Beach Day!

How perfect!  Yesterday morning I posted about wanting to go to the beach before all the spring breakers arrived, and by early afternoon I was hanging out at Panama City Beach, FL with a friend.  When we got there, the … Continue reading

Sneak Peek at Florida Caverns Park

I love those days where I can set out with no agenda.  I took a quick trip to Alabama last weekend and on the way home I noticed a sign for Florida Caverns State Park.  I quickly got in the … Continue reading

Chasing The Sun

Yesterday, a friend and I set off for an adventure day.  We love to get in the car with no agenda and no idea where we are going.  It always turns into a day full of surprises and adventure (see our last adventure day).  Well, somehow our adventure led us to a favorite shopping spot in a nearby town and the movie theater where we saw Frozen.  We had a blast & it was exactly what we both needed, but I don’t think you care to hear about how much I liked the movie Frozen. 🙂  Instead lets talk about one of my favorite adventure days last summer.

During July (and the whole summer really) there had been a tremendous amount of rain & flooding here in Florida.  One Saturday morning when I woke up I just couldn’t take another day of the waterworks.  I woke a friend up, we got in the car, checked the weather radar and drove east to find the sun!  We drove along the coast with the storm clouds in the rearview mirror as we tried to outrun them.  We ducked into a deserted beach resort where we stopped the car to talk to some guy wearing a shirt from her hometown, but we chickened out.  We blew right through the next little town, Port St Joe, because it was still quite ugly there.

Next stop was Cape San Blas and the weather wasn’t bad.  We came across a thrift shop with 2 surf boards outside and imagined ourselves spending the afternoon learning to surf.  When we inquired about them, the lady sent us to ask a woman at the café down the street.   We walked in the tiny shack and were greeted by a guy shucking oysters.  Not 15 feet down from him we saw a guy serving ice cream!  I just imagined all the ice cream flavors smelling & tasting like oysters!  We talked to the lady and bummer, the surf boards were not for sale.

We decided to keep moving and found an incredible boulder wall along the water so of course we had to stop and climb it in our dresses and bare feet!  We took a bunch of Little Mermaid inspired pictures since some little girls think I’m the real life Ariel.  We got back in the car and back on the road just minutes before the rain caught up with us again.

rock wall

Waving to my mermaid family while trying not to laugh

Waving to my mermaid family while trying not to laugh

We arrived at Apalachicola and searched for a place to have lunch.  We sat down at a cute little restaurant on main street & the rain really started coming down.  No one had even come to greet us yet, so we gave each other a quick look and decided to get back on the road in search of the sun.  We did pop in to the coffee/chocolate shop a couple of doors down first though to get something to sustain us.  We got 2 iced coffees and 2 walnut brownies to go and hurried back to the car.  We were driving along in the rain trying to figure out why the brownies tasted kind of funny.  We didn’t care too much because that was pretty much all we had eaten that day and by that time it was 12:30 or 1.  Then it hit me!  There was alcohol in those brownies!  The actual alcohol was cooked out of course but we laughed so hard because after that point all we could taste was the alcohol!

We got a glimmer of hope not long after when we could see clouds breaking ahead of us!  Unfortunately the road turned north and we started worrying we would lose our lead on the storm that was biting at our heels.  The next little town made us forget all about our race with the storm.  It was barely a speck on the map, but we kept seeing all these beautiful signs for an aquarium and of course we were intrigued.  We were just about out of town when we noticed sign for a hotel at the strip mall.  You know we had to get a closer look so we whipped into the last entrance of the parking lot and there on the front door of the shopping center hotel was a pirate flag!  After seeing that we had to go check out this aquarium.  I made a joke that it was probably just a couple of fish tanks in someone’s house.  Well, we found the aquarium and sure enough it was in a house!  Our giggles were uncontrollable at that point!  We left town & took the next road north so that we could begin to loop around home.

We came across some signs for Wakulla Springs and thought why not, we’ve heard good things about it.  So there we were at Wakulla Springs in our beach dresses catching glimpses of the sun while admiring the springs.  The moment was interrupted when some old guy called us out, “You girls aren’t going swimming are you … all dressed up with your makeup on?”  We did our best to contain the giggles as we pushed past him back toward the car.  As we were walking we noticed a trailhead and again thought why not.  Off we went into the woods for a quick hike in our dresses and flip-flops.

