design which comes in numerous colors (so you can customize your inside pages as you please!)
-lays flat easily
-size-wise, B5 is capable of fitting in large purse
-the Campus note refills that Kokuyo manufactures are great for incorporating journaling

(The only con I have found with using the Kokuyo is hole punching planner pages by hand... XD)

32lb paper seems to hold up well to printing double-sided, color pages.

I supplement my planner with:
1. Studio 112 post-its, washi tape and notebooks ($1 or less, Centereach Jo-Ann Fabric. Use the 50% coupons!) They even have cute nautical-themed notepads & mermaid-scale washi tape.
2. Semikolon Semi-Opaque Page Flags (a bit of a splurge at $7.99, Westbury Container Store)
3. Adhesive Pen/Pencil Holder ($3.99, Westbury Container Store). You can get a similar Erin Condren holder at the Lake Grove Staples for $2.99.
4. Cardstock mini-file folder (price unknown but negligble, Greenvale Paper Source). I use it for migrating and containing the monthly work to-do pages.

How do you keep it all together, Long Island?

Monday, November 24, 2014

montauk point + candied anchor.

Just another Manic Monday...

Who's with me that this weather is crazy? Almost 70 degrees here in Town of Smithtown... really, Mother Nature?! 

(I'm starting to think this cutie pie never showed up, announcing the cold weather I thought we'd be doomed to til April...)

In contrast, remember what a blustery day Friday was? For some reason, I woke up feeling compelled to drive to Montauk...

... and so I did.

Even though this bench seems peacefully lonely, it was actually gusting like crazy. (In fact, it was so windy I could barely open my car door!)

Something about the ashen color of the brush against the jewel-like water seemed particularily striking.

Sea, sky and brush went on forever... Very few places have such a hallowing effect on me as Montauk does.

Town was prett quiet, too. A few things caught my eye...

The adorable little place with the cheery striped awnings beckoned...

The Candied Anchor is a sweet shop that opened in March of this year. Had a nice chat with the shopkeeper, who was as sweet as her wares. They have an eclectic mix of things, including local products as well as more unusual finds.

I went with the Mint Chocolate Malt Balls, which were from Ireland. True to the shopkeeper's description, it was an airy, crunchy bit of Thin Mint heaven. Reasonably priced, this is a great place to find a unique gift (or indulge your own sweet tooth) without breaking the bank.

With this being the off-season for many of the East End businesses that are open year-round, what better time to patronize said shops, avoid the crazy mall lines and get a loved one something unique for the holidays this year?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

irish coffee pub.

I have long-wanted to visit the Irish Coffee Pub, the larger-than-life structure that offers intimate meals in East Islip. It's been a favorite of the Cardinal family (who are Irish) for years. I had an recent, lovely weekday catch-up with DH's family there (and an opportunity to visit a dear family member flew from across the country for the NYC marathon.)

The scones were absolutely fantastic--- I had to get a doggie bag for them. (Gauche? Yes. Smart? Yes. They were that good.) Irish Coffee Pub also offers a nice, traditional brown bread. Since it was lunchtime, we all ordered sandwiches. The portions were really generous and also required a doggie bag. My sweet potato fries (and the other Cardinals' french fries) were tasty and crisp--- not at all greasy or soggy. I ordered a Turkey Club on Rye, while other orders included a Reuben and The Irishman's Dream. We were all very happy with our selections (including our out-of-town guest whose opinion should have some gravitas as she grew up in Ireland!)

The Irish Coffee Pub on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

buon appetito! a trip to iavarone brothers*

Hello there, Long Island! As we brave this newest Arctic Blast, I will attempt to draw your attention to a fonder cold weather association: comfort food. (More specifically, Italian food). This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Iavarone Brothers in Wantagh. A small family-owned and operated chain of gourmet food stores (and cafe) with origins in a high-quality pork shop, Iavarone Brothers just celebrated the tenth anniversary of their Wantagh location. There was no shortage of samples and festivities.

