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NYC Vacation Crew – 2016

Kelly, Kevin and Sandra at the Flatiron Building

Kelly, Kevin and Sandra at the Flatiron Building

We’ve made it to New York City, every year, for the past six years, except for 2015.

It was way past time to visit again so we grabbed some great flight and hotel deals and headed up at the end of February.

Our friend Sandra, came from DC, to spend four days in the city with us, and my friend Kelly also came for the day, on Saturday, from Pennsylvania.

Saturday was probably the coldest day we had during our visit but on Sunday and Monday, the temps almost hit 60 degrees! So, we were in down coats on Saturday and in flip flops on Monday.

Here’s a pic of Kelly, Kevin and Sandra in front of the Flatiron Building. I had always wanted to see the Flatiron building up close, but it was by chance that we ended up here! We had actually taken a cab from Chinatown to Flying Tiger Copenhagen, only to find that the store was closed due to flooding.

So, we headed back out into the blustery day to find another adventure.

Sandra showed me how to take better photos with my iPhone, so, thanks to her you can actually see their faces in this photo!


Sandra and her ubiquitous modeling pose!

Sandra is also the “Queen of posed photos!” There isn’t a photo that she looks bad in, and the back story on that is…she practices her poses! We had several good laughs over that!

Here is another good photo of Sandra by some flowers. I cut myself out of the photo, because I looked so ridiculous! Sandra, of course, looks perfect!

Sandra also showed up on our doorstep with cupcakes, to celebrate my Birthday! Thank God she did that otherwise we would have missed out on cupcakes entirely, this trip!

On Friday, Sandra, Kevin and I tried in vain to find wholesale bead shops along Broadway. Twenty years ago there were so many stores to choose from. Now most of the bead stores are in the tourist area, near Macy’s, and that means really high retail prices.

pomegranate-mash-webWe did visit an awesome crystal store on Friday, called Rock Star Crystals on 26th Street. I didn’t take any photos but they had a great selection of natural stones and crystals and are definitely worth a visit.

It seems that every time we are in New York, I find a new kind of flavored water to drink, and this time was no exception. I found this great product called “Mash”. The flavor I tried was Pomegranate/Blueberry and it was delicious.

Of course it isn’t available yet in Florida, but I did find it on Amazon.com!

More stories on our NYC adventures to follow!


25th Wedding Anniversary

It is so weird to write those words. It sounds like something that my Grandparents or Parents would celebrate. But today, Kevin and I celebrate it as well.

Over the years, when friends have asked us how long we had been married, we never could remember the exact year, so we always answered: “More than 10 years, but less than 15” and then “more than 15 years but less than 20.” People always seemed so surprised to hear that we had been married for that long. Thinking of how many years we celebrate today, surprises me as well.

Kevin Shawn Wilson & Mj Wilson Wedding Photo

Kevin & Mj – Sanibel Island – September 3, 1988

I met Kevin over 27 years ago, and 25 years ago, on September 3rd, 1988, we were married on Sanibel Island, at sunset, with just a Notary Public and one witness in place.

Considering how many large Weddings we have photographed over the years, our Wedding was the smallest and most intimate we had ever been to. But, we didn’t need anything other than ourselves that day.

Happy Anniversary to my husband, my Lover, my Friend. We have been through a lot together over the past 25 years and I am looking forward to whatever new adventures come our way, during the next 25 years.

Happy Fourth of July

I don’t know how half the year has gone by already, and while I have every intention of writing daily or weekly blog posts, and have dozens of images and ideas to upload, I never seem to find the time.

I always seem to get inspired to write when I remember a photo that has something to do with what is happening now.

So, in honor of today being the Fourth of July, I found these time lapse Sparkler photos, that my Father took at our home in Valley Lo, to commemorate the occasion.

If memory serves me correctly, these photos were not taken on the Fourth of July, but rather the night before my friend Kathy Casey and I, moved away from home and into our first apartment in Boston.

And yes, I was that tan back then!

Happy Fourth!

