The Twisted History of Funnel Cake

 

Written by: Maureen Devenny

Put a pin anywhere on a map of the world, and chances are good that wherever your pin lands has a local fried dough delicacy. From doughnuts (New York City) to churros (Spain) to zeppoles (Italy) and beyond, fried dough is popular all over the world.
If your pin were to land on the Jersey shore, that fried dough delicacy would, of course, be funnel cake. The thing that sets funnel cake apart from its fried dough brothers and sisters is its characteristic shape. The individual strands of dough clump together to form a nest of nooks and crannies that catch dusty powdered sugar, which is the other hallmark of funnel cake.

Recipes for funnel cake can be traced back to Europe as early as the 1390s. Funnel cake came to United States when Germans settled in Pennsylvania in the 1700s (they later became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch). They made funnel cake by pouring batter into a bowl with a hole in the bottom, and then holding that bowl over a pot of hot oil. The cakes were finished when they were golden brown, and then sprinkled with powdered sugar and salt (hey that sounds pretty good–we’re going to put a dash of salt on our next funnel cake and report back!).

Funnel cake really got put on the map when it was served at the Kutztown Folk Festival in 1950, a huge celebration of Pennsylvania Dutch culture. The funnel cakes sold like, well, hot cakes, and started to be served at more festivals with street food.

However it got to the shore, funnel cake is tailor-made for sharing on a bench as seagulls squawk overhead. And we know when we get a plate of steaming, crispy, powdered-sugary funnel cake, it’s “history”!
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What’s in a Name? The History of Salt Water Taffy

 

Written by: Maureen Devenny

 

No visit to the shore is complete without salt water taffy, the colorful and sweet seashore candy with the unusual name. With a name like salt water taffy, there has got to be a great story behind it!

 

One story goes that, in the 1880s, a storm hit Atlantic City, causing waves to wash across the boardwalk. A taffy cart parked on the boardwalk got drenched with ocean water. The morning after the storm, the cart’s owner opened for business to discover that the taffy inside had gotten wet. A little girl came up to the cart to buy a piece, and the owner said he had only “salt water taffy” to sell to her. Another version of the story omits the storm, and instead says that the owner did not fully seal the cart one night, so salt air got into the taffy and changed the consistency.

 

Salt Water Taffy

This postcard, dated around 1880, shows vacationers purchasing salt water taffy at Fralinger’s. Photo from what-when-how.com.

 

A third explanation is that renaming regular taffy as “salt water taffy” was a marketing tactic for candy sellers. The thought was that vacationers and day-trippers would purchase “salt water taffy” as a beach-specific souvenir to bring back home. Makes sense, right?

 

Although the third explanation is the least interesting, it is probably the right one. Especially after you learn that there is no actual salt water in salt water taffies!

 

Regardless of the disagreement among origin stories, we can all agree that salt water taffy is a delicious part of any beach trip. Don’t leave the shore without buying a box to enjoy as a year-round reminder of summer!

 

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Perfect Beach Sweatshirt

 

Although beach time may be limited to weekends only in the fall, there is one great thing about hitting the beach with your pumpkin spice coffee on a lazy Sunday morning—the outfit. Instead of slightly dreading getting into a bikini in the summer and debating whether you will or won’t keep your cover-up on when you go for a walk along the water, you’re now lucky enough to toss on a perfect, comfy, cozy sweatshirt that best of all hides last night’s ice cream sundae and this morning’s breakfast sandwich (please don’t tell me I’m alone on this one).

 

In case you can’t tell, I am all about the sweatshirt beach attire. It’s perfect to add on to denim shorts or some cropped leggings and really exudes weekend relaxation. In fact, as I am writing this article, I am wearing an oversized super-soft white fleece sweatshirt with Victoria’s Secret black leggings, sipping my coffee, wanting nothing else in this world.

 

I recently decided to up my sweatshirt game this fall and perused Shoptiques to find some cute, affordable sweatshirts to add into my wardrobe. In case you’re not already looking through Shoptiques on a weekly (read: daily) basis, it’s this awesome website that sells clothing from boutiques all over. That means you can find more unique items than what your friends are rocking and also save on some costs as they offer a wide variety of price points. The three photos above are the ones I found to be most necessary to purchase.

