A Post From a Beach House.

Yes, it’s true. The beach is outside my doors right now. I bet I can even hear it…

In honor of my trip to Florida, I’m doing a vacation and travel-themed Ask Away Friday today with Ginny Marie of Lemon Drop Pie. This is our first swap, which surprises me because we’ve been blogging friends and Mother of All Meltdown Co-Authors for awhile. She’s a blogger you can get close to fast, with her stories of sickness and health, family and marriage, travel (she went to Alaska!!) and working on a farm. She was a BlogHer Voice of the Year in 2013 and I was so happy that a blogger I “knew” got that wonderful award. I even squealed when I saw her name on the list. She totally rocks and deserves it all!

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What is #AskAwayFriday? Well…

#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County and Amber from Bold Fit Mom, as a way to connect with other bloggers with a great Q & A session of 10 questions and 10 answers, between two bloggers! This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know others while allowing others to get to know you and of course there is also the added bonus of making great friends along the way which is one of the best parts of this online world! Ask me if you want to swap!

We are sad to be losing Amber as one of our amazing co-hosts, as she is working to pursue other business ventures and focusing her attentions on her fitness ventures. We wish her nothing but the best, and hope for her thriving success!

When one door closes, another one opens…and we would like to give a huge Ask Away Friday welcome to a brand new co-host…drum roll please…Welcome Echo from The Mad Mommy! She is both a friend and a fellow blogger. I dig her.


Now welcoming our wonderful #AskAwayFriday hosts…

Tamara from Tamara Like Camera,
Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter,
Christy from Uplifting Families,
Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings
Echo from The Mad Mommy

Grab our brand new button, follow our amazing hosts, hop through the great link ups and make some new friends!


Be sure to read Ginny Marie’s answers to my travel questions HERE. And here are my answers to her questions:

1. Would you rather take a road trip or fly?

Road trip. I respect flying and its amazing ability to get us to California in six hours, but I’ve had some great road trips in my life. I’ve driven from New Jersey to Florida a few times, and we moved east by driving a really winding and amazing trip from San Francisco to Massachusetts. We stopped all over the place and could have the dog with us. I think about that a lot.

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Although road trips are more dangerous, I like that sense of control you have anyway, just knowing you can stop and look at anything you want. And you can stop and take photos anywhere you want. And eat really unhealthy but great road food.

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2. Where is your favorite place to travel with your kids?

I’ve only gone to New Jersey or Florida with both kids, so I’ll say that Orlando was my favorite so far. We had such a great time last year, although Des doesn’t remember any of it. Before he was born, we went to San Francisco with Scarlet twice and I’d love to do that again. Showing them both our old home would be very special. One day..

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3. Do you have any sanity-saving tips for traveling with a toddler?

Benadryl and alcohol! (for you) No, the biggest things I can think of are plenty of snacks and water. You can pack a whole backpack full of activities, but when it comes down to it, letting them pull marshmallows out of a box of Lucky Charms for two hours might be your saving grace at the end of a long journey. Not that I’ve ever done that.. more than once, anyway.

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4. If you could take a vacation without the kids, where would you go?

Would it be too repetitive to say Alaska? I’d take that with or without the kids, but no with or without the moose. I think I’d like to do something more strenuous without them. I’d like to do the kind of trip in which I wouldn’t have to slow down or look back for strollers or bathroom breaks. So maybe something international – like Europe, or something a little crazy – like seeing Great White Sharks in the Farallon Islands. Even from a safe distance, I’m not sure the kids are ready for that!


5. What is your favorite activity to do while traveling? Do you like to read, sleep, listen to music, or play games?

It used to be that I liked to read. That was my thing. Now I have kids. My favorite thing is to do new things and to watch their faces while they do new things. And then of course, the photography aspect of it all is divine. That’s my favorite!

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6. I know you love both the East Coast and the West Coast; is there a place you would travel to just for the food?

Probably Italy, from what I hear about the pizza and pasta there. I’m not a foodie by any means, but I can appreciate quality. The best food I ever ate while traveling was in New Orleans. It’s really the stuff of dreams, I tell ya.

7. One of my goals is to someday come home to a clean house, but it hasn’t happened yet! When you leave your house for vacation, is it messy or clean?

We always leave it clean, especially now that we have pet sitters to consider. Cassidy is very clean and we did a big overhaul before we went away for Christmas because we knew we’d be coming back with 1,000 new toys! He did a big deep clean before we left for Florida and it’s nice to come back to that! It will get kid-cluttered pretty quickly.

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8. What is one thing you would never travel without, not including your family and your camera?

I’m so glad you included my camera in there! That’s important! I’m assuming wallet is in there too, though, right? I think I’m pretty mellow with many of the must-haves. I always travel with a book, a notebook and a pen. You just never know when you’ll need to write, when phones should be off. And there’s something about hand to pen.. I don’t do it very often.

9. My husband cannot sit still for very long on vacation; he has to be constantly on the move. How about you? Would you rather have a relaxing vacation or have activities planned from morning β€˜til night?

Well I guess I’m somewhere in the middle. I like some plans with room for flexibility and whims. I also really like to rest, but that’s the winter-wearied, 24/7 parent talking, and not necessarily the adventurous parts of me.

