Celebrating Summer with ShareGurl

Shirt: Scotch and Soda; Sunglasses: EyeBuyDirect (Photos: Courtney Charles
Greeted by golden lions, and a white iron gate – the entrance to the last house on Bay Walk, beginning to my weekend getaway, and the ellipsis to my affair with Fire Island… 

As I continue my summer adventures and travel stories, I’ve decided to feature one destination that I frequent every summer since my move to New York but have never taken the time to share, Fire Island. In New York City, summering isn’t an option; it’s part of our culture and lifestyle. Post-Memorial Day, the weekends fill with tourists and the natives flock to nearby beaches and lakes to let off some steam and escape the chaos while enjoying the sun. My escape of choice is the Pines, one of the many beaches on Fire Island and a predominately gay community, which features some of the most extravagant and expensive real estate on the island. It's like HK with sand.

Between the beach and the bay, raised boardwalk paths lead to modern summerhouses intertwined with greenery. When you arrive to the Pines, the Fire Island Clipper slowly pulling into the harbor, strangers wave hello from the pier welcoming you to the island. You can feel the excited energy in the air and hear music bouncing softly from every corner. 

The Pines can mean so many different things for different people. It can be a relaxing weekend by the pool of a [super fucking] chic house, a fun sunny day on the beach, decedent cocktails by the harbor, drag brunches, late night dancing with friends, singing show tunes around a piano (yeah... that happened), bar hopping, casual house parties, raunchy clothing-optional underground parties, glow sticks, black lights, body paint, skinny-dipping, an excuse to re-download Grindr, a summer romance, a few shallow hookups… Only a few hours away from the city there's an island of limitless possibilities. And I love it.

Shirt, Shorts, Sandals: Zara; Bags: Will Leather Goods (Photo: Courtney Charles)

This particular visit was spent in ShareGurl’s newest property, The Pines Club. Chic, Chic, Chic. Set along the bay, this house screams luxury and boasts an incredible layout and a breathtaking view. It’s easily one of the largest private properties on the island – developed for people who might otherwise rent their own waterfront home, but instead choose to stay with us in a more social environment with a full-service staff. 

With a pool, hot tub, sun-drenched rooms, a scenic pond, and so much more - it's easy to see why after experiencing The Pines like this, I can’t imagine it any other way. The property is beautiful and the staff is just so wonderful. It's such a great addition to the ShareGurl roster.

We were lucky enough to be staying there the weekend of the Grand Opening party too. We schmoozed with some of Fire Island's coolest frequenters. A few cocktails in, we dove into the pool. We laughed. We sunned. We drank some more. It was a fantastic evening - and so exciting to celebrate with their team.

Shirt, Shorts: Zara; Bags: Will Leather Goods; Sunglasses: Etalon (Photos: Courtney Charles
Top: ASKET; Swim Trunks: Zara (Photo: Courtney Charles

Swimsuit: AussieBum (Photos: Courtney Charles

ShareGurl, Fire Island's Front Desk, is a team of go-getting gays who make Fire Island more welcoming, convenient and fabulous. They offer amazing lodging options from affordable to luxury, and host some of the island's most incredible events and parties.

Learn more about ShareGurl or book your next trip at www.sharegurl.com, and be sure to follow @ShareGurl to stay up to date on all their fabulous events this summer!

Photos by Courtney Charles

From the City to the Sea

For my trip to Miami, I wanted to celebrate my first getaway of the season with the perfect outfit. Finding pieces that would work well when walking around the city, but also be worn on the beach was a must. 

Pulling from the color palette of the sandy, the terry textile of a comfy robe or towel, and a fun, care-free fit - I was able to style the perfect Miami look, thanks to Nautica. The Tacker shorts are a summertime menswear must-have. They're incredibly versatile and easy to wear. And the brand's Terry polo is the perfect weekend shirt. It's so fun! Such a great mix of style and comfort.

Shirt: c/o Nautica; Shorts: c/o Nautica
Shoes: Zara; Sunglasses: EyeBuyDirect

Bienvenido a Miami

As a preface to summer, my two best friends and I reunited for a weekend getaway in Miami, soaking up sun and seeing the sights. Our time was well spent catching up, reminiscing, and laughing over many a cocktails - surrounded by blue waves and beautiful people. 

I love traveling in general, but there is something special about traveling in the summer. It's as if the long days and warm nights of the summer make your time away even more impactful. It gives you a full reboot. That's what I wanted out of Miami - time to truly feel like I was away from it all, and to reset before diving back into another crazy week in Manhattan. I think that's exactly what I got. 

