Monday, June 30, 2014

Dreamland (part 1)

This past week our family vacationed in Rosemary Beach, FL. I first came here 5 years ago for my cousin's wedding and I was so excited to come back and introduce Zach, Allie, and my MIL Cindy to this charming little town! I am gonna break our trip photos up into a few posts. I know I am cray cray when it comes to taking pics, but I just love it. I am also gonna post a few pics that aren't mine, Google images and such, so you can better appreciate this little piece of paradise!

So Rosemary Beach. Established in 1995 and designed by architects Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk to be a neo-traditional town that is reminiscent of a town 50 years ago. Community, the environment, and maintaining a pedestrian lifestyle are among it's core values. The whole town is only 107 acres and every inch is amazing and fabulous. It seriously is a little dreamland!

(Google image)
For more on the design and architecture of Rosemary, read this.

Lots of outdoor eateries and cafes.

The post office. Yes it's adorbs.
Town Hall on left, post office right.

Looking back from the beach...
(Google image)
In my opinion, the Pearl Hotel is the jewel of the town, located at the base of all the shops/cafes and at the foot of the Western Green and walkover. It is such a lovely hotel and I hope to come back here with Zach and stay sometime. (They only have guest rooms for 1-2 people.)
The Pearl by day…pool and roof top cabanas (Sol Luna lounge in background)
(Google image)
Beautiful balconies and awnings.
The Pearl by night...
(Google image)
Such a warm and cozy place!

Now for the beach homes. The unique beach homes make this town so special.
(Google image)

All of them appear naturally (and perfectly) placed around trees and palmetto plants that define the gulf coast landscape. 

Many of the homes have incredible patios, porches, balconies, and courtyards which create such unique outdoor spaces and experiences. 
And my favorite beach home of all…right on the ocean and at the southwest corner of the Eastern Green...
So gorgeous.

For our week here, we rented a cottage through the Rosemary Beach Rental Company and it was a great experience.
Our home for the week...
Charming and simple. We loved this place!

If you are interested in staying in RB sometime (and you should), here are a few of my vacation rental tips…

#1. Book early (rentals go fast!)
#2. It is cheaper to stay here in the off season so keep that in mind if budget is an issue…
#3. Most of the rentals in the summer are a minimum of 7 days so keep that in mind. It took me a lot of searching to find one that met all the criteria I was looking for…
#4. Go ahead and do your bike rental with your home rental. It just makes things easier and they work with the bike shop.
#5. Beach and pool access come with the rental, but not umbrella/beach chair rentals. We brought our own, but if I could do it all over again, I might rent an umbrella, set of chairs and table from Sea Oats (the rental company) for at least one day. It all depends on your budget. 
All in all we loved our stay here and we unanimously agreed there is no other beach we want to vacation at than Rosemary. 

After dinner on our first night in town we went down to the beach to enjoy the breeze and fading light of the day. 

My MIL Cindy on the walkover...

These guys.
Later that night we went down to the beach for a walk and to celebrate my MIL. It happened to be her birthday so after cards and dessert we lit some candles (which is challenging at the beach haha) and celebrated her and the impact she has had in our lives. It was an awesome start to an amazing week! We love Rosemary Beach! Stay tuned for more deets! 

Sunday, June 22, 2014


This past week has been action packed for our family of three! On Monday, Allie and I drove to Greenville to meet up with her BFF Emma (from Charlotte) and her mom Christy. Our rendevous was at the Chocolate Moose, a local cupcake shop.

 These girls are so happy to be together (and eating cupcakes)!
 And I think Emma's Micky is pretty stoked too. :)
Monday night, Allie wanted to cook for us and she made tortilla soup, pictured below.
I whipped up some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for our goat appreciation/memorial/wake/ceremony.  (A few days prior, Allie got word that her beloved goat herd in Alabama had been killed by coyotes.) These animals were very important to her so she shared some stories while we ate some cookies (the goats liked oats), and remembered her furry friends.
Late Tuesday afternoon we went to the pool in our friend's neighborhood. I am loving my new London beach bag and can't wait to take it to the beach this week!
This was a really nice pool equipped with water slide, a separate splash pad type pool for little kids, and the big pool for "big kids."

 Later on the girls had some fun with Zach having target practice in the backyard. For Father's Day at 12Stone, one of the manly games they had available to play prior to the service was a shooting game using these air-soft guns and pellets. Zach got to keep a few and the girls loved shooting up the woods behind our house.

