Time to pack...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

As you know, we are headed to Charleston and Kiawah Island, SC this weekend and I've already started my packing process. Yes, it is a process. I have a tendency to over-pack...throwing extra stuff in for those "just in case" moments that NEVER happen. First, I lay my dream out first. Meaning, if there was no limit on how heavy my suitcase is, there was someone to cart around my suitcase for me, and I had a suitcase large enough to fit weeks of clothes...these are all the clothes, shoes, and accessories I would take with me. Then, over the next couple nights, I sleep on it and start taking things out of my "dream" and slowly get more realistic. I'll be honest, I have never gone on a trip where I had extra room in my suitcase...I always find a way to fill it. Thank goodness my husband is a VERY low-maintenance packer and has room for us to return home with some goodies from wherever we are visiting.Thanks B!

Beach vacations are fun to pack for! I start with my clothes, cover-ups, swimsuits and shoes. You can bring a lot to the beach because everything is light weight and can fold up real tight. Most important beach attire=swimsuits!
I love this starfish swimsuit from Vineyard Vines! It comes in many different styles and the colors are fun, summer colors. Next, are cover-ups. It is nice to lay around the beach all day and slip on a cute, simple cover-up to go explore the area, the restaurants, get lunch, etc.

I adore both of these! They are simple and relaxed, yet bright and fun! I cannot forget to pack my rash guard. If you like to surf, body board or have something on to keep you from getting sunburned a rash guard is very helpful. I love Patagonia's rash guards. They come in vibrant colors and have spf in them!
When it comes to packing shoes for a beach trip, I keep it very minimal. I will probably be barefoot most of the time anyway, right?! One pair of shoes I don't leave the house without in the summer are my J. Crew flip-flops. These shoes are the best. I have them in gold and silver and have worn them everyday the past 4 summers. Check out the other colors they have...I will take one of each, please:).
As far as packing clothing to go to dinner, etc...I keep it simple. Dresses or skirts I can slip on, they are very comfortable and look great with beach hair and no make-up. I don't have this dress, but wish I did to celebrate the 4th of July this year. How cute is this dress from Lily Pulitzer?? The bottom of the dress is covered in fireworks!!
Now, onto must-have beach accessories. When headed to the beach, I ditch the purse and use a beach bag as my carry-on. I stick a small straw clutch in the beach bag to use as a purse, when I need one. I found a great beach bag this year from Ballard Designs. It was cheap, even with a monogram, and the colors and size are perfect for a week of beach living!
I got the seafoam green bag and it has been with me on every beach trip this year. In the bag, number one items...sunglasses and croakies! Protect your eyes and keep track of your sunglasses with bright-colored croakies!

I never forget a hat for 2 reasons. One, to keep the sun out of my face and, two, to cover my un-combed hair while I shop.
Another item that I never travel without is a scarf. It keeps me warm on the flight, but is light enough to add some pizazz to any outfit. I am a scarf LOVER...just ask my husband. I have every color you can imagine and it's still not enough. I wear them year around and they are so practical in many ways! I am obsessed with the color of the J. Crew scarf below and want to wear it with an all white outfit!
Finally, one more important accessory to have in your beach bag is a koozie! You never know when you are going to have a cold drink on the beach or in town, so have one ready. Southern Marsh has some great koozies in a variety of colors.
Ok, now I'm ready for Kiawah! My motto for beach packing is keep it simple and VERY colorful!

See you tomorrow for VACATION FRIDAY!!

Coastal paintings by Carol Outlaw-Wagner

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I believe that a beautiful coastal painting can lighten up every room...and even light up our faces every now and then! Good thing my Aunt Carol loves to paint coastal scenes. Carol is not my aunt by blood, but is one of my mom's best friends and, therefore, my aunt via friendship. She is a wonderful person and an amazing artist.
She and her husband live on the bay in Galveston and have embraced the coastal life I dream of each day. Good thing she paints such vivid images of different coastal scenes, so I can look at them and have mini escapes to different coastal places I dream of going someday. I wish this was me, right now, walking along a beach, on a faraway island...the waves hitting my bare feet...listening to the soothing sound of waves rushing in...and the glimmer of sunshine hitting my face, keeping me warm as the cool water hits my skin.
Her passion for the coast and depicting so many beautiful moments on water is such an inspiration.
I hope to own all of these and more one day because they make me smile and capture the true, natural beauty of the sea. My husband has the next painting in his office at work and I'm pretty sure he escapes to his favorite beach town, just for a moment, each time he looks at the painting.
I hope you enjoy these incredible paintings as much as I do and thank you, Aunt Carol, for painting beautiful coastal scenes to share with all of the coastal lovers in the world!

