Emery and I made a little extra time for the sunset today, just because. Her ballet class is about 100 steps from the beach, so it’s practically illegal not to skip over and check it out. Of course, a sweet treat is almost always involved and today we went for Dawson’s yogurt with sprinkles and M&Ms. It was perfection. Emery and I ate every bite, then she demonstrated her newest ballet moves as if she had an entire audience. This mostly involves lots of clapping her hands and saying, “Okay. Okay. Okay.” as she thinks of the next plié or pirouette. I love every minute. These are the moments I just want to pause and savor!
After a busy day of ballerina time for the Flutterby Festival, the obligatory trip to Target and plenty of 30A sunshine our Saturday was topped with a pit-stop to the beach just in time to catch the sunset. Emery’s favorite part? “Giving sand back to the water.” I just love the way she thinks!
30 Days of Thanks. Day 5: thankful for time to unplug to enjoy little moments and big beauty
Tuesdays have quickly become a frontrunner for favorite day of the week. I know it’s hard to beat a relaxing Saturday or a lazy Sunday, but lately our Tuesdays have involved pink tutus, buns, ballet slippers and adventures in Seaside. Emery’s Itty Bitty Ballet classes take place at The Studio in the heart of Seaside. While she’s in class, I get to take a time out to grab an Amavida Coffee, browse Instagram, Pinterest or (more often) peek in to watch the class. These little ballerinas are adorable!
After class, we could easily wander over for a Frost Bites sno-cone, yogurt at Dawson’s, mac n cheese at Barefoot BBQ or a quick trip to the beach. It’s literally across the street. With the fall-back time change, we have just enough time to cross over to one of Seaside’s gorgeous pavilions (see more here and here) and make our way to the top of the dunes to see the clouds and water undergo their daily transformation.
While I like to soak all this in…
…my excited little ballerina is just as fun to watch.
Here’s the view from the West Ruskin Pavillion looking east toward Bud & Alley’s…
…and the gorgeous view looking west toward the Pensacola Pavilion and Watercolor in the distance.
More About Me
So you want to get away from the hustle and bustle, the every day drama, the mundane and trade it in for a perfectly relaxing, salt-in-the-air, breeze-on-your-face, sun-on-your-skin, feet-in-the-sand kind of place? Our quiet little beach town has been frequented by one or two rock stars, country singers, politicians, world-renowned chefs and super star athletes. That’s right. We have our fair share of celebrity sightings on 30A.
Why? Because of this.
And the fact that locals leave them alone to relax and enjoy the scenery. Most people don’t do more than a double take when they realize they’re standing in line at Publix next to someone they just read about in a magazine or watched in Sunday’s big game. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a little excitement, but this place is full of people with amazing stories of success, fortune and achievement. The one thing almost everyone here has in common is that they’ve traded in a more fast-paced, corporate-type lifestyles (no more black suits, board meetings and HOV lanes) for a moment or longer to get back to the basics.
So what does someone who could go anywhere or do anything do here? Check out some of the celebrity sightings in South Walton (updated):
- Workout at Watercolor – Eli Manning, Laurie Hickson-Smith
- Watch the sun go down at Bud & Alley’s – Sean Payton, Jessica Simpson, Tony Romo, Kenny Chesney, James Carville
- Shop at Publix – Miley Cyrus, Emeril Lagasse
- Eat at Cafe Thirty-A – Eli Manning, Lance Armstrong
- Eat at George’s – Charles & Cassie Kelley, Emily Robison & Martie Maguire, Michele Kwan
- Soak up the sun at Caliza – Katherine Heigl, Stephen Baldwin
- Shop in Seaside – Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Sheryl Crow, Jane Seymour
- Browse toys at Duckie’s – Sheryl Crow, Kim Zolciak
- YOLO board in the Gulf or coastal dune lake – Kellie Pickler, Ingo Rademacher
- Indulge in perfected sweets at La Crema – Charles Kelley
- Fill up at the Tom Thumb – All American Rejects
- Sample Stinky’s delicious seafood – Bart Starr, Sam Bush
- Stroll around Rosemary Beach – Katie Holmes, Vern Yip, Karl Rove, Kellie Pickler, Miley Cyrus, Tom Glavine
- Dine at Fish Out of Water – Greg Kinnear
- Eat at the Taco Bar – Eli Manning, Jessica Simpson, Tony Romo
- Lay on the beach – Candace Crawford Romo, Kellie Pickler and pretty much everyone else
- Play on the beach – Tony Romo, Troy Aikman (The best beach football game ever!)