Chris, a fourth generation member of the Iavarone Brothers family, graciously provided a tour of the market, highlighting some the features which make this place unique. It was clear that a passion for food runs in this family and reflects in the quality of their offerings.

One of the most striking features at Iavarone Brothers is the percentage of food made in-house (or, in the case of the pork sausage, at IB's own nearby facility in Maspeth). The quantity of fresh sauces, dips, pastries, pastas, meats and prepared foods is staggering. This hand-on approach also enables them to embrace the culinary niche of seasonal cooking, while retaining traditional Italian flavors. A prime example of this is their heavenly Autumn Lasagna, filled with butternut squash and sausage: it's smooth and not overly sweet, allowing the flavors to speak for themselves. As was the case with the other prepared foods I tried (Cauliflower Oreganata and Cornbread Honey Crisp Apple Stuffing), the Lasagna was naturally amenable to reheating, making it a great choice for anything from casual mid-week takeout to a formal holiday dinner (which they are popular for catering).

Fresh produce and seafood are another hallmark of Iavarone Brothers, as they draw from the bounty of the nearby Hunts Point Market as well as the farms and waters of Long Island. In the seafood department, this was reflected through an eclectic mix ranging from elusive, fresh, wild-caught fish to LI's own Peconic Bay Scallops (currently in season).

Amongst their extensive cheese department was a rare find: a 2002 Reggiano Parmigiano which, true to Chris' description, held up considerably and is well-suited for grating. We've been enjoying it with all of our home-cooked meals this week.

If you visit their Bakery department, be sure to pick up a cronut (that blessed, flaky, buttery goodness that makes your taste buds smile and your brain say, "go easy") and a loaf of their fantastic Italian bread.

Preserving old traditions while building upon four generations of quality, Iavarone Brothers is not only a market to shop at--- it's a culinary experience!

Thanks again for your generosity, Chris and Pat!

Iavarone Brothers on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 14, 2014

highway 97 scenic byway

On Columbus Day weekend, I decided to take a little drive that I'd been dreaming about since the late summer issue of C&T: Highway 97. No regrets: from the old Roebling bridge to the companionship of the Delaware to the winding journey through Hawk's Nest, the whole experience was utterly transportive.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

an interview with the long island theatre collective.

As I continue to scour the web for local blogs, The Long Island Theatre Collective caught my eye. A relatively new entry into the performing arts scene here, the people of the LITC are committed to sharing their art and engaging our local community. These intentions were all the more apparent as they expressed themselves in a recent interview. Responding for The Collective are Adam Zurbruegg (Chairman, Board of Directors), Ian Sullivan (Artistic Director, Actor), Ilana Landecker (Board of Directors, Actor/Director), and Tom Brown (Actor).

Ian Michael Sullivan (Tupolski), Tom Brown (Katurian), Chris Cuoccio (Ariel)
Photo Credit: Long Island Theatre Collective

1. Give us a brief history of the Long Island Theatre Collective, and how it came about. Why choose Long Island and not the City?

AZ: Most of us trained together in college or in high school, and always dreamed of starting our own company, to produce the type of work we feel is important. The reason we chose Long Island is essentially the same reason that you asked the question: because so many young artists choose to work in the City. As a result, we think Long Island has been underserved. There’s an enthusiastic audience here and a ton of local talent to collaborate with.

TB: Long Island is our home. It needs representation in the artistic world, and we’re going to do our best to make that happen. The City is a cultural Mecca, yes, but it’s not everything. Our goal is to provide Long Island with something impressive and professional, yet (and almost more importantly) accessible and fun.

2. How did you determine the repertoire for the current season? To the untrained eye, it appears to be a balanced selection of old, new, and different.

IS: “Balance” is exactly what we were aiming for. We think it is important to produce new works in order to keep pushing the art form forward. At the same time, we love the timeless stories of Shakespeare, Dickens, and the like—but we won’t produce any stuffy “museum piece” productions of the classics. Instead, we adapt these works to make them focused, engaging, and relevant.