Wakulla Springs

Trail at Wakulla Springs

By the time we got back to the car we were starving so we headed to Tallahassee for dinner and then home.  Before leaving town we got coffee at my friend’s shop Eternal Grounds, and then followed the sunset all the way home.  We literally chased the sun all day and were so excited the next morning when we discovered that the sun decided to stay.

On To The Next Adventure

On To The Next Adventure

Let It Snow

Wow!  I was super excited for the snow, but quickly realized I was more excited about the idea of it.  Yesterday afternoon it had just begun to snow when I got to my hotel.  I couldn’t stop smiling as I unloaded my car and the big, weighty snowflakes covered me.  It brought back so many memories and made me feel like a kid again!  I kept peeking out the window throughout the evening to check the status of the snow.

My Snow Gauge

My Snow Gauge

This morning I was forced to deal with the reality of interacting with the snow, not just my fantasy of it as I watch from a window.  As I walked to the parking lot, I immediately had an “OH” moment as I noticed all the other cars with their windshield wipers in the air.  How could I have forgotten one of the simplest tricks!  While scraping off the car, I maintained that goofy grin as the snow squeaked beneath my feet.  However, after 30 minutes of scraping in single digit temperatures, I think my face may have just frozen that way!

Home For The Wild West Holidays

I got a call from my mom and my aunt and adventure is in the air!  The three of us feed off each other and you never know what might happen (remember our silliness in Glacier Park this summer?).  It started out a somewhat normal conversation…we’re listening to Christmas music on our road trip, so of course we thought of you.  Somehow that turned into the three of us planning a flash mob during their small town parade of lights next month!

Let’s backup a minute and figure out how we got here.  Last month they helped organize the Wild West Days in Chinook, MT.  They helped with the stick horse parade, the can-can contest, and even got involved in the Miss Kitty look alike event.  We are not sit on the sidelines kind of people!

Chinook, MT Wild West Days

Chinook, MT Wild West Days

Bandits taking over the Wild West parade

Bandits taking over the Wild West parade

Guess which Miss Kitties are my mom and aunt!

Guess which Miss Kitties are my mom and my aunt!

In addition to running different events, they also entered the 1st place float!  My uncle and family friend built the float to honor the centennial of our family homestead.  My grandma played beauty queen and waved to crowd.  A couple of the dogs and chickens even rode the float for authenticity!

The guys and their prize winning float!

The guys and their prize winning float!

My grandma playing beauty queen on her family homestead float

My grandma playing beauty queen on her family homestead float and yes that’s Sponge Bob in the window!

The chickens even made it on the float!

The chickens even made it on the float!

Since they now have a reputation as master float builders, their church asked them to be in charge of the float for the annual parade of lights.  I remember going to the parade as a little girl all bundled up, mesmerized by the lights. We talked about different ideas for the float including a surprise flash mob.  I LOVE Christmas and music and lights and flash mobs, so I don’t think I’ll be able to sit this one out!  I’m already listening to Christmas music looking at plane tickets!  Hopefully I’ll be able to scratch off a few items on my Montana bucket list while I’m there!

A Dreamy Afternoon

I had a blast last weekend with my sweet friend from www.diaryofafrancophone.com!  I played DJ as we took the scenic drive along 30A between Destin and Panama City Beach, FL.  We sang along to The Beach Boys and Taylor Swift and everything in between.  There is just something about road tripping with your girls that can turn any grown woman into an goofy teenager full of hope and excitement.

There are so many little treasures to be found on the back roads and this one did not disappoint!  There are several adorable beach communities that dot the road, each with their own charm and personality.

Entrance to Alys Beach

Entrance to Alys Beach

Inside one of the towers at Alys Beach

Inside one of the towers at Alys Beach

All that singing on the drive made us hungry, so we were on the hunt for a great lunch spot.  We had heard of this place called Grayt Grounds of Monet Monet and decided to check it out.  I searched for it in my GPS and burst out giggling when the results came in.  One day and 19 hours!  What!!! I don’t think we are going to make it back to work in time!

