Hi friends! Happy Friday! This week went so fast, I guess that’s because of the holiday weekend. I packed a lot into it- Jordan’s swimming lessons, a couple of workouts, meal prep, finished a puzzle with James, my new office chairs arrived and got my hair colored and cut.
I’ve also been pouring over the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale items – over 5,000 of them – and I’ve narrowed down my faves/recommendations, and made my own wish list! The sale goes live on Monday for Icon cardholders and I’ll start sharing my picks this weekend. Sign up for my newsletter to get my picks delivered straight to your inbox on Saturday!
For more of my NSale shopping recommendations from years’ past (and we’re seeing lots of repeats this year), go here.
SEASIDE RECAP : THE CAMERA ROLL
Last month, my boyfriend Brian and I took our kids to Florida for a week and I’m so excited to share our trip recap with you! He and his two girls have been going to Seaside every summer for the last few years and they wanted us to join this year. We’ve been dating almost a year and a half, so our kids have met and spent time together- but never overnight or for that many days at a time.
They all get along really well and are such good kids! I was sure we’d have a great time, but also wanted to keep my expectations in check because you never know what could happen and I lovingly know the difference between a vacation (hello Mexico) and a “kid trip”! ha!
I will say this was one of my favorite kid trips and the kids had a blast too. My mantra for the trip was EAT . PLAY . RELAX . REPEAT and we did just that!
Of course, I took tons of photos (have we met?), so this is pretty much a photo dump of my camera roll. ;).
I also included fun things to do in Seaside along with restaurant recommendations that y’all sent me on Instagram. #thankyou
We stayed close to Rosemary Beach in Watersound, Florida in a townhouse we found on VRBO. We loved the little community “Prominence on 30A” located right across the street from The Hub. The townhouse was a beautiful, modern 2-story, three bedroom, 2.5 bath home and was decorated so cute! The community had a resort style pool and Jordan had so much fun practicing her swimming.
More on that and the house below! But first, we had to get there!
My kids and I flew and Brian and his girls drove 9 hours. One of his girls doesn’t enjoy flying and we figured it would also be handy to have his truck. He was able to pack extras like beach stuff including an umbrella and chairs, a box of games to play at the house, food, favorite blankets and pillows, that kind of stuff.
We wouldn’t have all fit in Brian’s truck, and Jordan doesn’t do well on long road trips, so we flew.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: A few weeks before our trip, we started a “note” on our phones and added all the details of our trip there. The house address, travel info, gate code, expenses, packing list, things to buy/bring, menu, activities and plans. It’s cool because each person can update and access the note at any time. And then, before we left, we printed out two copies of all of the documents we needed and Brian put them in a clear folder pouch.
We all arrived right about the same time and once we got unpacked, Brian and I ran to the grocery store to stock up for the week. I will say it was a different experience shopping for a party of 6, when I’m used to shopping for three. And little details like, “what do your girls like on their burgers?” We filled an entire cart for one week!
We really couldn’t wait to get to the beach! Rosemary Beach is absolutely gorgeous, even if the water was affected by a storm the first couple of days we were there. I thought it was gorgeous, especially compared to what I’m used to, but Brian said it’s usually even clearer. We saw that as the days went on and the weather dried up.
It felt amazing to put my feet in the sand and all of the kids loved jumping in the waves and splashing in the ocean. Brian was really good about getting out there with the kids and I’m glad because I feel better with an adult nearby.
I’m so glad that Jordan loved wearing her rash guard because that Florida sun is no joke. Her rash guard has SPF protection and was so cute!! Unfortunately, the shorts that went with it were too big, so she wore another pair of bottoms.
Our townhouse wasn’t on the beach, but just a short drive to three different beach accesses. We parked on the street, then had to walk a little bit to get to the beach. Thank goodness we bought this handy wagon that held most of our things- and it has a pull out part with cupholders and a phone holder! #genius.
It made transporting things so much easier! Plus, since we had Brian’s truck, we were able to put the kids and all of our gear into the bed.
We went to the beach everyday we were there, expect for the day we rented a boat! But, wait, maybe we did go that night after the boat when we were looking for sand crabs. That was really fun too- something me and my kids had never done.
We brought sand toys and the kids all used them to dig, build castles, and make moats filled with water. We brought snacks like chips, granola bars, Dots pretzels and hummus/carrots, along with lots of water and a few beers;)
I was really happy with how well Brian and I worked together with coordinating everything and both taking responsibility for things. He’s very organized (like me!) and doesn’t need any instructions or directions, which I really appreciate.
I felt really good in all the swimsuits I brought and this sarong is great because it’s lightweight, takes up no space in your bag, and dries fast.
This blue ruffled one piece was one of my faves- the color is vibrant and it feels so expensive, but isn’t! And last time I looked, it was 40% off!