IL: We want to do the kind of work that isn’t being done on Long Island—or anywhere, really—whether that’s a new play or a new interpretation of something classic.

3. Tell us about the New Plays Festival.

AZ: We’re really excited about the New Plays Festival, because we have no idea what it will be! We’re putting out a call to local writers to submit their own original plays. Writers whose plays are selected will get the opportunity to collaborate closely with us and see their work produced on April 17-18. More information can be found at

IL: It’s an opportunity to build and strengthen the collective. We want to create a place for artists, especially Long Island artists, to create and nurture their work. The collective is everyone: the artists, the audience, the donors and businesses, and all of Long Island. It's a great opportunity for us to get to know our community a little better, and for the community to get to know us a little better as well.

TB: The New Plays Festival, in a way, sums up what we as a collective are all about: telling stories. Anyone with a story to tell gets to hear their words come to life; a fantastic opportunity for writers and for us as a company. We want to ignite new relationships and collaborate with as many creative and passionate artists as possible.

4. Given the intensely collaborative nature of the performing arts, is/are there any particular local organizations, vendors, institutions, craftsmen, etc. who you find yourselves working with or receiving support from? What local spaces will you be using this year for your productions?

AZ: We’re fortunate to have a great network of performers, directors, writers, technicians, and designers, including professionals who have worked across the country and on Broadway. Mostly, we are indebted to our donors—Long Islanders who believe in what we’re trying to do and have provided overwhelming support.

IS: The Bellmore Presbyterian Church is our home this season and they’ve been so accommodating and easy to work with. They treat us like family, and we’re so grateful for the beautiful spaces we get to play in. We also have a great relationship with Holy Trinity Diocesan High School in Hicksville. In future seasons,we’re really eager to get into the local schools. I am a huge believer in educational theatre, and believe it can be an inspiring and positive influence on all young people's lives. We’d also love to tour the beautiful parks and beaches of Long Island with outdoor productions.

5. To draw a parallel to the world of story, it seems like Long Island is a "character" itself, and pretty complex one at that! Having lived here a relatively short time, I've observed that within what is a small geographic area there is quite a bit of subtlety (North Shore, South Shore, Nassau, Suffolk, East End, etc. Of course if one ignores municipal boundaries, then there's also many neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens). As many of your team have grown up or made significant memories here, what are your thoughts/opinions on the "character" of Long Island?

IS: You’re right. There are so many unique neighborhoods and areas that make up our little island, so many different economic conditions, social institutions, viewpoints, ideas, and cultures living together in a relatively small area—but one thing binds us together. This is our home. This is where we eat, and live, and fall in love, and raise our families. The stories that mirror our experiences and our journeys can strengthen that bond. LITC is all about telling those stories.

TB: The "character" of Long Island helped shape us as we grew up, and inspired us to be creative, impassioned individuals. So what better place for LITC to "grow up"?

6. It's also the people who make the place. Are there any Long Islanders who have inspired your team artistically? (If so, who and how?)

IS: Walt Whitman (the man, not the mall) is the original poet laureate of Long Island, and one of my favorite poets of all time. There’s Billy Joel… cliché, I know, but no one escapes that love for our piano man. I think of Brand New, and the rest of the Long Island music scene that was blowing up when we were in high school. It made us think we could be something bigger than we were. Most importantly, our friends and family and teachers. I was blessed with amazing artistic and creative-minded parents who have always supported me. My teachers were incredibly inspiring and their lessons have stayed with me for my entire life. And my friends have saved me countless times. They make the collective possible, and they are the reason I am so passionate about it.

7. Are there any favorite local haunts that get the LITC's creative juices flowing? (A place such as a diner, cafe, pub, etc.)