 

First is the Vintage Havana colorblock raglan burnout hoodie that ships from Lately Liz in Massachusetts. I love this one because the burnout effect really captures the whole California-beach vibe while the natural drawstrings scream surfer girl. Plus it’s only $38.00, which is a great deal for something you can wear in the fall through the winter. Check it out here!

 

The next one is called the “Vanilla Swirl Sweatshirt” from the Loft Boutique in Georgia. If the name alone doesn’t sell you on this one, take a look at this perfect sand-like color palette, the beachy dip-dye effect, and the fact that it 1. Has a pocket and 2. Covers the bum. What else could you want? Buy it here for only $39.99.

 

Lastly I wanted to offer you girls something a bit easier that would really work in your favor if you ran into your crush (or ex!) at the coffee shop on your way to the beach. This Hearts & Hips grey dolman top ships from Uptown Retro Girl in Indiana and is super flattering if you want to disguise your tummy and show off the remnants of your Summer 2015 leg tan. And the best part is that it’s $19.99 and you will literally want to wear it everywhere. Buy it here!

 

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History of: Lucy the Elephant

 

Written by: Maureen Devenny

Elephants and the beach go together like peanut butter and…soy sauce, right? You wouldn’t expect this combination, unless you’ve heard of Lucy the Elephant, the most famous resident of one New Jersey beach town.

 

How did this pachyderm find her seaside residence? To answer this mystery, flash back to the 1880s when a Philadelphia real estate developer named James Lafferty purchased a tract of land in South Atlantic City (known today as Margate). This land was located on the outskirts of Atlantic City, which at the time was enjoying a tourism boom that Lafferty hoped to take advantage of.

 

Lafferty had to find a way to encourage Atlantic City visitors to step further out of town, so he built a must-see attraction. The idea for Lucy was born! She was completed in 1881, and at 90 tons and six stories high, Lucy claimed her throne as the world’s largest elephant. The magnificent elephant drew crowds, who were then an audience for Lafferty’s real estate pitch. Lafferty had such success drawing crowds to South Atlantic City that he profited enormously and built elephants in two other beach towns: Coney Island, New York, and Cape May, New Jersey. Lafferty even got a patent for buildings shaped like other animals, but there is no evidence that he made plans to build any creatures other than elephants. Lucy is the only of Lafferty’s elephants to exist today; the other two were lost to fire and deterioration.

 

Lucytheelephant2

Lucy in her present state does not look much different than she did in this postcard dated 1906. Photo courtesy of the Margate Library.

 

There came a time when Lucy herself almost succumbed to fire. Lucy was leased as a summer house in 1902, and by 1904 was used as a tavern. One night, rowdy drinkers carelessly knocked over an oil lamp and caused a fire that almost consumed Lucy.

 

Aside from the fire, over the years Lucy’s wooden and metal skin sustained damage from occasional storms and accumulated corrosion from the salt air. By the 1960s, a downturn in fortunes in the Atlantic City area and a beating from Mother Nature found Lucy in a state of disrepair. In 1969, the Save Lucy Committee raised money to move her to a plot of land owned by Margate and repair the structure. Lucy reopened to the public in 1974, and was added to the list of National Historic Landmarks in 1976.

 

She has been open to the public ever since, who enter the structure through a spiral staircase in her back leg. Lucy the Elephant is open year-round. Visit her website to plan your visit!

 

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Beach Festivals to Hit Up This Fall

 

Obviously, summer is totally the high season for all things beach. You’re off from school, everyone takes vacation from work and sets their sights on getting in as much time down the shore as possible, soaking up the hot sun, ice cream, and boardwalk rides. So when September rolls around, a sense of sadness creeps over the entire seaside town and slowly depression sneaks in as you start to panic watching all your favorite hotspots close their doors.

 

However, the fall is such a beautiful time to be at the beach! As I mentioned in my last couple articles, it’s perfect for outdoor activities and some beach towns across the US are making the most of this and hosting some pretty cool festivals that I want to share with you. I found a list on familyvacationcritic.com but am listing the ones I think sound the most fun below.

 

Bourne Scallop Fest

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Date: September 18 – September 20, 2015

Just $7 gets you admission to a festival offering fried scallop and herb-roasted chicken dinners (YUM!), an extensive food court, corn hole tournaments (weekend only!), arts & crafts show, face painting, inflatable rides, sand art, and live entertainment. Who wants to pack up and join me today??