- Drink on the beach – Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney
- Eat, drink, sing and kick up your heels at the Red Bar – Sara Evans, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Julia Roberts, Sheryl Crow, Luke Bryan and many, many more
White sand, beautiful Gulf water, friendly people and living life pure and simple. That’s what it’s about in South Walton and on 30A, whether you’re here for a weekend or a lifetime, whether you’re famous or not. The lesson here: You don’t have to be a Super-Bowl-winning quarterback (or a rock star, movie star, etc) to enjoy a taste of sweet southern Gulf paradise. You just have to be in South Walton, living like the locals.
More About Me
Some weekends start with a bang and are so action-packed you can hardly catch a breath cramming in one thing and another before you realize it’s 10 pm Sunday night and you have accomplished exactly NOTHING. (Maybe that’s just me?) Luckily, this weekend wasn’t like that at all. It was laid-back, relaxing, and full of adventure, yet still, those two wonderful days rolled by at a pace just lazy enough to enjoy before it was all over and Monday starts calling.
It was a mix of white sand, sunshine and salt air Saturday as I was hubby-free and baby-free at the beach, followed by dirt, trees and hunting dogs on Sunday as Emery and I accompanied Hunter on a day of deer tracking. The weekend was the epitome of life lately. Mixing in my beloved beach days and South Walton fun with Hunter’s country days and good ol’ boy ways. As different as they are, they seem to work. They offer a welcome variety and one side totally helps me appreciate the other, so that I’m able to get caught up in the scenes, the sounds, and really living in that moment. Let me tell you, it’s a wonderful thing.
Emery and I woke up with the sun (she is her father’s child, after all) and rode down the driveway to get the newspaper. Yes, people still get newspapers delivered in the country and Emery absolutely loves to take an early ride to pick up the paper (even if I’m more likely to read it on my iPhone).
After a morning of a bit of housework and playing with Em’s new Christmas toys, Hunter’s mom picked up my sweet girl and left me to relax with peace, quiet and no diaper changing for the day. It was just perfect. Even in January, it was 70 degrees, sunny and breezy. I couldn’t have designed a better day myself.
Where was I off to? I headed straight to Seaside and stopped to shop at the Farmer’s Market. It is one of my 2012 resolutions to eat more veggies, after all.
I grabbed lunch from my friend Abby at Barefoot BBQ. I’d recommend any of the Airstream trailers in Seaside for a bite to eat, but the BBQ truck is definitely my favorite.
After lunch, I went straight to … where else … the beach! It was only the first Saturday of the year, but it seemed like the first day of spring break. I sat back, closed my eyes, and enjoyed every single moment of the warm, sunny day and the water twinkling in the background.
There’s something about digging your feet in the sand that instantly degrades your stress level. It didn’t hurt that the beach was all dolled up with its finest on display. The sun, the water, the sand, the clouds – everything – was just perfect.
Instead of camping in the woods like he usually does, Hunter surprised me by coming home last night, just as I was making my way in from the beach so we could have a little date night while we had a babysitter. He actually said he missed my cooking (can you believe that?!), so we decided to stay in, cook at home and watch a movie from the couch. It was completely relaxing and just what I needed.
The downside to agreeing to ride along and hunt with him is the 4:30 am wake up call. We woke up earlier than any normal person ever should and hit the road to the hunting camp. We picked up Emery from Hunter’s mom when we got there, got situated in the truck and watched all the excitement, listening to the guys talk at light speed on the radio and racing down dirt roads. Most of the day involved driving around, watching for tracks, releasing dogs, listening for dogs, picking up dogs, and doing this over and over and over. It’s a lot of hurry up and wait, but still fun to see my hubby in action.
Emery loves the doggies!
This little girl thinks she can drive. Sorry honey, not until you’re 15 and even then I’ll probably have a heart attack.
Please excuse my appearance below. Did I mention I woke up at 4:30 am? Ponytail – check. Sweats – check. I can handle my normal morning routine anytime after 5:30, but an hour earlier means all that goes out the window.
My Hunter man didn’t score a big buck this day, but lucky for us, we have PLENTY of quality organic venison in our fridge and freezer.
Now, here we are, Sunday night, back at home, baths complete, PJs on, stories read and ready for bed. After a fun, leisurely weekend, it’s safe to say, we’re relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to face another week. Monday, here we come!
On my way to the first night of the 30A Songwriters Festival, I had to pull over not once, but three times to snap a few pictures as the sun went down. It was just that good.
Over Western Lake
Over Camp Creek Lake