These guys got to over 100 passes without that ball hitting the ground!
We walked to the pool a few times and it was perfect timing because Jordan had just completed her first week of swimming lessons before we left.
We drove into seaside one day and shopped and grabbed a lunch. One store we wanted to go in for Seaside sweatshirts was small and had a line, and we ended up waiting outside. It was so so hot and Jordan was kind of miserable for that part of the trip. But she looked so cute in her Seaside hat!
I wish I took more pictures of Seaside to share with you because the whole town is so picturesque. But, it was pretty crowded and I was trying to keep track of Jordan and also make sure we weren’t in the way of bicyclers. Lots of people ride bikes or use golf carts.
We ate ice cream every night after dinner and also made s’mores, so a shrimp salad was a nice, light lunch at Great Southern.
Our townhouse is located right across the street from The Hub, a collection of restaurants and shops. We ate at Duo’s and the food was really good! The BLT and fries didn’t disappoint!
We also rented a pontoon boat at LagoonPontoon and rode out to Shell Island. That was one of the funnest days of the trip! The pontoon boat was a double decker with two slides off the top and the kids loved sliding down it and jumping off of the top into the water.
You can also rent boats that don’t have the second layer, and it’s less expensive, but in the end I’m glad we splurged for the extra fun!
We docked at Shell Island and there was a snow cone boat where the kids enjoyed a cold treat. That was super fun too!
Brian’s youngest daughter is my son’s age and she is really the sweetest. She’s the first to offer to help, never complains even when she could, goes with the flow and is also a talented artist and loves to bake. James and her are good buddies.
The beach at Shell Island is absolutely stunning! The sand is beautifully white and there are seashells everywhere. The girls loved looking for them and Jordan brought back a small collection of shells that she keeps in her playroom.
We did end up getting caught in a storm and it poured on us, but it just added to the memories.
I adore Brian’s older daughter too. We had a lot of fun together and she’s spunky, knows the word to every pop song (even the fast raps!), and was my best puzzle building partner. She’s also so good with Jordan (her little shadow).
WHERE WE STAYED
There’s tons to do in Seaside and great restaurants to eat, but we mostly hung at the beach, pool and house. And I didn’t feel like we missed anything! The together time was lovely and the time at the house was perfect for chilling and relaxing.
We brought cards, a couple boardgames and a puzzle and at night we watched movies.
I loved having the puzzle spread out on the coffee table, we would randomly work on it and got about halfway done before the trip ended. I ended up bringing it home (I used a big spatula to try to keep the parts we had built together) and I just finished it at home yesterday!
This is the living room where we spread out the puzzle and enjoyed movie nights (and a dance party!). It felt like the house was new or just a few years old, but I’m not sure.
The owners did have a little book where people wrote down memories- I came down one morning to hear Brian reading all of them out loud to his daughter in a Spanish accent. It was so funny!
The couches were comfortable and also pulled out to a bed.
Our meals were eaten at this table for six and we also played cards and Monopoly. When we were looking for houses, a table that seated six was important to me because I wanted us to be able to enjoy our meals together.
The kitchen was gorgeous and fully stocked with everything we needed to cook and bake. The girls baked a cake while we where there.
And, all the drawers and cabinets were labeled with where everything lived, so it was easy to find and put away.
This is the master bedroom with a king sized bed and Jordan and I ended up sleeping here.
Such a beautiful master bathroom too.
I didn’t get a picture of the second bedroom with a queen bed, but it was also really nice. And so nice of them to include a mirror for selfies in the hallway!
The bunk room (with trundle) was the most fun.
And here’s the second bathroom, complete with shower. I took these pics right before we left, and Jordan wanted to get in every one!
Off the living room was a little patio with chairs and a small sofa. We came outside everyday and the kids played in the trees and ran around outside. There were tons of families and kids there and so our kids played with the neighbor kids too.
We got there on a Monday afternoon, and left on Sunday morning. I felt like it was the perfect amount of time. Long enough to settle in and relax and enjoy our time away, but short enough to not start getting on everyone’s nerves!
The sign of a good vacation?! ha! But, let me leave you with an important tip!
PRO TRAVEL TIP:. Make sure you schedule your ride to the airport in advance – we almost didn’t get a ride!
Brian had offered to drop us at the airport, but they were leaving a few hours earlier than us since they had a 9 hour trip back to Houston, and our flight was later. Plus, the airport was in the opposite direction, so I declined and said I’d catch a ride to the airport.
I thought we’d just catch an Uber, but there were none available. And it turns out, you can’t schedule an Uber from there anyway- at least not at 10 am on a Sunday, when everyone is trying to checkout. I tried Lyft too and nothing. I was starting to panic, but then I was able to schedule a Lyft. Then, it didn’t show up! I started calling car services out of a Google search and NO ANSWER. Ug!