Sparkler Photos from Valley Lo

Kathy Casey & Mj (Kapustka) Wilson

Sparkler Photos from Valley Lo

Kathy Casey & Mj (Kapustka) Wilson

The Damned at The Marquee Club – July 1977

As I was going through old papers and diaries, I came across this Flyer, from The Marquee Club, in London, England.

I haven’t had the chance to write the blog post about this show yet, but back in July of 1977, when I was staying with my boyfriend (Mark Ferrick) in London, Mark, his Brother Jimmy and I went to The Marquee Club and apparently saw The Damned.

My diary says that I was a little frightened by the crowd that night, as it was the first time I had ever seen a punk band perform.

This Club Flyer had all sorts of interesting information about upcoming concerts and the bands that had previously performed at The Marquee Club, so I thought I would share it.

What a blast from the past! Do you recognize any of the band names? Did you notice that the admission cost that night was only one British Pound?!

The only reason I still had this Flyer was because all my diary pages from that trip were folded up inside it. Who knew that this Flyer would end up being more interesting than the Diary entries saved within it?!

I’ve uploaded large files so click on the Flyers to view the larger images.

I Survived the Great Boston Blizzard of 1978

When I was watching the news today, I heard about a super storm that was about to hit the Northeast, and they said it was going to be bigger than the Blizzard that hit Boston, back in 1978.

Hey! I lived through that Blizzard in Boston! I knew I had photos somewhere so I went and dug them up.

This story hails back to my Boston Years (Part 1) days, when my hometown friend Kathy Casey and I shared an apartment at 400 Marlborough Street. At the time I was a Dance Major at Boston Conservatory of Music and Kathy was at Emmanuel College.

We ventured out into the city, on several different days, during the Blizzard. We hit the Boston Commons, Faneuil Hall Marketplace and the streets and alleys around our neighborhood. I read through my diary and it says we lost power the first day, but we lived in this small basement apartment, and it was really well insulated, so we didn’t feel the cold that much. Diary says that friends came to stay with us during the Blizzard because our apartment was warmer than theirs.

We had a small Grocery Store on the corner of Mass Ave. and Marlborough Street called The Marlborough Market (natch). I remember waiting in line, to get into the store, a day or two after the Blizzard had subsided, and there wasn’t anything to buy.

Boston Blizzard of 1978It didn’t seem to bother us much because we were young and national disasters just didn’t alarm us. We didn’t prepare for anything and it seemed that the cocktails just kept flowing no matter what the situation was (as is evidenced by Kathy with her cigarette and beer on top of the snowhill that is higher than a car!)

I have a funnier story than this one that unfortunately doesn’t have any photos to accompany it.

Kathy and I had just moved to Boston in August. We both had grown up in the suburbs of Chicago and this was Kathy’s first time living away from home. I had already lived on a college campus in Colorado, so needless to say, moving to Boston was moving to the “Big City” for both of us. We didn’t know what to expect living in a city, but I remember as part of our “security measures” for city living, we both had whistles, that we could wear around our necks, that we had received while being in a Senior Leader program in High School. So, that was our planned “protection” while living on the mean streets of Boston.

A couple of weeks after moving to Boston (and months before the Blizzard hit), Boston had a complete black out. We had no idea what was going on. Our lights went out, we lived in a basement apartment, so we thought someone was coming in to kill us. We tried looking out our one street level window but we couldn’t see anything. We decided to be brave and venture out into the street, to see what we could find out.

Along with the whistles we both had around our necks, Kathy suggested we also take large kitchen cutting knives with us for protection! So, picture this…two girls, in their late teens, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt with a whistle around their necks, and each carrying an 8″ knife in her hands!

We hit the street, ready for action, knives raised against our would-be attackers.

We quickly found out there was nothing to be afraid of. The entire city was blacked out and hundreds of people were coming out of their apartments, so it almost became like a street party. That is, until some poor soul came upon us, on darkened Marlborough Street, and saw our 8″ long knives, glistening in the moonlight! A loud “Jesus Christ” came out of his mouth and he ran off as fast as he could, to get away from those two chicks with the blades!