IS: The Lighthouse Diner in Wantagh is like our unofficial headquarters. We also love to go out and sing karaoke at Beery’s, take a walk in Twin Lakes Preserve, watch the sunset in Wantagh Park by the pier, and drive down the Ocean Parkway with the radio blasting. 

8. With the holidays around the corner, undoubtedly there will be interest in your production of "A Christmas Carol". Where can we purchase tickets?

AZ: Yes, A Christmas Carol is going to be very exciting. We’ll be performing it inside the chapel of Bellmore Presbyterian Church—a beautiful and intimate setting for our new adaptation. Tickets will be available to the general public beginning December 1 at We encourage everyone to sign up for our email alerts to keep informed about ticket sales, production news, interviews with the cast, and more.

Kevin Mundy (Michal), Tom Brown (Katurian), Chris Cuoccio (Ariel)
Photo Credit: Long Island Theatre Collective

Thanks for your time, Adam, Ian, Ilana and Tom. 

Hope to see you soon at one of their upcoming performances, Long Island!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

pentimento redux.

Pentimento is one of those restaurants which has really captured our hearts: each visit feels like a real treat. Every dish we've tried they've nailed, and last night was no exception. 

Jay Cardinal started with the beloved Plimouth Gin-Dolan Vermouth-Caperberry Martini, always a homerun the expert hands of David Marzano. The Pate Bergese was unbelievably smooth. DH delighted in the Veal Ravioli, while I found Salmone Con I Peperoni flawless and well-constructed expected.

Friday, October 31, 2014

sugarloaf, warwick & pine island.

One of my absolute favorite places to visit at least once a year is the artisan village of Sugarloaf in Chester, NY. My mom has followed the work of some of the veteran presences here since they came in the 1970's and early 80's, while new shops pop up all the time and mostly integrate well into the fabric of the existing village aesthetic. Here are some of my favorite places to visit in Sugarloaf!

The Cornerstones.

Exposures Gallery.
Photographer Nick Zungoli has a way of capture the Hudson and Delaware Valleys at any season like no one I've ever seen. His autumn images in particular are positively transportive. A "do not miss" place.

Mary Endico.
Mary's body of watercolors is extensive and ever-evolving. She has some subtle, linear nature scenes that reminds me of Japanese calligraphy, while many of her large abstract paintings present a warm scaffolding.

Bostree Gallery.
The pottery of the Boswell family is divinely beautiful and runs the gamut from more traditional pieces to some edgy, more contemporary ones. I wanted to buy all of the blue and green pieces--- they were simply stunning.

The Candle Shop.
THE place to go for traditional, homemade candles, which are sold several sizes and dyed in an array colors. While most of the candles are unscented, you can purchase them in one scent, and they are absolutely lovely. I bought a pair of deep mustard colored tapers which look amazing in our dining room.

Rosner Soap.
The plethora of natural, handmade soap options here will boggle your mind. If you can't make a trip up to Sugarloaf, you can order Rosner Soap on-line or head out to Greenport to the White-Weathered Barn, a 2014 CVG Star winner.

The New Kids on the Block.

Visiting this store is a little like stepping inside a physical Etsy boutique. There are a host of homemade gifts, jewellery, etc. by various craftswomen. A funky little place worth stopping at!

Laura's Sweets Specialty Cupcakes.
I adore this place. Their cupcakes are simply amazing, especially the seasonal offerings which rotate.

18th Century Furniture and Three French Hens.
In addition to their adorable chickens which roam about the streets of Sugarloaf, this place has a beautiful, airy feel to it (which is good because it's filled to the brim with amazing furniture ---both custom pieces and antiques--- home goods, and handmade children's clothes and accessories). This is a great place to do your holiday shopping, especially for the trendy little ones in your life.

While you're in the area, be sure to drive south in to the old, pretty town of Warwick as well as Pine Island (which is not in fact an island). I regret not taking pictures of Pine Island but hope that if your travels take you into this region you will take a brief detour here, as rich color of its soil makes for some truly unusual and beautiful scenery. Click here and you'll see why.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

adirondacks, part two: lake placid.

