Saturday, July 1, 2023

☀️ my summer beach getaway (June, 2023) ☀️


Happy Saturday, friends, and happy July! I wanted to share about my trip before I forget all the details. Just a warning: it's picture heavy and long, but I wanted it in all in just one post.

I was up before the sunrise on Monday morning, and pulling out of my drive by 6:15. I had brought all of my things (minus my makeup bag) down the night before, and I was loaded up really quickly. This is the first big trip I've ever driven on by myself, and I learned some valuable things. The first thing is that I had to stop every couple of hours to stretch my legs, but the stops were less 10 minutes each. It gave me enough time to walk, use the restroom, and top off my gas tank. That leads me to the next thing: I top off the gas tank every time I stop. It's cheaper and it never wastes a stop and doesn't add additional ones. I only stop at big, nice gas stations, like Love's or something similar. I didn't feel unsafe at anytime, but even so, I had my phone in my hand at all times. Stopping also kept me from getting sleepy. I didn't have to make stops to eat, because I brought my own food and snacks for my drive. 

You may be wondering what I did for almost fifteen hours in the car alone for two days, coming and going. The answer to that question is that I listened to podcasts the whole way! I did also talk on the phone some, but mostly I listened to my favorite podcasts, and I spent time praying. Here are the ones I listened to: The Simplified Podcast with Emily Ley (I loved this one!), The Big Boo Cast (my top favorite and laugh out loud hilarious) with Melanie Shankle and Sophie Hudson, Back Porch Theology with Lisa Harper (I loved this one so much!), Midlife Matters (thanks to Tanya), The Lazy Genius with Kendra, The Paul Tripp podcast, Cultivate What Matters, and Everyday Wellness. All of these, believe it or not, took up the entire car ride both ways.

Check out this adorable truck at the roadside market I like to stop at in Andalusia, Alabama. Isn't it cute? I picked up some goodies for us to enjoy during the week and used their very nice restroom.

The street her neighborhood is on! I love a palm tree lined road.

I got all my stuff upstairs and unpacked for the week, then she and I rode the golf cart to dinner, a favorite Mexican restaurant. I had the combo street taco platter, which was one with pork belly, one with brisket, and one with shrimp. We probably sat at our table for a good two hours as we laughed and talked. 

Then we got to her house and I watched the sunset. We talked and caught up this first night. We both like to go to bed early, and I was so tired from the drive. She and I were both in bed before ten each night I was there. 

You'll see the recurring them of the sunsets on this trip. The next day we were up early, so after coffee and breakfast, we headed to the beach. This day was glorious! The ocean was perfectly clear and super calm, and the most amazing breeze blew on us as we sat under the beach umbrella. 

Look at that water! The pictures don't do it justice. There was a sandbar out where would usually be pretty deep, so people were way out there. The water was brilliant turquoise blue! After a few hours, I got hot, though and went to the pool while my friend went on a walk. 

I hung out here in this pool for about an hour, then I went back to her house to shower and get ready for dinner. In Destin, you have to eat pretty early if you want to eat dinner before nine o'clock in the summer time. So, we would get dressed and leave her house by 4:30, for the 5:00 opening of the restaurants. It quickly became very crowded, but on this night, we were the second people there. (I was reading on the bed while I let my lotion soak in.)

We went to a placed called Marina Café, where I had one of the best burgers I've ever eaten, homemade skinny fries, this delicious lemon drop martini, and a slice of coconut pie that we shared. I did actually feel a little bit sick when I went to bed that night! 🤣

We sat overlooking the harbor, then when dinner was over, we went out for pictures. I laughed when I saw her dressed before me, because I was going to wear a shirt that looked almost identical to her dress! This is my dear friend, Dedee. 

What is it about a harbor? No matter if it's on the ocean or a lake, they're all so beautiful to me.

I tried to watch the sunset again, but it actually rained a little and didn't do anything spectacular. Once we got to her house and all comfy again, we watched an old movie, The Secret Window. Have you seen that? It has Johnny Depp in it, and it's from 2004. 

On Wednesday, it was so hot that we decided to skip going outside to the water. We enjoyed a slow morning inside, then we got dressed and went out for a tiny bit of shopping and errands for her. We had this delicious lunch of veggies at a really cool place whose name has left my memory. These Brussel sprouts were incredible! I had those, with whipped rosemary potatoes, fried green tomatoes with some sort of Bourbon jam, and some kind of black eyed pea mixture. 