I finally, randomly caught a taxi driver and made it to the airport in the nick of time. The driver wasn’t the sweetest, but he showed up with two other women in my situation and they were AWESOME. One of them recognized me from my Instagram! She probably felt bad for me- I had no makeup on, and was clearly stressed about the car situation, especially since I had my kids with me!
They made the ride better and I think it’s so cool that we got to connect in that way!
Before I end this recap, I wanted to leave you things to do in Seaside, and places to eat- based on YOUR recommendations and what I found online.
THINGS TO DO IN SEASIDE
SHOPPING IN SEASIDE
Seaside Farmer’s Market – Local farmers and artisanal food producers meet here to show you their goods. Shop 9-1 every Saturday and Sunday.
Modica Market – Seaside’s quaint gourmet grocery. Sample our selections of fresh, homemade Southern specialties and gourmet-to-go meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Be sure to shop our extensive collection of wines, craft beers, local and imported condiments, and unique foodie finds — from cheeses to ice creams to coffees.
Art of Simple – Full of unique pieces that are more like art. Shop everything from tabletop items to clothing. Fun store to walk around.
Fusion Art Glass – stocked with different art glass, functional glass and jewelry.
Sundog Books – bookstore that has been there more than 30 years. Local and full of books!
Ruskin Place Seaside Chapel – Tour this beautiful chapel just steps away from Central Square.
Central Square – area of Florida with shopping, live music and restaurants.
Grayton Beach State Park – Grayton Beach consistently ranks among the most beautiful and pristine beaches in the United States. Western Lake offers fishing and paddling, and those who want to explore on foot have four miles of trails to traverse through a coastal forest where scrub oaks and magnolias stand, bent and twisted by salt winds.
Deer Lake State Park – Coastal dune lakes are extremely rare worldwide, and in the United States they occur only along the Gulf Coast. Southern magnolias, golden asters, woody goldenrod and scrub oaks can be seen in this coastal dune habitat.
Heavenly Shortcakes & Ice Cream – Classic American ice cream flavors, gelatos, strawberry shortcakes and gourmet cookies from our friendly shop beckon a sweet tooth for miles.
Dawson’s Yogurt and Fudge Works – Celebrating 20 Years of Serving the Finest Fudge and Yogurt!
Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs – If you’re getting hungry from the walking, grab a gourmet hot dog from here. Grass-fed and sustainably farmed ingredients combine with secret recipes for wholesome food and instant memories. If you have room left, there’s always the frozen key lime pie on a stick, dipped in Belgian chocolate!
Barefoot B-B-Q – for organic local ingredients and sauces drawn from Caribbean, Southern and Texan cuisine. This BBQ has been “knocking socks off” for a decade in Seaside.
Goatfeathers – Known for their key lime pie!
The Bay – Southern gulf coast cuisine, sushi, a 12-draft beer system, excellent wine selections, and inventive bar-crafted cocktails.
Cowgirl Kitchen – Lovable, sassy, sophisticated, she knows her cuisine but is never a snob about it. It’s meals with moxie, entertaining with ease, and picnics with panache! Fun, no-frills. Kick-back cuisine.
Pescado – Pescado offers a dining room, inside bar & outside rooftop bar overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
Expect extraordinary service & cuisine by Chef Ken Duenas.
Sugar Shack – Newest of the new and old school candy all tucked into a little corner across from the Post Office not far off the beach. Ice cream, shaved ice, cotton candy,… just to name a few.
Great Southern & Pizza Bar – This note from the chef explains it all. “I believe our histories are told by the food we cook and eat. This restaurant tells the story of my history, of the great food and people I’ve met along the road. Here at Seaside, Florida, I mix my taste for international cuisines with Southern cooking and local food — fresh produce from nearby farms and fresh seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. I hope you find the flavors of my life and cooking to your liking. We’ll be looking for you.”
Perfect Pig – The Perfect Pig Grill and Fish House features fresh local grouper for dinner, award-winning pulled pork for lunch and hand sliced applewood smoked bacon for breakfast.
Red Bar – The Red Bar is South Walton’s most popular indoor destination. It’s the place for fun with friends and family while taking in all of the eclectic decor, listening to great live music and enjoying great food and cocktails.
Pickles Burger and Shakes – Fun, colorful and certainly kid-friendly, Pickle’s Beachside Grille is an ideal spot for the whole family. The all-American burger grill by the beach is also known for its sustainably sourced burgers, chili cheese dogs, fried grouper sandwiches and Famous Fried Pickles.
Frost Bites – For Shaved Ice and Frozen Custard
Chanticleer – Reader recommendation
Surfing Deer – Fabulous food and colorful stories.
I hope this post was helpful for you! If there’s anything I left out, or you have questions, let me know in the comments. Pin the image above as a bookmark to this post in the future!
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