Anniversary Trip: Day 2 Continued Fort Walton Beach, Florida

1ff8f17a-c299-4edf-b82f-754b042c251fWhere we left off from my last post we had just pulled into Fort Walton Beach during our anniversary road trip.

I chose Fort Walton beach because I had heard all about the white sand and turquoise water in the Destin area, but Fort Walton is just a little more affordable than Destin is. I have zero regrets about Fort Walton and absolutely hope to go back to the Emerald Coast one day.

Pulling into town, I immediately fell in love. I love turquoise and peach beach houses. Its just all so calming and nothing at all like we see in the Midwest.  We were in town before it was time to check into our hotel so we ventured towards town for lunch. We grabbed a quick lunch at Popeyes and then strolled through a few stores. We walked about Tuesday Morning and Five Below. Not super exciting but it was nice to be out of the car!

Afterwards we jumped back in the car and went to see if we could check into the hotel. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort on Okaloosa Island and it was absolutely gorgeous. Plus, it was located just a short walk down the beach from the Okaloosa Island Boardwalk , which has plenty of dining and shopping options.

As soon as we checked into our room I threw on my flipflops and we ran out to the beach to play in the rain like any rational grown adult people would do. The hotel has direct beach access. You just walk out the door and around the lazy river (which would be so incredibly fun during the summer) and you are on the beach!

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We walked down the beach, hunting for seashells (probably my favorite thing about the beach period) and ended up at the boardwalk. We went inside to check it out and bought the kids souvenirs. The older girls requested shirts so we got those and a mermaid doll for the toddler. For future reference, if you think the toddler will be happier with a doll than a shirt you might be wrong. She was devastated that we didn’t get her a shirt. “Where mine???”

My husband is a genius so he snuck a dress out of her closet and put it in a bag and gave it to her. She was instantly happy with her “gift”.

Girls are just a little bit dramatic.

When we were done shopping we walked back to the hotel. How cool is the giant beach ball on the hotel roof?! And we went to the room to hang out for a bit before dinner.

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For dinner we went back down to the boardwalk and ate at Rockin’ Tacos. I am not even slightly too shy to admit that this restaurant played a huge part in deciding where to book our hotel. I spent months dreaming out their gator tacos. They did not disappoint me. They were a little spicy, but not too spicy. Just enough of a kick.

 

My margarita, a Rockin Rita, was also incredibly good. The service was fast, the waitress was perfect and the restaurant itself was a lot of fun. I would absolutely go back there. Also, on Wednesday night they shoot off fireworks from the pier and this a great location to get a perfect view!

After dinner went back to the hotel and hung out at the hotel bar. I am a total pain the butt at bars because I don’t really have any signature drink that I tend to go to. I couldn’t even tell you what this was, but it was blue, and I really like Blue Curacao so I went for it. The bar was nice, stocked well and the bartender was friendly!

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We hung out down there and talked to a couple that was visiting from Nebraska before we went to bed so we could get on the road nice and early. I loved every single thing about our stay in Fort Walton. Yes, I do wish it hadn’t been rainy, but I still stand by the belief that a rainy day at the beach is still better than any day in Kansas. I really hope to make it back there with the kids sometime and hopefully we can see some blue skies and turquoise water. And I’d love to check out that lazy river too!

Stay tuned for more!

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Social Media is all about Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. I have to say I love seeing my friends decluttering and getting rid of things weighing them down. I just feel like cheering them on!
I read the book a few years ago and started to really implement a lot of things I learned immediately. Now, I will say, I don’t hug my items and tell them thank you because I just can’t, but it has made me really take a look at all the crap I own and decide “Do I really need this? Does it make me happy?” Maybe that’s why its been an ongoing process for me? Anyway, I feel as though if something doesn’t make me happy or serve a purpose it needs to be out of my way.
I was holding on to a lot of clutter out of guilt because someone else gave it to me and it felt wrong to get rid of it. It took me a long time to realize that if people in my life are going to be mad at me for decluttering my house and making it a place where I feel at peace, then I probably don’t need their negativity in my life anyway. And HELLO, anxiety is what causes me to rush to these stupid assumptions because I promise you that no one cares that I didn’t hold on to a sweatshirt that they gave for Christmas in 2001. Seriously, no one cares and I should not be stressing about it.
Once we really started to organize and decorate our house I realized that I want to spend less time cleaning and organizing and more time enjoying my home.
Our house should be a home, not a storage shed.
Now, I still love to have cute décor and things hanging on my walls. In fact, I love my walls cluttered, it makes me happy, therefore bringing me JOY. So there, joy suckers.
But, having things piled in my cabinets and closets that I haven’t touched in three years is seriously a waste of space and it causes me so much stress and lost time because then I feel the need to organize it. This is precious time I could be spending playing with my kids or reading or binge watching Netflix series. But seriously its dumb. Those are clothes that could be sold or donated. Books that I’ll never read again could be passed on to a friend. I’ve gone through the house twice since Thanksgiving and made probably $300 off of stuff that I don’t need. That money went towards things I want (a new to me dining room table for example) and debt (Yes, I do also love Dave Ramsey). 
And don’t get me wrong because I know that this isn’t the way for everyone, I’m just explaining why I love it and how it has helped me. I am finally to the point where I can sit in my living room without being stressed out and I can lay in my bed without feeling like I’m drowning in clutter. I love not feeling stressed out constantly and spending way too much time organizing things I don’t love or need. I have read that clutter makes anxiety worse and I’m here to tell you that this is the case for me for sure. If you are struggling with clutter and just having too much stuff I highly recommend reading the Tidying Up book or watching the Netflix Series!
Have you gotten into the Tidying Up trend yet?