Link here for more info!

 

Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddlers’ Festival

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Date: October 23 – October 25, 2015

I will totally be hitting up the Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddlers’ Festival this year! Throughout the weekend, enjoy a costume parade, fright walk, trick-or-treating, live music, old fashioned beach games, witch hunt, and many more fun-for-all-ages activities.

Link here for more info!

 

SunFest

Ocean City, Maryland

Dates: September 24 – September 27, 2015

This four-day festival in Ocean City, Maryland offers 300 vendors of food, crafts, and indoor and outdoor entertainment including Wynonna and Gin Blossoms. Plus, there’s also hayrides and kids activities if you want to grab the little guys to join!

Link here for more info!

 

So instead of getting all bummed that your beach days are over, make sure to hit up one of the above beach festivals and let me know how you liked it! I can’t wait to hear about it. 🙂

 

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Your Perfect Beach Bike

 

As I mentioned in my last article, one great thing about the fall weather means getting to spend a lot of time outdoors appreciating the beautiful beach scenery. One of my favorite ways to do this is to go for bike rides along the water. Since I plan on riding a lot in the fall and will be continuing to ride my bike in the spring and summer as my preferred mode of transportation in my favorite seaside town, I started researching where I could find my perfect beach bike.

 

I have a lot of bike envy when I’m down the shore. Every time I see a girl riding a pale pink bike with a basket, I turn way jealous and want one immediately. So I began my search by googling beach cruisers. After scouring the internet, I found a company called Villy Custom, where (get this!) you can customize your own beach cruiser. That’s right, girls! Everything from the frames to the seats to the grips is yours to tailor to your favorite combo of colors.

 

The website walks you through each step where you can easily choose from a variety of colors and get a visual of your bike being built. Not only is this way convenient so you can create the perfect (and original) bike, but it’s also super fun and I guarantee you will spend hours on here contemplating different variations of colors. You can even rotate the image of your custom bike to get the view from all angles! I would upload a picture of my current preferred bike for you to check out, but I keep going back and forth. Do I want to stick with all pink? Do I want white and gold? Do I want pink and mint? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

 

Check it out here, enjoy creating your custom beach cruiser, and send me pics of your final decisions! I can’t wait to check them out! 🙂

 

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Beachin’ Workouts

 

One of my favorite things about fall is the weather. Although the extreme summer heat is perfect for laying out on the beach and eating ice cream (my two favorite things about the magical season), the fall is actually much more conducive to outdoor activities. The brisk, cool temperature means you can stay outside for longer and not get so worn out from the heat and humidity.

And if you’re lucky enough to live close to a beach, you can maximize your beach time and get your daily dose of exercise in by the water! Instead of just running on the sand, I found 5 easy exercises you could incorporate into your workout on Women’s Health Magazine’s website.

Find detailed instructions here and keep on enjoying as much time on the beach as possible!

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Summer-Inspired School Supplies

 

As much as I hate to admit it, school is officially in session and by now the relaxing syllabus week is over and teachers are really piling on the work. Wasn’t it just yesterday when our days were mostly free for visits to the beach with our best friends in between babysitting jobs? Ugh.

 

Regardless of whether you really like going to school or if you’re more inclined to keep hitting the snooze button in hopes you’ll suddenly wake to Saturday, it’s always helpful to bring fun reminders of summer vacation with you. That’s why I spent a couple hours perusing Etsy to find some summer-inspired school supplies that will definitely aid your daydream sessions about the beach when you’re supposed to be focusing on your AP homework. The three items featured in the picture above are absolutely perfect and I hope you love them as much as I do.

 

The first item is the Seahorse Embroidered Notebook from FabulousCatPapers. For $26.00, you can get the pages lined, squared, or plain. What’s great about this notebook is that the color scheme really captures the ocean water and sand on the beach so just looking at it transports you to somewhere more enjoyable.

 

The second must-have school supply is the Starfish Zipper Pouch from SunnyblueDesigns. This is perfect for your pencil case but is also big enough to store other school essentials, like your calculator and (just in case) some makeup. The insides are also water repellent, which makes it super sturdy and well worth the $15.97 price tag.

