Sunday, May 26, 2013

Better Tan & Better Attitude

I'm back.

Back, in the words of my roommate and travel companion, with "a better tan and a better attitude."

I'm convinced that vacations are absolutely necessary, and travel is good for the soul.

We get so caught up in the daily routine and stresses of life.  It's important to disconnect, take a little breather, and recharge your spirit once in a while.

So, Jenna (travel buddy) and I did exactly that.  We left real life at home and headed to Destin, Florida, for five days of a much-anticipated and much-needed vacation.

The sand was white, the water a perfect blue-green.  It didn't so much as drizzle any rain while we were there, and since it was mid-May, kids were still in school, so it wasn't at all crowded.  

We stayed at the Embassy Suites at Miramar Beach, which was a great choice.  All we had to do was cross a little street, walk across a short boardwalk, and we were on the sand.  You could see the ocean from the hotel.  But, we didn't have to pay beachside prices.  Not to mention scoring complimentary breakfast every day!

All day we were on the beach, soaking up the sand, sun, and sea, and reading.  Lots and lots of reading, which we both love and have trouble finding free time for back at home.  

We saved money by making sandwiches for lunch in our hotel room, and then after a day on the beach, we'd head out for a later dinner.  We had delicious dinners every night, but our favorite spots were Pompano Joe's (incredible seafood, great views right along the beach, fun atmosphere) and La Famiglia (delicious Italian that included fresh seafood-- an amazing meal, cozy, authentic little spot). 

The one thing we didn't do was check out the nightlife after our semi-late dinners, but hey, who says we can't read every night and go to bed by 11PM if we want to?  It was our vacation, after all!

Basically, in case you couldn't already tell, we had a wonderful getaway.  I'm rejuvenated and ready to return to life as usual.

Even though I'm already experiencing beach withdrawals...

You can check out my other vacation pics on Instagram

Life in a Break Down

Friday, May 17, 2013

Thank goodness it's time for VACATION!

As I picked up my coffee order this morning, my favorite barista (or whatever the male version of that is!) said "Happy Friday and have a great weekend!" And I was more than ready to tell him, "Thanks- and I'm actually leaving for vacation this weekend!"

So, Friday, today you get a  double high five!

1. I've reached a new level with my Starbucks.  I no longer have to say a word when I walk in; they see me and automatically start making my drink, complete with name.  Some might say this is a sign of a problem; I'm just choosing to be impressed with their customer service!  
2. Wine + sweet girlfriends. Quality Saturday night.
3. Historic home tour for a lovely Mother's Day.
4. Went over to bride-to-be Sarah's house on Monday night thinking we'd be helping her put together wedding centerpieces, but really it was her secret ploy to give us these adorable bridesmaid gifts.  Perfect for her approachig wedding weekend!
5. To this valet attendant, apparently "Carter" (my last name) sounds like "Harder."  I'm getting a new last name, folks.  
Are you giving Friday a double high five today, too?

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

In My Beach Bag

In case you weren't already aware, I'm pretty thrilled about leaving for the beach this weekend!

Besides the sunscreen, what else am I tossing in my bag?

1) Obviously, swimwear.  I can't wait to debut my new neon Gianni Bini swimsuit.  Typically, I have to try on dozens of swimsuits to find one that fits right, but I was shocked that the first Gianni Bini one I tried on fit perfectly, along with most of the rest that I tried on!  So many great options- check them out!

2) Post-beach outfits for dinner, exploring, cocktails, etc.  I'm struggling to choose what to pack because I want to wear all of it!  These are a must:

Bright colored shorts. Nothing screams summer more.
Express - Women's Shorts

White jeans.  You can wear them with ANY color top, and they can be dressed up or down- sandals, wedges, heels.  Such a clean look.


A long pleated skirt.  I have one in green and feel so Bohemian in it!


4) Sunglasses.  I have several pairs and shouldn't get anymore, but how fun would these be for the beach?
5) Excellent reading material. One of my favorite parts about vacation is actually taking the time to read- a hobby that I pursue far too infrequently these days.  I'll be indulging in Cosmo (my guilty pleasure) and probably People, but hours on the beach would be perfect to finally finish the second Hunger Games book and maybe dive into something even deeper.  Any recommendations?

6) A great tote to carry it all.  Mine is made of towel-like material... who cares if it gets a little wet or sandy? I also love these:

Multi Stripe Beach Tote - Yellow

All you beach bums, what am I forgetting? 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Travel Tuesdays: Beach Countdown

I've always loved the beach.

Maybe it's because my family almost always bypassed the mountains and snow for the sand and ocean when I was growing up, so it reminds me of childhood.

Or maybe it's because, in my opinion, nothing beats laying on pristine sand, a good book in hand, a fruity drink nearby, warm sunshine on your skin, the sound of ocean waves lulling you into relaxation.

I'm ready to put on my swimsuit and grab a pina colada just talking about it.

Good thing my roommate and I are leaving for our Florida beach vacation in just FOUR days!

With the sun and sand on my mind, I'm linking up with Helene for Travel Tuesday sharing a few of my favorite beach vacation memories.  Meanwhile, I'll be packing my suitcase.  

One of many family vacations-- good thing we all share a love for the beach!

Learning how to drive a jet ski! Licensed and everything!

Soooo sunburned.  We probably shouldn't have layed on the beach ALL day, EVERY day...

Dad, sister, and I were the only people crazy enough to brave strong winds and rip tide in Hilton Head. 

Maui sunset.  One of my favorite pictures ever.

Parasailing... loved it.  Must do again. 
Gorgeous Florida sunset
View from our hotel room.... also known as paradise. 
Helene in Between

Friday, May 10, 2013

High Five for a Hiatus...

Well, clearly I've taken a little blogging break!  I didn't mean for it to be this long, but with two big events at work four days apart and trying to still be social in my free time, Just Julie took a backseat!

I'm happy to report that the aforementioned two events went GREAT.   Hopefully you'll hear from me more regularly again! There are a lot of exciting things coming up in the next few months, and I'll want to share about them!

I don't know about you, but I'm definitely feeling like today is worth a high five!





1. Summer time and fun colors were meant to be together.  So excited about new shorts!
2. Woke up at the crack of dawn for a work event, and found this.  I'll just go ahead and nominate my roomie for the "Roommate of the Year" Award. 
3. Great minds dress alike for church! Loving this sweet new friend I've met this year!
4. Perfect Derby Day.  More on this to come in a longer post!
5. A nail salon that stays open until midnight and serves you margaritas? Amazing!
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