After lunch we went to the Destin Commons (I think). I was looking for a new pair of flip flops (accomplished), and we walked around a bit, until we felt like we were about to melt. I'm always amazed that these flowers can survive that crazy heat!

Then, on the way back to her house, she wanted me to see Abigail. She is that gorgeously huge yacht you see in the picture below. The people who own her own a beautiful house, the piece of land across the street from them that backs up to this harbor that you see Abigail in, and they own the yacht. They were decorating it for some sort of a party or a wedding. 

Then for dinner, we ordered in and got this delicious meaty pizza and a Greek salad to split. It was SO. GOOD. 

We ate on the couch while we watched Les Misérables. She's been telling me for years that I needed to watch it, and she finally accomplished her goal. Have you seen it? It's such a beautiful movie with the theme of mercy woven through, so it made me bawl like a baby throughout. I was actually sobbing at the end of it, it was so breathtaking! I have no idea why I waited so long to watch it, but it was worth the wait. I love musicals! She was cracking up over me being so emotional, but she was doing the same and that was her third time to watch. It's a long movie, almost three hours!

And then while she walked her dog, I watched the sunset again.

Thursday was another scorcher, but because it was my last day, I was determined to make the most of it. As I was walking downstairs that morning, all the boats in this picture below caught my attention. I counted 23, but there were more that came to join them! When I asked her about them, she said most likely that they'd all found a great fishing spot. I would think they wouldn't want to be so close, but who am I? 

The water was even more beautiful on this day, though there was very little breeze. It was still perfect. I tried so hard to read, but I couldn't stop looking at the beautiful views. Can you blame me? We were on the beach by 8:30 that morning, and I was done with the heat and the sun four hours later. The great thing is that I didn't get even a tiny bit sunburned. That's hard to accomplish on a beach!

We never saw dolphins this time, like we did the last time, but we did see four small sting rays swimming together. It amazed me that they were just weaving in and out of groups of people, but they weren't interested in the humans, only swimming. I did finally get so hot that I went to the pool, where I read for an hour and a half.

While I had been at the pool, Dedee had gone to run a few errands, and I took a shower and got ready. She introduced me to this delicious grapefruit Fresca, which I fell in love with. Have you tasted this? It's so light and refreshing!

I did blog things while she was out, then I read my book. When she got back, we left for an in-between meal. We ate a big meal around two, at Boshamps. It was so good! We both had the blackened grouper sandwich with their home-cut seasoned fries. They were so good!

We piddled around after we got back from our early meal. She showered and changed, and I got comfy and read some more, then took a short nap. True to form, and despite my later lunch/early dinner, I was hungry by seven, so we each had some leftover pizza and popcorn while we watched La La Land. We paused it so she could take care of her adorable dog Bentley, and I went outside to watch one last sunset.

You can see the ocean from her house, but the real view is out the back that overlooks this lake. Because of it, there are herons around all the time, and I caught this one on her neighbor's roof. They're so beautiful and majestic!

And because it was Thursday night at the beach in the summer, there were fireworks from the harbor area we'd been in two nights before. On Friday, I was up early, so I did some housekeeping for her before I left. I took the sheets off my bed, I cleaned the bathroom that I used, and another one that her other friends who had been there had used last week, and I cleaned up the floor from when I brushed my hair and shed. I had packed the night before and had my suitcase downstairs already, so I just had to grab what I used that morning, and I was pulling out of her neighborhood at 6:15. I used the drive time to listen to the new podcasts I shared at the top of this, then I was home just a little before three. 

It was an easy, very laid back week, and one I am so grateful for! I never take for granted our friendship and that she opens her home to me. Here's why we get along so great, though: we are both very easy in our personalities. Neither one of us are picky, and we both frequent our own favorite restaurants when we eat out. We both like to be home early, we both love to watch movies, we both love to talk (🤣), and neither one of us really eat more than one meal a day. We do our own things for breakfast and lunch, so this works well when we're together. 

