Review: Shut Up and Eat {Toms River, New Jersey}

by Cate on September 18, 2014

Consistently voted “Best Breakfast” and “Best Brunch” in New Jersey, and rightfully so, Shut Up and Eat, a kitschy restaurant in Toms River, New Jersey is well worth a visit. Just do it on an empty stomach.


“You go in,” Madeline said, pushing her brother forward.

“No. YOU go in,” Nick said, trying to swap places with her.

“I’ll go in, sheesh,” I said, opening the door.

Given the restaurant was called Shut Up and Eat, I understand their hesitation. I mean, really. We had no idea what to expect.


As soon as we opened the door, we were greeted with a rush of nostalgia. Or, ok, I was, since the kids probably didn’t recognize a lot of the old memorabilia that adorned the interior of the restaurant. There is a corner in the front that is a small area for kids to play with old-fashioned toys, a counter seating area and the most adorable 1950s style mismatched tables and chairs throughout.


We were greeted with a friendly hello as soon as we walked in, and were led to a table in the back.

“You were here yesterday, weren’t you?” the employee asked.

“Yes,” I said, “Good eye!”

His mom owns the restaurant and he was there the day before with his wife, setting up for the next day’s breakfast service. A google search of the restaurant shows them open through dinner time when, in fact, they aren’t (they close at 3:30 pm). If you wear pajamas (must be a set with a matching top and bottom), you get 13% off your tab, so we had arrived the evening before, in our pajamas, for dinner.

Now I can save you that embarrassment.

They’re only open for breakfast and lunch.

Despite what Google says. [click to continue…]


In Which I Go Back to School

by Cate on September 17, 2014

I have only a handful of regrets in my life, but the one that seems to haunt me the most is not going to college. I started, registering for two classes at a local college after I graduated high school, and then, a few years later, I completed a Business Management program at the same school. But then, it just wasn’t the right time for me. And while it has remained a regret ever since, I still believe that if my heart wasn’t in it, it would have been a waste of money and time to go back then. At the time, I felt like I was making the right decision.

While you can absolutely, positively can succeed without a college degree, and I have done well, there’s no denying that having the degree just gives you more options. Period.

Now all these years later, the lack of a degree is something I have thought about constantly. A friend described it as “something unrest within my soul,” and she couldn’t have been more spot on. The question I kept coming back to was “how would getting my degree now change my end game?”  Because if I was going to get a degree and just keep the current job I have, what’s the point? What would it change? What would make it worth it to go back now? I knew I wanted to get the degree, but the question was what kind of degree? And what would I do with it after I got it?

Slowly over the past six months or so, I have really tried to hone in on how it could alter the future for me. What I could potentially do with the degree. How the end game would change.

And then finally I had the answers. Surprisingly, my biggest moment of clarity came after a conversation with Nick. And once I got to that place, the rest all of the sudden seemed easy. Or the easiest it’s going to be over the next few years.

I contacted my high school to get my transcripts. And contacted the college where I completed the Business Management program, which thankfully earned me additional college credits.

And applied to go back to school back in the Spring.

I started last month, and honestly, I couldn’t be more proud of myself.

[click to continue…]


Recipe: Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti

September 15, 2014

A one dish pasta chicken casserole that will warm you up from the inside out. Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti was on the menu last week and was a hit all around. This recipe made exactly six adults and ten kids happy. And if you’re at all familiar with cooking for anyone other than yourself and […]

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Weekend Photos in Review

September 14, 2014

Print it!

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Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake

September 9, 2014

Super moist chocolate layer cake that is simple to make and full of fudgy goodness. Chocolate cake is not a hard sell. Two layers of fudgy cake, separated by a thin layer of frosting. And then the entire thing is smeared with chocolate buttercream. My resident chocoholic was clamoring to lick the bowl when I […]

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