The very first day, ready to dive into our visit, my friend Veronica and I hopped on the Tri-Rail train and headed to Miami from Ft. Lauderdale where we were staying for the weekend. We ended up in South Beach wandering the streets, falling in love with the beautiful, blue water (and the beautiful people) that lined the beach. We stopped for drinks and a quick bite at the famous Big Pink. "Big" was certainly the perfect adjective - the huge cocktails servings and lunch proportions suddenly made sense. Definitely a fun SoBe spot. We laid on the beach and spent time soaking up as much sun as possible before heading back to the train... It was only day one, a few hours, and already had a bank of fun memories and a new fondness for Miami.

That night we officially initiated our trip - essentially the only way we knew how - with the whole gang gathering for drinks and dancing. Sipping on our favorite drink from our nights out in New Orleans years ago, the Woo-Woo [As Carrie, Samatha, Miranda, and Charlotte have the Cosmo, we have the Woo-Woo], we knew at that moment this trip would be special. Ah, nostalia - it always tastes so sweet.

Day two, Veronica and I decided to explore Ft. Lauderdale. We had our lunch beach side, with a side of hookah and margaritas the size of our heads. Which turned out to be a bad idea... All that sugar... in the heat... headache central, party of two. But, nothing the beach (and extra strength Tylenol) couldn't cure. We laid on the sand, and played in the water until dinner - where we ate our weight in sushi. Mmmmmm... 

The next day was probably one of my favorite days of the trip. We started it in Miami's Design District, aka my heaven. Imagine the shops of Fifth Ave., Madison, Bleecker, (Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Margiela, Fendi, Prada, etc.) encased in modern, beautiful architecture and surrounded by beautiful sculptures... It was perfect. Shopping in Miami is worth the trip alone. Also in this paradise, was probably one of my favorite meals of the trip. We stopped at Michael's Genuine Food and Drink for an early lunch. Greeted with an atmosphere that was both warm and chic, and a team that was incredibly kind and attentive - I knew we were in for a spectacular lunch. With oysters from Michael's raw bar, dedicate cocktails, and flavorful entrees - we left smiling ear to ear.

Before heading back to South Beach we made a pit stop to Scotch and Soda, one of my favorite brands for summer, where I had the hardest time choosing which pieces to take home. I wanted everything! Luckily the staff there was incredible, very helpful, and so fun. We honestly had a blast shopping with them - like so much so that I'm including this in my story. hah!

The evening ended with a trip from the beach to Miami's hip, artsy Wynwood neighborhood (Bushwick's cousin) - where we visited Concrete Beach Brewery, tasting the taproom's signature brews. Very tasty - and very laid back atmosphere. And we closed out the night in Ft. Lauderdale, visiting a couple clubs and bars. Noting one included an aerial dancing act above the dance floor... Interesting night to say the least. 

Sunday we spent our whole day soaking in the perfection that is South Beach. We spent time sunning ourselves and sipping rum. We made friends with some other beach-goers (One a fellow New Yorker!) and chatted all day on the sand, swapping stories and cocktails, until well after the sun went down. We said farewell to new friends and the beach, and sipped one last drink on Ocean Avenue before our final goodbye.

We had one last lunch, a few beers, and a dip in the crystal clear ocean before Veronica caught her flight. And Michelle and I had one last dinner before I returned to New York that next morning. Nestled on the Intercostal Canal, we sat at the scenic dock of Shooters in Ft. Lauderdale where I binged on more oysters (of course!), lobster salad and sweet bourbon cocktails. We were certainly sending me off in style - the view and the food at this restaurant was breathtaking (Don't let the name fool you). The perfect moment to end a perfect trip.

Several cocktails, decadent meals, and a slight sunburn later... I returned to Manhattan. Happy to be home, but feeling rebooted, recharged, and regretting that I didn't take this trip sooner.*

* Dedicated to my dear friend Michelle, the perfect hostess and the perfect friend.

Bus Stops and Bomber Jackets

(Photos by Courtney Charles

We're always on the move in New York - hailing a cab, running to the subway, jumping onto the bus. It's become so much of our identity as a people and as a city. In a way, it connects us. We are all going somewhere. 

When I'm on the go, dressing is the most important part.... I love this bomber by Members Only. It's the perfect jacket for running around the city - from bus to subway and back - because it's easy to wear and super lightweight. The color is fun and vibrant which is such a great match for the season.

Wearing: Jacket - Members Only; Shirt - Zara; Denim - Big Star;
Shoes - Dr. Scholls; 

All photos by Courtney Charles

"Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down." - Oprah