A BEAUTIFUL Coastal find in AUSTIN!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I'm a very luck girl because my parents have a house in Austin, so I get to see them most every weekend, which I love! My mom had eye surgery recently and needed a little help getting some things done. If you know my mom, this is a hilarious thought because she can do EVERYTHING herself! My dad, sister and I give her a hard time because she would rather do things on her own and take 5 million hours, than ask us for help...I think they call this stubborn? :) Anyways, she was very sweet to treat me to a pedicure since she actually let me help her by washing her hair, carrying her purse, etc.

Once we arrived at the pedicure place, I glanced over the nail polish colors, but always choose the same one...a coral, beachy color I love..."cute as a button" by Essie. This color makes me dream of beaches and it is perfect for our 4th of July trip to Kiawah! I know, I know...red would be more patriotic, but I just wasn't feeling it. I was sitting in the chair, trying to relax and picked up the magazine next to my chair. I saw the words, "Coastal Living in Central Texas" on the front of Urban Home Magazine. I looked at my mom and said...possibly screamed with excitement, "Mom...no way! This is amazing!" Thankfully, the shop was filled with mostly elderly people, so there was little reaction to my screech. The cover story made me drool. This house is incredible and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
This beautiful home is on Lake Austin. If you have never been to Austin, this lake will be the thing that keeps you here when you visit. It's right in the middle of the city and is surrounded by a running trail, fun restaurants like Hula Hut and Abel's on the Lake and by gorgeous, million dollar homes...some with acres of waterfront property. It truly is a site to see! This house was designed by James LaRue, a top architect in Austin. It's interesting because he is mostly known for his sleek, modern design and this was his first coastal house to design and I must say...GREAT JOB JAMES! I hope James is still around when me and my hubbie win the lottery:). Okay, time for some pictures of the inside...and more drool...
Some of you might think it's odd to have a rock fireplace and wood beams in a coastal home. This is what we Austinites refer to as Texas Hill Country Style. In my opinion, this style is way over done in the Austin area, but the designer did a great job of bringing in some natural aspects that are indigenous to the area without going overboard.
Yes, that's the backyard of the house and beautiful Lake Austin. They have a huge yard and can hop in the water or the boat anytime they want!

Well folks...there is COASTAL in Austin, TX and this makes me very happy!

On another note, I follow the Seawashed blog and the Author is extremely talented and knows how to decorate coastal homes. She has an Etsy shop as well where you can buy beautiful paintings, postcards, etc. She is having a giveaway on her blog, so if you are interested, just go to her blog and follow the directions or just take a look at her store and all the beautiful finds!

Have a beautiful day!

Annie went to the Hamptons!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy Monday!

I mentioned in an earlier post that my sister, Annie, was headed to the Hamptons this past weekend. She had a great time and took some beautiful pictures!
She said it was a gorgeous, peaceful, slightly rural drive in. It looked more like a neighborhood than most beach towns she has visited. She took a picture of the famous lobster roll place. I'm getting really hungry for lobster just looking at the photo!
I asked her to send me some of her favorite finds and most of them were found in the Amagansett Square. I wish I had been there, but based on her description of some of the shops, it would not have been good for my budget!
I will take one of each for my house please! :)

Overall, she really enjoyed the Hampton's and said it was a great place to relax and unwind. She did mention that the days were a little gray, but that didn't stop her from taking in some of the beautiful coastal surroundings.

I will have to make a trip there one day, but for now the pictures will have to do. Thank you Annie for sharing with us!!

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Today is the 1st of VACATION FRIDAYS!

We all know our minds are somewhere else on Fridays...whether you are at work, running errands, picking up the kids, etc...we are all thinking of being somewhere else and can't wait until we get that feeling of freedom that 5:00 pm on a Friday brings. It's similar to the feeling of kids getting out of school for the summer. I would give anything to hear the sound of the waves, have my sandy toes in the water, book in my hand and the sun on my face right now.

When i dream of vacations, 99% of the time I dream of beaches. Each Friday my blog will be dedicated to a new beach town I want to visit or one that I have visited and loved and want to share with you.

Join me for this Friday's vacation...and escape with me to PORT ARANSAS, TX!!

Some of you might be like...uhh? What is that place? Texas has nice beaches? That is not a place I would pick as a dream vacation...etc, etc...

Maybe this post can convince you that Texas DOES have wonderful beach towns! Port Aransas is perfect in so many ways. It is located 4 hours from Austin, so it's an easy escape for a long weekend. It is not very developed and has the wonderful small town feel. My family and I stayed in Port Aransas over Easter and rented a house in Cinnamon Shores. This community is amazing!

Walkway to the beach from Cinnamon Shores

Cinnamon Shores houses on Lake Colby
It's a family-friendly neighborhood covered in pastel-colored houses that scream, "I'm a beach house...come and chill with me!" All of the houses have porches off most of the rooms, palm trees outside the doors, outside showers, and big comfy chairs to sit and watch the sunset every night. The chosen transportation in the community is a bike and/or golf cart. There is a beautiful community area with a pool, workout room, and clubhouse that is always filled with the joyful smiles, laughter and chatter of children having the time of their life. There is an arched walkway that leads straight to the beach that you can walk to or take your golf cart if you are carrying a lot stuff. 