On this trip, for some reason, I took all of my own food and snacks so that I wouldn't have to stop when I got there. I took my own coffee and flavored creamers that I love, and I was glad that I had done this. It turns out she hadn't really been to the store, which we did end up doing on Wednesday when we skipped being outside near the water. But we had plenty and it all worked out perfectly. Also, anytime I travel and stay with someone, I try to be a great guest. I always make my bed, just like I would at home, I keep my things neat and tidy, and I clean up after myself before leaving. My parents both taught me to try to leave spaces better than how I found them, so I do that. I also did things around the house to help her, so while I waited on my coffee to make each morning, I washed the dishes in the sink. I'd washed a load of my clothes the day before I left, so I threw in her towels that I had used with my clothes. 

I don't see her all the time, and I pretty much didn't see her at all during the time I worked full time, but once we met up, we picked right back up. We promised to continue meeting up each month, so that we don't lose touch, but honestly, we never will. She's a friend, but she's like a big sister to me as well. She has such great wisdom and she is one of my very favorite Bible study teachers. I miss seeing her at my church, but I don't see us growing apart anytime soon. We both laugh like crazy when we're together, which is such a sweet gift from the Lord. This will forever go down as one of my favorite weeks at the beach EVER in the history of beach trip. It was a true vacation. It was so low-key and easy, that I think that's why. We're both so low maintenance, in a high maintenance way, but we get along splendidly. As I said before, I am so grateful for her friendship and that she opened up her home to me once again. 

Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all! (I'll leave you with one of my favorite older pics of us, just for fun. We were at that same Marina Café on the water, but this was in April.)


  1. Fun read about your great time away! I've only been to the Destin area once- it sure lived up to the hype that I'd heard about how pretty it is there. Your pictures show its beauty but like so many natural sites, the pictures don't do it justice.
    I've done many road long trips by myself- unfortunately, it's because my siblings live so far away and if I want to see them, I often go by myself due to Donnie's work and the kids' busy schedules at home. Abby and I were in the car yesterday for about TWELVE hours coming back from a long trip so I was interested to see that you listened to podcasts. Abby and I did that as well. We listened to Scamanda- all eight or nine episodes ;). I will check out some of the podcasts that you listened to.
    One tip if I want to remember the name of a restaurant that I've eaten at and I cant, I will check my credit card history (assuming you know the date you were there... and you used a credit card to pay, lol).
    Glad you made it back safely and that you had a good time with your friend.

  2. Thanks, Maria! I know you said you had done this a lot before. I don't know that I'd want to do it all the time, but I am never scared to go alone. I actually kind of loved it! I did get sleepy on Friday as I drove home, though, so I kept having to stop. I've heard of that podcast! I don't know how I feel about ones that are it like that? The trip flies by listening to podcasts!

  3. What a dear friend and a very relaxing time at the beach. I'm glad you had that time away from home to refresh. Also glad you liked the podcast. I'll be checking out some of the others you mentioned!

  4. She really is, Tanya! It was a wonderful trip. Thanks for that...and the podcast rec!

  5. What a perfect little getaway. Sometimes it's hard on the person who is hosting, but it seems like see was relaxed and you were the perfect guest. It was very smart to pack your food for the drive and things you would need at her house, too. I am really only high maintenance about my coffee!
    I love Fresca and that is how I make my skinny margarita that rivals any I have had in a restaurant and is frankly better.
    1 shot of tequila
    real lime juice (a splash)
    mix with half a stick of lemonade Crystal Light
    add ice
    Pour Fresca to the top
    Add a lime wedge/slice if you want

  6. It really was! I feel like it's more tiring for her when other people are there that are friends. It never felt that way when it was just the two of us. It was fun! That skinny marg sounds delicious! I'm going to need to try that. I'm making a note of it on my phone. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. I loved reading about your trip! The sunset and beach photos were beautiful and the colors of the sky/water/beach were breathaking. When I have driven to Chattanooga, I always enjoy listening to all my podcasts as well. That is just a 5 hour drive, but I relate to what you said about stops too. I like that I can stop whenever I need to go to the bathroom & stretch, also pack my own snacks, and I stop at the larger gas stations. Maybe we should road trip together!

  8. Thanks, Marilyn! It was a dream of a trip. I loved driving alone! The only thing I didn't love was getting sleepy, so I had to stop a little more often than I'd originally thought I would. That would be a blast!


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