Surviving Tourist Season on the Emerald Coast

There are so many wonderful things about living in a Spring Break town. One of them being, you don’t have to leave when Spring Break ends… #Ilivewhereyouvacation BUT… there are also some negative aspects to this, like you know, Spring Break itself. With our Spring and Summer holidays approaching, we will be expecting a lot of out-of-towners and vacationers, making traffic on our beloved 98 unbearable, beaches over crowded, as well as a lot of trash left behind.

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After living on the emerald coast for five years now, I have come to find out that there are a few things that could help keep the locals and transits from losing their minds with all of the tourists vacationing to our gorgeous beaches.

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OUTFIT DETAILS: Dress- sold out, similar here // shoes 

  1. MORNINGS WILL SAVE YOUR SOUL. Set those alarms and get that coffee ready to brew first thing, because this is the most helpful tip I have under my sleeve. Why? Because let’s face it, most vacationers are vacationing. That means ignoring their alarms, and getting some extra rest in the AM. So, while they sleep, we play. Anytime I need to run errands to Destin or Pensacola, I leave bright and early and get there when the shops open, otherwise I am stuck in traffic for hours (literally). It’s hard to do, but it is worth it. This tip doesn’t just work for traffic though, it is also helpful to get to the beach early. Typically, the only people at the beach before 10AM are older couples and beach runners getting in an early run before it gets too hot. Either way, getting out before the tourists do will be a life saver this season.
  2. Fill up on gas, incase you get stuck in traffic on a shopping trip to the mall (No, I’m not kidding..)
  3. Keep snack in your car in case you get stuck in traffic and get hungry.
  4. A friend mentioned that getting groceries via Publix Delivery or Walmart pick up is very convenient on the days it’s too difficult to get out and about early.
  5. Save your travels for the weekdays. The weekend traffic will be unbearable.
  6. Noted by a few local realtors: Saturdays are the #1 condo turnover day, which basically means that everyone is leaving town then. So this will be the worst day to drive, but best day to go to the beach because, well, everyone is driving back home.
  7. Ask for local pricing. I have heard through the grape vine that some businesses will raise their prices during tourist season, and that asking if they have a local price is never a bad idea.
  8. More than likely, our lovely tourists will not take as good of care of our beaches as we do. It is such a great idea to bring an extra trash bag on your beach outing just incase you see a few pieces of trash near by.
  9. Join in the fun. Seriously though, the amount of fun things that the Emerald Coast has for entertainment during vacation season is absolutely crazy! There are concerts, movies at the beach, community BBQ’s, fun runs, and so much more! So although the crowds might not be your favorite, acknowledging that once the crowds leave, so does all of the outdoor entertainment might help make the glass look half full.

I hope these tips help you this Summer, and hang in there. The rest of the year these gorgeous beaches are ours!

PS- This time of year is also the perfect time to go on a mountain getaway. We typically go to Northern Idaho to escape the crowds and heat. More on that soon!

 

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Christmas party look

This Friday, Scott’s squadron had their Christmas party. I love Christmas parties because it’s the perfect excuse to dress up the whole family. Here’s what Aspen and I wore:

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It’s always so hard finding something that is work party appropriate. Every year I struggle to find something that’s not scandelous, but also doesn’t make me look Amish. This year, I was very pleased to find this flowy skirt to pair with a nice flannel, which also allowed Scott and I to match, and have Aspen coordinate with us.

 

Sadie’s Outfit:

Flannel // skirt // heels

 

Aspen’s Outfit:

Dress // Stockings // Flats

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Thanksgiving outfit Part 1

I’ve always been a procrastinator. It’s actually something that I have been working on the past few months. I’ve been reading books, listening to podcasts, and watching youtube videos on how to put an end to procrastination and how to reorganize your life. Although it has been incredibly helpful, and I have been practicing quite a few of these methods, I feel like I am not the only one who has mastered the art of waiting until the last minute to do something. So, the next few days, I will be posting last minute Thanksgiving outfit ideas that you already have in your closet, or something you could find similarily at any local store. The first one consists of a basic Tshirt dress, a cardigan, and flats (or in my case, oxfords)

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Because these are all pieces I had on hand in my closet, the links might not all take you to the exact item in the images. Rather, they will be linked to affordable and similar items in convenient and typically near by stores.

Sadie’s Outfit: dress // shoes // Necklace// cardi: I made this particular one, but you could shop a similar style here. Crochet pattern for cardi here

Aspen’s Outfit: Clothing set // boots

 

reorganizing + nick-nacks

Lately I have found myself intrigued with the idea of simplistic living, and because of it I have began a week long process of de-cluttering and re-organizing my home and life. The first on my list? My desk.

Why? Because this is where the most cluttered parts of my life stem from. My desk drawer was an absolute nightmare. It was filled with random papers, recipts, old checks, to-do lists from over a year ago, chords to electronics that I have apparently lost, and a clutter of batteries. It’s honestly emberassing how disasterous it was. But after an hour or two of going through each and every item in that drawer, it now has a whole new (and neat) look. Next on my list is to get actual drawer organizers so I can put everything in a specific and purposeful place. I can’t wait to show you all pictures of it when I am done.