We did find Grayt Grounds to be only about 15 minutes from where we were.  We both fell in love with it and can’t wait to go back!  The food was phenomenal and the garden was magical.  There were hidden surprises everywhere you looked and it just begged to be explored.  The property is inspired by Claude Monet’s property in France.

Garden at Monet Monet

Garden at Monet Monet

I don't why I thought the face this lion was making was hilarious, but I did

I don’t why I thought the face this lion was making was hilarious, but I did

We made our way back to Seaside and stumbled upon the Seaside Plein Air Artists Colony Invitational (www.pleinairseaside.com).  It was so fun strolling through the peaceful grounds watching artists capture the moment so gracefully!  My favorite artist participating is JJ Zanetta.  Go check out his work at www.zanettaillustration.com!  His paintings of Pittsburg are my favorite, so full of passion and life.

For me, the best part of the day was connecting with some incredible people.  I don’t know how often this happens to you, but we had three people randomly open up to us and share their dreams and aspirations.  It was so fun getting excited with them and encouraging them in any way we could.

I think sometimes we forget that our dreams aren’t just about us.  We have gifts and talents so that we can bless others, not to make us feel better about our shortcomings.  Using your gifts is a responsibility, not just an opportunity.  And, I’m not just saying that because our first new friend plans to open a restaurant featuring local ingredients. 😉   Our other new friends shared with us their artistic aspirations!  I can’t wait to see all of their dreams come to life!  What’s that dream you’ve been afraid of pursuing?

France in Florida?

This weekend I have a little adventure planned with friend and fellow blogger Diary of a Francophone. Who knows what will happen; who knows where we will go!  I am one who loves to just get in the car and make it up as I go along.  While we don’t know where we are going, we will be on a bit of a scavenger hunt.  I am helping her find a little piece of France right here in Florida and she is helping me find adventure and something beautiful.

Since we are talking about France, I thought I’d share a few photos from my trip to Paris.  Don’t worry, it’s not another standard photo of the Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe that you’ve seen a thousand times before.  Like I mentioned in a previous post, I have this silly habit of taking photos from moving vehicles, so most of my Paris photos are from the top of a big, red double decker tour bus.

This was my favorite sculpture on the Arc de Triomphe.  What is that facial expression all about?

This was my favorite sculpture on the Arc de Triomphe. What is that facial expression all about?

I fell in love with this carousel!

I fell in love with this carousel!

Look up from inside the Eiffel Tower

Looking up from inside the Eiffel Tower

My favorite place in all of Paris - Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris!

My favorite place in all of Paris – Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris!

The stained glass was amazing!

The stained glass was amazing!

This incredible opera house just made me want to put on a ball gown and belt out my favorite aria!

This incredible opera house just made me want to put on a ball gown and belt out my favorite aria!

Loved this sculpture on top of Le Palais Garnier!

Loved this sculpture on top of Le Palais Garnier!

Lion

Sunset Over Montana

Laying in bed trying to hold on to the last bit of magic from my trip to Montana. The laughter, the freedom, the sights, the smells, the people, the food are just a few of the reasons it’s love when it comes to Montana. So, as the sun sets on this vacation I thought I’d share a few of the sunsets from this trip.

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What The Hay!

Montana

Yesterday after church, some family members and I piled into a couple cars and took the scenic drive from Great Falls to the Utica/Hobson area for the annual What The Hay contest (see www.montanabaletrail.com  for additional info). Contestants used a lot of straw, spray paint, and imagination to come up with some very creative sculptures.  As we drove the 22 mile loop from Windham to Utica to Hobson, there was much chatter in the car about which display was our favorite.  Below are a few of my favorites.  Which one is your favorite?

Wizard of Straws

Wizard of Straws

Year Of The Farmer

So God Made a Farmer

Hay 1 Steak Sauce

Hay 1 Steak Sauce

Mike and Sulhay

Mike and Sul-hay

Despic-hay-ble Me 2

Despic-hay-ble Me 2 – I about jumped out of the car when I saw these guys!

Rudolph and Friends

Yukon Corn-hay-lious, Herm-hay the elf and friends

Smart Hay Pants

Smart-hay Pants

Snoop-hay

Snoop-hay

Tow M-hay-tor

Tow M-hay-tor