In 2008 my family had the amazing opportunity to move to New Jersey for a year.
I LOVE New Jersey. I wouldn’t trade my time there for anything in the world.
I was happy to move back “home” to Texas at the end of that year, but I will forever have a warm spot in my heart for Long Branch, NJ.
We lived right on the beach. Like, literally, a football field away from the shore. Our apartment was on the 4th floor of a complex that had businesses on the bottom and apartments on the top. All of our windows faced the ocean and it was just a breathtaking view.
In that year we traveled almost every weekend. As much as we could physically cram into each weekend. I have toured most of the East Coast and been to Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Deleware, DC, and Virginia. We lived about an hour and 10 minutes from The City (New York City) via NJ Transit. (I love love love NYC!).
Although the water was often too cold to get into, we loved going to the beach. I don’t think I’ll ever like Texas beaches as much as I use to now that I’ve been to the east coast.
New Jersey has a bad rap as being the “Armpit of America” (and in some places rightfully so!) but where we lived was beautiful and absolutely amazing.
We spent lots of time at the shore over the summer. The Spring and Fall were much to chilly to go to the shore, so from June to August everyone and I mean EVERYONE – Benny’s included, would pack up and head to the beach!
I am not generally an overly sentimental person. I don’t save ticket stubs or playbills. I don’t collect anything. But I knew my time in New Jersey was limited and I wanted to remember those moments forever.
When I think of New Jersey, I think of the SHORE. (Not the BEACH! 🙂 ) I knew exactly what I wanted to bring home with me that would make me smile with my memories every time I looked at it.
I decided I’d bring the shore home with me.
One day before we moved away the kids and I took a stroll down our beach and collected sand and shells. I put all my sand in a large zip-lock where it has sat for the past two years.
(I’m sure it harbors bacteria, but whatevs…!)
I also collected a decent amount of shells that I washed really well and then placed in a glass jar that I had.
I’ve never loved the presentation of my NJ shells, but for a long time I didn’t know what else to do with them.
I copied my dear friend Emily over at Decor Chick by making a few of her Dollar Store Hurricanes. Well, actually I did it the super lazy way and have never properly attached the bases to the vases.
I filled each of the vases with sand and my shell collection.
For now they are sitting on top of my piano – mainly because the piano is pretty much one of the only flat surfaces I currently have. (I seriously need to buy some buffets, dressers, book shelves, and an entire bedroom suite for myself.)
When I put them on top of the piano I just set two of them on top of the glass candle sticks. Maybe eventually I’ll actually glue them together.
Another awesome thing about this piano room is that it literally is THE WORST lit room in the entire house. I could not get a decent picture in here if my life depended on it.
I like the way this display works so much better than the zip lock I had before, but I really love the hurricanes and am not sure I want to use them permanently for this display. Either I’m going to go purchase more vases and candle sticks, or I may end up changing my shell display again in the future.
I’m just glad I’ve finally got them displayed though! Whenever I look at them, I smile and think of this:
What a fun ride we had!