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But, because I am a thrifty shop-aholic (I get it from my mom), I can’t just walk out ot TJ Maxx without a few goodies. While trying to stay consistent with my more organized lifetsyle, I decided to pick up more intentional pieces, such as: a journal to write out my thoughts, a list to write out my daily to-do’s where I can see them in plain sight, a cute little “mom boss” name plate to keep me motivated, and some delicious coconut cookies (Aspen approved).

Next on my organizational list is all of our closets, and then my coffee bar. And hopefully soon I will have a pretty, white toy organizer for Aspen’s books and toys. Decluttering is something I try to do at least once a year, but I have a difficult time maintaining it. If you have any tips and tricks with keeping an organized home while raising a toddler, please comment and let me know!

Nana visits part 1. + Halloween recap

 

So, my mom is in town.

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My mom arrived from Arizona last Saturday evening. It’s been far too long since her last visit. Actually, I believe I was still pregnant during her last trip here. So, it’s been a while. My mom and I are also best friends, so going more than a few months without seeing her nearly kills me. Our last girls trip together was over six months ago, which is far too long for me. Anyway, she’s here, and I couldn’t be happier. And neither could Aspen! So far, we have gone to Boo at the Zoo, pumpkin patch, out to local eateries, parks, and of course, the beach. It’s kind of ironic how I am obsessed with mountain landscapes, but live in Florida, and how my mom is obsessed with the coastal lines, but lives in Arizona.

We still have plans to go out for champagne at one of the waterfront resorts, and to walk some nature trails befrore she heads home in a few more days.


 

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Halloween was a blast with this little one. We spent the day running errands, and got home right in time to cook up a delicious stuffed “jack-o-lantern” for dinner (link here). Afterwards I tried to get a few cute shots of her in her halloween dress, but as you can see, that did not go as well as I had hoped. This kid wanted nothing to do with taking pictures. And by the time I finally got her to hold still, she decided it was the perfect time to poop!

After these pictures were taken, we dressed Aspen up in her Mickey Mouse costume and put pillows and blankets in her wagon, as well as her candy bucket. The rest of the night, she lounged comfortably in her wagon, saying “trick or treat!” or “more nana?” while my mom hand fed her m&ms. It was a hilarious sight and perfectly describes my daughter.

I can’t wait to see how we celebrate next year!

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Holland Farms with our besties

 

Last year the Nichols girls and the Beck girls started an annual tradition of going to Holland Farm’s corn maze/pumpkin patch. This year the girls were old enough to appreciate it a bit more than they did last year. Here are some pictures of our day:

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And some cell phone pictures Morgan took:

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Sadie, Aspen, and Tatum all in their natural habitat!

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Holland Farm is the sweetest little fall retreat tucked away in Milton, Florida. If it wasn’t for that Florida heat and humidity, you would swear you were somewhere in the North East with the festive autumn activities. There is a pumpkin patch, corn maze, kids train ride, hay ride, corn kernel sensory box, play ground, animal petting area, picnic area, zipline, and more. It’s a great place to take the kids to celebrate the season and get you out of the house.


The Nichols girls (Morgan and Tatum) joined us for the second year in a row to the farm. Tatum is Aspen’s best little buddy, and Moragn is one of my closest friends. It’s always nice when we’re able to set aside work, appointments, and routines to take the girls out to do something fun while we catch up. The girls also have so much fun playing together. Tatum and Aspen are the only two girls that could put up with eachother. They are rough and tough little nuggets! We are so blessed to have these two in our lives!

 

 

 

 

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My favorite coffee shop and the drink I order

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Hey there friends, I’m back (again)!

Today I wanted to share my favorite coffee shop in the gulf breeze – Fort Walton Beach area and the drink I favor getting there.

Bishops coffee is located in Mary Esther, Florida. It is a small, minimalistic coffee shop that serves beverages that could compare to those in big cities like San Francisco or Seattle. At any other coffee shop I would stick to a regular latte or cappuccino, and occasionally a chai latte, but at Bishops I prefer to order a London Fog. London Fogs are an earl grey tea based latte, but I honestly wouldnt suggest getting one at Starbucks. Typically they’re a bit bland, but the baristas at Bishops have transformed these boring and bland (but “cool”) beverages into an incredibly sweet and florally latte.

I could not reccoment this little shop enough. Everything I have ever had from there is delightfully tasteful, and has a simple laid back atmosphere. The only downside to Bishops is there is no drive through for convenience. But beyond that, if you’re looking for a nice little place to sip on some coffee or tea and read a book, or catch up with a friend, Bishops is the place to be.

 

Pants: H&M // Blouse: Forever21 (sold out), similar Anthropoligie // Shoes: Charolette Russe // Bag: Steve Madden (sold out), similar DSW

 

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