Afterwards, they took all that practice and put it to good use in pirate laser tag! Unfortuntately it wasn't good enough because I beat everyone! Muah hahaha!

A few shots of the pirate laser tag arena. We love this place!

The pirates- Zach, the girls, and our friend Jon!
And after all our sweaty laser tagging, we had to finish off the day with some froyo.

 Allie's classic froyo mush.
 After work Wednesday, I took the little ladies to one of our favorite places - Dr. Bombay's Underwater Tea party. Allie really wanted Emma to experience this place and I couldn't agree more!
 Such a unique place.
 We love the eccentric wall galleries in this place.
And this. Who makes an appointment to play a piano?
 Tea time!
We got our favorite apricot honey tea plus a new one - strawberry vanilla. 

 We love sugar cubes.
My favorite pic from the outing.
Lovely ladies talking in British accents the entire time. It was so fun!
The goodies.

Clotted cream and jam on sconces. Oh my...

Final course - strawberry cheesecake ice cream.
 Such a fun time!
And after Dr. Bombay's we stopped in Kelly's Closet, the most amazing bridal shop in all the land. :)
Allie and I have frequently admired their storefront window, but this time Allie wanted to go in. 
Never in my life have I seen such a unique collection of gowns. They were all so unbelievably gorgeous!
 Fun details of the shop...

Lots and lots of textures.

What girl doesn't love dreaming about her wedding/wedding dress? :)

 Allie's pick!
 Emma's pick!
And later on Wednesday night we had about ten 12Stone musicians over for burgers and fries. Most of these were guys Zach plays with or mentors.
 It was the first time our house has been "full" like that since we moved and it was nice to have people scattered throughout almost every room. Allie and Emma coerced two of them into playing Clue with them. Haha! And I'm pretty sure the girls won. :)
 On Thursday we went swimming in our friends' saltwater pool.
 Unique diving…. stone?
 I don't know what it was exactly about this water, but it felt so smooth, almost disturbingly so. I called it "butter water" because of how soft it was. Haha!
 Playing in the waterfall.
 And under it.
Having a total blast!

And Thursday night the girls went to M12 (middle school ministry at 12Stone). 
 They dressed up for Hippie Night except… Allie heard the announcement wrong and it wasn't Hippie Night after all. LOL! Seriously amazing though. These girls love to style it up!

 Playing some corn hole before the program...

Night of Worship at M12- Sugarloaf. They had a great time!
On Friday while Zach was driving the girls back to Greenville to meet Emma's mom, my MIL Cindy and I enjoyed a scrumptious lunch at JCT Kitchen, one of my favs. Zach and I actually ate here the night we got engaged and I honestly don't think I've been back since.
Cindy got the "Grown Up" grilled cheese with tomato soup
(Google image)
and I got the fried chicken salad (salad served on top of the chicken interestingly enough).
(Google image)
Afterwards I had to take her to Jeni's for some gourmet ice cream...
and then to browse some local shops including Star Provisions. I just posted about this place (and Jeni's) in last week's post, but I had to post this one pic I didn't see on our first visit. It's wood made to look like cake. So inventive right?
Once Zach and Al were back from their mini road trip, we took a stroll through our little town of Duluth and Food Truck Friday, a weekly event in the center of downtown.
Trying out a new King of Pops popsicle!

On Saturday we headed to downtown Atlanta for lunch and a tour of the Fabulous Fox Theatre. The theatre, originally designed as a headquarters for the Atlanta Shriner's organization, has a fascinating history. (Click here to read about it!)

(Google image)

When the Fox opened in 1929, it had air conditioning and indoor plumbing with toilets that flushed automatically. They also had these adorable built in telephone booths in the restrooms.
The theatre itself is so magical. I have seen Michael Buble here as well as the broadway show Wicked and there's just.. no place like it.
(Google image)
 Fake balconies to conceal pipes for the pipe organ.
So many custom carpet patterns in this place...
 And so many faux finishes. They used plaster to replicate the look of wood, fabric, stone, etc. throughout the facility.
Awesome architectural details at every turn.
 The Egyptian Ballroom (I've actually attended an event here before)

We love the Fox!
This week we will be on vacation on the Gulf Coast and I seriously cannot wait for some r&r. Stay tuned for more deets when we're back from our trip!