We decided to walk down to Mass Ave and use the pay phones to call home. I remember family and boyfriends being very concerned for our well being, but by then we were seasoned pros, living in the city! It was hard hiding those damn knives though, while we made our phone calls, and I’m happy to say that neither the knives (or the whistles) ever had to be brought out again.

The Balmain Ultimate Pin Bag

I didn’t know I wanted it, until I found it. Once I found it, I had to have it.

I was out shopping a few weeks ago, and walked up to a rack of handbags. On this one shelf, three or four handbags back, I saw red leather and safety pins sticking out. My heart skipped a beat and I said out loud: “Oh Hell No – That can’t be a Balmain?”

If you’ve read my blog you know that every time an item catches my eye, it’s usually a Balmain. A previous post on my blog highlighted a Red Leather Jacket by Balmain, (that I had seen in Vogue Magazine), that had studs and safety pins all over it. Click here to see that post. I adored that Balmain Red Leather Jacket but didn’t like the hefty price tag of $25,000 that came with it.

Back to the shopping trip…Quite astonished at my find, I reached in, grabbed the bag, pulled it out and almost fainted.

It was a Balmain…it was called the Ultimate Pin Bag, and it was the handbag version of that leather jacket that I loved.

I was afraid to look at the price tag on the handbag. If the matching leather jacket was $25,000, how much would the handbag cost? Would I be crazy enough to buy the handbag, if the price was near that of the leather jacket? I’m not that crazy, or that rich, so I steeled myself for disappointment, all the while thinking about how I could take out a bank loan to buy it!

I found the price tag…I turned it over…and found out that the retail price of the bag was 10% of the jackets price. Whew! That was definitely within my price range.

Then there was a sale sticker on the bag that took the price down to 55% off retail.

By this time I was sweating…how could I be so lucky to find this bag? How long had it been sitting on that shelf, without anyone grabbing it up?

My salesgirl asked if I was going to buy it to sell it? I told her: “Hell No! This Balmain is for me!

I went up to the cash register, to pay for the bag, and by mistake they gave me an additional 30% discount, off the lowest price, which was not supposed to be available on Designer Handbags. I held my breath, praying that the sale would go through, and when it did, I walked away with this Balmain Handbag for 70% off the retail price!

For those of you who don’t purchase Luxury Handbags, this sounds like a ridiculous price to pay for a Handbag. For all the Handbag “Ho’s”, who read my blog, you are freaking out to learn that I bought a red leather Balmain handbag for 70% off retail price!

Great finds/sales like these always make me think of Georgina, my girlfriend from Australia. Georgie was a Fashion Connoisseur, who had a wardrobe of Designer clothing, shoes and handbags that would make anyone envious. She was also the only girl who could keep up with me, and shop nonstop for eight hours, and then go back for more! One time she got blisters on her feet because we had been walking so much, but she didn’t complain once. I remember taking Georgie to a Burberry outlet store in Las Vegas, because she had never been to a Burberry outlet. As we combed through the racks, she asked me: “Mj, what does 75% off mean?” I replied that it meant 75% off the already discounted retail price. Georgie looked pale when the reality of that comment hit her but then she rallied back and made a real dent in their merchandise that day.

Georgie was also the only person I knew who couldn’t wait to hear about or see photos of all the new handbags or shoes I had found on sale. She was constantly amazed at the great deals I found, and she took advantage of a lot of them! Even though Classic Chanel Jumbo Flaps almost never go on sale, Georgie was certain that I could find one for her, sooner or later.

I did find her that Classic Chanel Jumbo Flap on sale, but sadly, I have lost touch with Georgie. Now, I don’t have anyone I can call up or email about all these great deals that I find, and that is very sad.

However, had Georgie been with me on this shopping trip, we would have ended up having a “Battle to the Death” over this Ultimate Pin Bag by Balmain! It would not have been a pretty sight to see us fighting over this handbag, but once the dust settled, we probably would have ended up coming to a compromise, and “sharing” ownership of the handbag!

I don’t know if Georgie ever reads my blog, but if she does, this message is for her:

“Eat your Heart out GG – this Balmain is mine!”

I made a video in my hotel room, the night I found the Balmain Ultimate Pin Bag. Click below to watch the video.