A view of Mirror Lake from our balcony.

Lake Placid has long been a go-to respite for us Nuthatch-Cardinals. While we are hardly the experts on the region, each trip up has afforded us an opportunity to try something new, be it a hotel, restaurant, shop or experience. Here are some of our favorite go-to places we've accumulated over the years.

The Black Bear Restaurant.
(Note: Some of the blog posts on Urbanspoon may reflect a prior ownership at this space). Simple, uncomplicated, Mediterranean-influenced cuisine that will satisfy even your pickiest eater. I ordered the local rainbow trout, which was cooked to perfection with a balanced seasoning that highlighted this delicate fish. What puts Black Bear over the top is the customer service. Every staff member we encountered was totally dedicated to customer service. A slight peccadillo with the placement of the table reservation became an unexpected complimentary round of after drinks. Even a busy crowd made no dimple in the expediency of the service. Siddle up to a lake view table for a romantic date, or bring the whole family for a comfortable and casual environment.
Black Bear Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Personal Expressions.
If you're in need of a little "me" time, head over to Personal Expressions for a cut and color with Karen. Her detail-oriented approach really pays off: Karen did a beautiful job creating dimensional color and matched my existing color with ease. Staff at the front desk were very sweet and gracious. In addition to hair care, they offer a wide range of services. Don't forget to say "hi" to Crush!

Sugar Shack Dessert Company. 
This diminutive little shop is home to some pretty delectable cupcakes and hot chocolate.

Great Adirondack Brewing Company. 
Disregard the scary antique tchochkes that pervade this place and go straight for the beer. They are home to an egalitarian mother of a beer, the Leaf Changer Pumpkin Ale (5.3%) whose equal attention to all her children manifests in just the right balance between spice, pumpkin and well, beer. Leaf Changer is a game changer: even Mr. Cardinal (ever my loveable scrooge of pumpkin-flavored anything) liked it. The Adirondack Abbey Ale (7.0%) was also quite intriguing, with its prominent flavors of clove and banana (which strangely worked well). This beer ended up being sweeter than we expected, so keep that in mind depending on your preferences.

Great Adirondack Steak & Seafood Company on Urbanspoon

Adirondack Decorative Arts and Crafts. 
I simply love this place, which has an extensive selection of regional furniture and home goods. We keeping come back for the pine-scented candles and incense. The quality and quantity of light fixtures here is stunning, with Arts and Crafts style wrought-iron pieces that could even be integrated into a home downstate.

Monday, October 27, 2014

coastal cheap and chic #8: octoburgerfest.

Twice this month I've cried (or feigned) laziness and resorted to Bobby's Burger Palace for take-out. Quite simply, the Pacific Northwest Burger (also known as the Burger of the Month) has laid a hold on me and won't let go. For $8.50, this sumptuous, truly autumnal offering features white american cheese and impeccably marinated cremini mushrooms in a red wine barbeque sauce. Order it while you can, fellow Smith Haven locals, and you won't regret it. I pair it with the Mattebella NV Famiglia, whose Cab Franc presence both cuts and compliments this indulgent burger. (Note: I prefer BBP medium-rare, but it's still quite tasty to consume at medium-well).

adirondacks, part one: 87, 9W and Chapel Pond

There's something about that climb up I-87 that makes one breathe a little deeper, a little more clearly, and with a little more ease. (I suspect half of it is the air quality, and the other half the statuesque multitudes of pine trees interspersed with oak and birch that dot those incomprehensible mountains).

Peeling off 9W into the Keene Valley region provides our first more intimate glance of the region.
Our first stopping point was Chapel Pond.

As I watched Mr. Cardinal show off his third baseman-worthy arm with a few errant pebbles, it truly felt as if we were the only people in the world. 

It was shocking to discover the land mass of the Adirondack Park Preserve: larger than the State of New Jersey! I suppose there's a reason we're called the Empire State...