We stayed in a beautiful house that had plenty of room for all of us...me and my husband, my parents, my sister, my husband's parents, his two brothers and his youngest brother's girlfriend...yes, room for all of us! Our deck overlooked beautiful Colby lake and the cute fishing pier. At night, the fishing pier is covered in white lights. 
Sea Lestial-Our home for the weekend
The community is full of fun and activities. Over Easter, they had an Easter egg hunt and it was so much fun watching the many kids run around and find eggs all over the place. One little girl was not quite fast enough and kept getting her eggs taken from her, so my father-in-law placed an egg in our yard and made sure she found it and put it in her basket. She at least got home with one egg! There was an outdoor movie for families to take part in one night. Also, they are in the midst of building the R&R Cafe which will have coffee, pastries, snacks and drinks all day and wine and cheese at night. In a year, the community plans to have restaurants, shops, and more. It's a paradise for kids and adults!

Port Aransas doesn't have Caribbean blue/green beaches, but it has a wonderful family-feel that can be enjoyed by anyone! 

I hope you enjoyed this Texas getaway and have a wonderful weekend!!

Transitioning house from traditional to coastal...one room at a time....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our house is definitely not what I would call a "coastal" home, but I'm doing my best to create a coastal feel. Since we can't move to the beach (at least for now), we'll bring the beach to us! We have painted many walls and added small coastal accents throughout the home, but the first room to truly turn "coastal" was our small guest bathroom. Because it is small, it was a good place to start. We will be in this house for a while, so I want to make it one we love, even if we are the ONLY coastal home in Austin, TX :).

First, we painted the bathroom a beautiful blue color. We went over to our friend's house and he had this color in one of his rooms and we fell in love. It's a bright, yet peaceful color. I sanded and repainted the white cabinets and added stainless hardware to the cabinet drawers and doors. 

Now for the fun part...there was a large, old mirror on the wall that I did not like. We found a great deal on a mirror at Pottery Barn Outlet and Brad and I discussed researching the best way to take down the old mirror since it was GLUED to the wall. The very next day, without any research, my husband came home from work and found me in the bathroom pulling at the mirror, making a mess. I was too excited...I just wanted to see the finished product! After a night of ripping down the mirror, a night of sanding, and 2 nights of painting...the wall is still not perfect, but will have to do for now. Once we hung the mirror, we loved it! 

I bought a few blue accent pieces and put up the coral shower curtain. I am obsessed with the colors in this curtain and think it does a great job of bringing out the pretty blue walls in a small space. Brad and I are far from handy, but we got the job done and are thrilled to have our first, fully coastal room. I feel like I'm in my future beach house every time I step into the room! 

My mom came over to check out the updated space and gave us a beautiful shell bowl and shells to put in the bathroom. A perfect, final touch! Now, I'm excited to pick out which room will be next! Sorry the pictures are not the best ...a new camera is on our "want" list.

I just dropped my sister off at the airport and she is headed to spend her 1st weekend ever in the Hampton's with my cousin. I have never been there, but I can imagine all of the fun and beautiful coastal boutiques that she will step foot in this weekend. She has promised to share with us some of her favorite finds on the island!

Have a great day!!

Getting ready for a beach vacation!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I am always dreaming of a beach vacation. Once I get back from one, I start planning another. My mom is from the East Coast, so growing up we often visited East Coast beaches. I have come to love the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. There is something very serene and rustic about it. It feels much different than the Caribbean, the Gulf, etc. On the other hand, my husband did not travel to the East Coast much for family vacations, so I'm excited to say that he will be relaxing on an East Coast beach for his first time on the 4th of July! We are headed to Kiawah Island, South Carolina...30 minutes from Charleston, a city I have longed to visit for many years. Kiawah is most well-known for the Sanctuary Hotel , but we decided to rent a house and plan to cook our favorite seafood dishes each night. Also, if you enjoy golf, there are a number of beautiful courses on the island. Golf is not at the top of our list, but we do love to surf and although Kiawah is not a surf town, Folly Beach is right down the road and has some decent surf. Surf that will suite me just fine and surf that might bore my husband a bit :). If you have never traveled to East Coast beaches, I highly recommend the trip. There is something special about southern beach towns and I cannot wait to experience Kiawah! Some pictures of Kiawah are below. I'll be sure and update you with some highlights of the Island once we get there! 
Sunset on Kiawah Island

Kiawah Beach

The Sanctuary Hotel

Folly Beach

A wave at Folly Beach that I will not be surfing :)

Broad St.-Charleston, SC...Southern Charm at it's best!
Let me know if you have been to Kiawah Island and things we can't miss out on when we are there! I can't wait to hear about all the beach vacations you all have planned this summer!