Anniversary Road Trip: Days 1 & 2

8 years ago my husband and I eloped on New Years Eve. (More on that another day) A few years ago we started going on a trip every year to celebrate our anniversary and to just get away from everything. Normally we stay pretty close to home, but last year we were freezing in Branson, Missouri and decided that maybe we should try somewhere warmer the next year.

It wasn’t long into January before I started researching beaches on the East Coast. I’ve always been in love with the East Coast (thanks to all of the Nicholas Sparks books I have read) but I had never been.

By chance, I found Tybee Island Georgia while I was searching Pinterest and Google, and I found that they do a big fireworks display on the beach for New Years Eve. Sounded great to me! So, we booked a hotel for two nights and started our countdown.

We are friends with a couple that live in Florida, so we decided that we needed to see them while we are over that way. Eventually one thing led to another and our drive to Tybee Island became a full fledged road trip.

We started off by leaving Kansas on Thursday morning after my husband got off work and we headed to West Monroe, Louisiana for the night.

Our first roadside stop was in Paris, Texas so we could see the “Eiffel Tower”. This was a fun little stop and it’s also home of the Red River Valley Veterans Memorial. This memorial is gorgeous and such a great little place to stop.
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49175666_10215867158303963_399105180236251136_nFrom there we continued to West Monroe. The drive to Louisiana from Texas was beautiful. The roads weren’t busy at all, and I just stared at all the beautiful farmhouses and trees. There is something about beautiful white farmhouses with round columns that makes me want to drool.

We arrived in West Monroe around 6:00. If you didn’t know already, the show Duck Dynasty is/was filmed there. We used to watch it a few years ago, but we haven’t watched regular tv in a few years. The Duck Commander Warehouse/Store was closed by the time we got there, but we knew that was going to happen. This wasn’t really a destination, more of a pit stop to sleep for the night. However, I had spent 3 days drooling over the menu at Willie’s Duck Diner and trying to decide what to eat for dinner. So naturally we pulled into the parking lot and there was a sign on the door saying “Closed until further notice”. Apparently they are closed for remodeling, but there was nothing on their Facebook page or website about that! Ugh. Luckily there was a Logan’s Roadhouse in the same parking lot, and I’m always up for steak so we ate there. My electric lemonade was delicious by the way.49010281_10215867163024081_3224860659304890368_n

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in West Monroe. Great hotel. The location felt pretty safe and we had no complaints! We love Holiday Inn Express. I always feel like its a safe bet and at least you can grab breakfast before you head out for the day.

Unless you leave the  hotel at 6 AM…. which we did, but that’s ok because we grabbed some coffee and hit the road. We stopped on the way out of town to snap a picture of the Duck Commander store.

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From there we worked our way on to Florida. We drove through Mississippi, and Alabama which wasn’t a bad drive. Still not a lot of traffic, but when we got to Mobile, Alabama we took a tunnel under the water and it basically gave me a mini panic attack. Thank God I wasn’t the one driving. I didn’t even know this was a thing! This girl that has been landlocked her entire life was freaking the hell out.
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We came out the other side and there was the sea. It was foggy and cloudy so the view wasn’t spectacular and I didn’t get any good pictures but I swear that salty air immediately cures all of my anxiety. For someone that’s only been to the beach once, I sure fell in love with the sea hard and fast. In Alabama I finally saw some Palm Trees, so of course I screamed like I was dying and Justin thought we were about to wreck and realized he should have brought duct tape for my mouth on this trip.

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It wasn’t too long from there before we were in Fort Walton Beach! I have a lot to say about Fort Walton so that will be in my next post! Stay tuned!

Day 1: Starting New Habits

Today is the 16th of January. Since the third of January I have had “Write for 30 minutes” on my to do list every single day. Since the third of January that task has been left unfinished every single day. Its not that I haven’t wanted to write or like I haven’t been able to find words, but it seems as though every single day more important tasks come up one after another until it’s time to make dinner and get everyone sent to bed.

As long as I can remember, and I’m talking about as far back as kindergarten, I have dreamed of being a writer. An author, a journalist, a freelancer.. just something. I know that the only way to make progress towards that dream is to actually sit down and put words on paper…. er… the laptop screen. So, why is it that for all these years I have managed to put everything else in front of what I want to do?

I have plenty to talk about! I just went on an amazing road trip with my husband. I’ve realized in the past couple of years that traveling gives me life and I want to be able to share my adventures! I’ve read some great books, cooked some fun meals and honestly just survived some interesting adventures in parenting. I’ve set goals for 2019 that I haven’t even put to paper. So today, I am breaking the cycle and making a conscious effort to spend a little bit of time every weekday writing.

It may not be the best writing or the most exciting or the most informative every day but my goal is to quit worrying about being good enough and just making an effort to sit down and do it because that is my version of self care.

I started this new blog at this new address because I feel like I need a fresh start. The name is a little dorky but I am too, so it seems fitting. I hope you’ll follow along and maybe get something useful out of what I have to say.