 

Lastly, I’ve got you covered for my favorite subject in school: lunch. Just $11 can nail you the most perfect Eco Lunch Sack adorned with an ice cream cone screen print that reads “I-SCREAM” from alittlelark.

 

So if school’s got you bummed out, purchase some of the supplies I found above and spend a little bit of time everyday reminding yourself about the magic of summer! 🙂

 

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Perfect Ice Cream Sweets to Make at Home

 

Although summer may be “over” (in reality, the last day of summer is September 22nd), it is still so hot outside! Just today I could barely walk around for more than five minutes without needing something to cool off. So before everyone jumps on the chunky sweaters, suede boots, and pumpkin spice coffee train, let’s keep throwing some love to the ultimate summer cooler-offer: ice cream.

 

Not only is ice cream perfect for cooling off on sweltering days, but it is also an ultimate mood enhancer. If you’re having a bad day at school or if your ex-fling came back from summer vacation with a new girlfriend, I guarantee you that digging into an ice cold sweet over girl talk with your besties will certainly make you feel better.

 

Unfortunately a lot of my seaside favorite ice cream parlors are starting to close so I’ve been searching my favorite food blogs for some recipes for ice cream treats that are easy to make at home. I categorized them based on taste preference so whether you prefer tangy, chocolately, or salty, I’ve got you covered!

 

If you like a bit of a tang…

Pink Lemonade Freezer Bars

My favorite food blog Averie Cooks features a recipe for Pink Lemonade Freezer Bars (see picture above). This is still super summery (and pretty!), which is why I love making this tart treat. The pink lemonade and Ritz crackers also offer a bit of tang so it won’t throw you into a sugar meltdown an hour later. Find the recipe here!

 

If you’re a chocoholic…

fudge pops

Let’s face it: chocolate solves (mostly) all problems. That’s why it was my personal preferred method to get over a pesky A- or when my crush asked someone else to prom. These chocolate fudge pops in the picture above are the perfect food therapy and the best part is they are only 125 calories per pop so you can have multiple and still not feel (too) bad about it! Find the recipe here!

 

 

If you crave something salty…

Hot Fudge Bar

I originally found this recipe when searching for something to make my chocolate-loving friend’s birthday and was pleasantly surprised to see it also incorporated peanut butter, adding the perfect touch of salt to this frozen dessert. Ingredients include ice cream sandwiches, chocolate syrup, peanut butter, whipped cream, and peanuts to create the tastiest, chocolately, salty, crunchy treat. And plus it serves 12 so it’s perfect to eat now and then save for later in the freezer. Find the recipe here!

 

Hope you enjoy the recipes I featured above and remember to follow me on Instagram @pinklyperfect_inc 🙂

 

 

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Summer’s Fading but Your Tan Doesn’t Have to

 

Labor Day Weekend is probably the most bittersweet time of the summer. It’s so fun because it’s a long weekend so everyone is able to escape from school and enjoy the holiday by celebrating at their favorite seaside town with their friends and family. But if you’re like me and live in that seaside town all summer, it can get really nostalgic because you know it’s your last weekend before packing up the house and acknowledging that the next morning, summer will just be a memory.

 

There’s a lot to be sad about this weekend like leaving your friends, going back to school, going back to work, and abandoning the idea that “free time” meant “beach time.” So with all the wonderful things you are giving up, you also have to give up that perfect tan you worked so hard at achieving all summer long.

 

This is a rough concept because no one likes to look pale. Your tan went along with your mood and made you look healthier and livelier so the idea of watching that fade away with no control is super depressing. But lucky for you, I found a great bronzer that can help us all extend the life of summer as we keep moving forward into September.

 

I’ve tried SO many bronzers because I am naturally super pale and hate it. But my favorite one is Younique’s Beachfront Bronzer. You may know the company’s super popular 3D Fiber Lash Mascara (which is also amazing), but I was most pleased to finally find a bronzer that didn’t make me look orange and/or shiny two hours later. The bronzer is half matte and half shimmer, which gives you a subtle glow to bring out your inner radiance. It’s a little pricey ($32), but is totally worth it because Younique offers “The Love It” Guarantee, which means within 14 days of delivery, you can return it for a full value credit or refund!

 

Trust me, girls, this bronzer is for sure a summer ending necessity! You can also look through some of their other products here. Buy it and at least once summer’s over, your tan won’t be! 🙂

 

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