Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A LIttle Bit of Paradise

Just because I have friends and family both headed to the white beaches of Panama City, Florida soon, I thought I would share my trip with you today. In May, I met up with 2 very special gals,

one who owns a condo on the beach for a girls' getaway.

The beach was beckoning,

the weather delightful,

and the white sands with crystal blue waters in perfect form.

We cherished our beach time,

enjoyed some regional cooking at Great Southern cafe in Seaside: crab cakes and fried green tomatoes,

with cheese grits shared between friends,

while a crab martini and collard greens were the choice of my healthy-eating companion.

Shopping along the seaside towns is a must for any girls' trip, so we enjoyed the little towns and their individualities: Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Watercolor and many more,

where we found beautiful clothing,

a touch of Paris,

and bright accessories along the way.

Did I mention we ate a lot on this trip--sharing along the way, of course, so we could try more things. We found several food trucks on the main drag of Seaside,

and tried the recommended Melt Down on 30 A,

where the Three Cheese grilled cheese hit the spot!

Dinner was a little further down the road at the ever popular and crowded (i.e go early) Stinky's Fish Camp where we enjoyed Unka Duke's BBQ shrimp

and Blue Crab Stuffed Squash Gratin,

but the real reason for dining there was the Key Lime pie which has been voted the best in the area and was definitely worth the drive.

Shopping, eating, beach time....

I think this chair is calling my name!

What are some of your favorite places along the panhandle of the Florida/Alabama coast?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Birthday America!

Our neighborhood had its Fourth of July parade early this morning, and Little Miss Sunshine came over

to wave to the crowds in her Poppy's '56 T Bird.

The dogs came out for the fun

as so did the kids,

when they heard there was a promise of ice cream at the end of the parade.

Back home at the house, there were watermelon treats,

red and juicy,

putting smiles on faces.

Of course, there was some grillin'

by father and son.

Cousin time was fun,

and we're counting down the days until the new baby cousin Aiden makes his appearance!

This little fellow was a firecracker,

until we tried to take a cousins' photo,

and then his little heart was broken over it all.

He pondered it a bit,

thought about a backwards shot,

and then smiled his little grin to show who was in charge.

He's head over heels in love with 

his mama,

and thinks his daddy is pretty special too.

And there's no little girl who adores her daddy more than this sweet one.

Hope your Fourth of July was full of celebration!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Strolling Piccadilly

During my last week in London, friends and I headed out to play, as we often did on any given day. It was rare during my stay in London that we weren't gathering almost every day for some adventure, and this early summer day was no exception. Taking the double decker bus towards Piccadilly, we were forced to stop for the Queen's troops who were headed to Green Park for a 41 gun salute for the 60th anniversary of the Queen's Coronation.

Seeing the Queen's troops around town was not an unusual sighting--putting life on a short pause to take it all in.

The city was decked out on Piccadilly Street with banners for the commemoration.

Our destination was off Carnaby Street

for burgers, Hawaiian style, at Kua 'Aina, a London outpost of the famous hamburger restaurant where Obama always eats when he's in Hawaii.

Just down the street from Kua 'Aina is an unassuming corner store, called Choccywoccydoodah,

which as you might assume from the name is not so ordinary of a spot. Tucked inside is a decadent wonderland of over-the-top handmade cakes and

delicious chocolate delights. To make it even more special, there's a little coffee shop inside and a "secret room" upstairs for private events when you can have your own chocolate feast. Sounds divine!

I love stumbling on surprises like this one walking around London!

We carried on and joined a London Walk group for a new tour of the Piccadilly area, that took us in and around the area seeing both some familiar spots and some that were new to us.

We spotted several of the private gentlemen's clubs, like The Athenaeum started in 1824 

as well as others, which are often still private clubs today.

We stopped by the St. James Church, a Christopher Wren church on Piccadilly Street,

and stepped off into its quiet garden space unknown to many, just steps from the hectic traffic of Piccadilly Street.

From there we could look down upon Jermyn Street, which for centuries has been known as the best place to find gentlemen's clothing. Floris is the oldest English retailer of toiletries and accessories, where men have shopped since 1730.

We made our way through several of the covered shopping arcades which date from the 19th century, the Royal Opera Arcade,

the Prince's Arcade

and the Royal Arcade

where we stopped in at Charbonnel et Walker

and got samples of one of my favorite treats, Pink Marc de Champagne Truffles.

After the walk, I enjoyed a stroll through Mayfair and stumbled upon this very pleasant garden with school children 

enjoying the nice weather while it lasted. Nothing cuter than the British schoolchildren in their uniforms  celebrating at the end of the school day.

Which reminds me, there's a very special child on the way this month!

The future King or Queen of Britain--be anticipating an announcement from Buckingham Palace soon!