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10. If you could photograph any place in the world, where would you go?

Oh. Sheesh. I started Googling “most beautiful places on earth” and then Zach Sobiech’s “Clouds” came on Pandora – the one with the whole mall in Minnesota singing along to it – so I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. I probably shouldn’t Google it. There are parts of this world that are beyond comprehension. New Zealand. Sweeping mountains. Barrier reefs. Deep sea bellies. I can’t even fathom 5% of it. So I need to answer about me and what I know and what I know about my photography.

The first time I went to Yellowstone, I wasn’t prepared. We flew to Salt Lake City and took a five hour drive through Idaho to get to the wrong side of the park from where our hotel was. With a 35mph speed limit at night, and just the large scope of the park – it took hours. And all we saw at dusk were valleys and canyons and cliffs and antlers (not moose) that looked like anime characters. And the glowing eyes at night – reflected back from our car headlights? We had no idea what they were. We managed to see some of it the next day in breaking light, and it was just as majestic, if not as mysterious. That’s what I want to photograph. At Yellowstone or someplace like it. Wherever in the world that at dusk or breaking dawn, you can find yourself in a swirl of fog and glowing eyes and canyons and vistas. And for that, I’d need a tripod, an incredible zoom lens, and patience. And that’s what I want. And I’d like Cassidy by my side. Maybe the kids somewhere down the line.

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(Not a dog ^)

Whew. I unflattened myself. I was feeling a bit stiff when I started this post, but man, the emotions got me in the end. They always do. Otherwise, I honestly don’t bother blogging at all. So apparently I’m emotional three times a week!

Be sure to check out our Facebook page “AskAwayFriday” for a great place to meet up and send out a #BuddyRequest if you need a partner to swap with or to just talk about anything #AskAwayFriday!

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  1. I seriously hope you are having the best time right now and please don’t answer my comment anytime soon! Just know I loved your answers so much tonight and someday I hope we can take a road trip – maybe we could be the next Thelma and Louise without the cliff!! πŸ˜‰

                1. My mother-in-law sent me a beautiful picture of her dog and Athena looking out at the snow. I miss Athena very much, and I even miss being in the snow with her, but I’m literally sitting under a palm tree right now. Thinking of you!

                    1. Aww thank you and the weather didn’t help, but the hot water heater broke today leaving a flood in the garage. All fixed now, but was a lovely morning wakeup call mess today.

  2. I hope you’re having a blast!

    I prefer to fly only because it’s much faster. I tend to get bored in the car. However, I mainly read. But then my husband gets insulted that I’m not speaking to him so I feel guilty.

  3. These were some great questions! (and answers, of course). I totally agree on snacks trumping activites/toys for toddlers when traveling. Yellowstone sounds magnificent. And I hope you are having a wonderful trip right now!!

  4. Wow – what a great Ask Away Friday! I like driving better than flying these days too. And I want to go back to Alaska. And Yellowstone…I went when I was a kid and I didn’t really appreciate it then! I would now! I hope you are having fun right now!

    1. I didn’t get there until I was 26 or so. Then I went with Cassidy before Scarlet came along. I always wonder if it’s just too early for my kids.. I want them to be as awe-struck as I was!

  5. Oh, wow, that introduction makes me sound amazing! Thank you! I loved your photos to go along with this post, especially the one with the cactus. It sums up the fun of road trips! I think you should now add “eating M&M’s from a barf bag” as one of the tricks to traveling with toddlers, although picking out the marshmallows from Lucky Charms is a good one! I also loved your answer about photography and Yellowstone or wherever you get that same feeling. Amazing. Thanks for swapping with me, and have a FANTASTIC vacation!

    1. Well you are wonderful!!
      These were such great questions and it was the perfect post to write before I left for my trip. So thank you. One day in a part two, I may be writing about this trip!

  6. I want to go to New Orleans one day just to eat. I really wish I had gone before discovering all my food sensitivities.
    I would have been terrified seeing eyes at Yellowstone at not knowing exactly what was out there, but I just scared of most animals.
    I hope you guys are enjoying your vacation πŸ™‚

    1. Ah, I am not afraid of many animals. Just humans!
      I bet you could still find an incredible amount of good food in New Orleans, even with sensitivities!

  7. New Orleans is high on my list for food, music, beer, history… anything! Definitely one place I would put on my bucket list; along with Alaska of course. But for pure photography? hhhmmm, that’s trickier. I want BIG. Like big sky, big land, big vistas, and if it has a chance of furry critters passing by even better. I want to lie in my tent, open the front door, and be able to capture a stunning view right from bed inside. I want to go to sleep at night under a blanket of stars and see them reflected in my lovers eyes… whoa!
    That took a turn! LOL
    yeah, I won’t be photographing THAT part. πŸ˜‰

  8. I know that you are having a wonderful time and I absolutely loved the pic of Des in his “I β™₯β™₯ Galifrey” shirt on the beach! I would love to visit New Orleans someday, and visit all of the amazing creepy haunts! I love a good road trip, much more than flying, it definitely gives you so much more to see! Sky and cloud pics are always so peaceful. I always try to have the house at least tidy, before we leave to go anywhere, on so there is not chaos when we return. LOL! Have an amazing week, my friend! I can’t wait for more FB updates!

    1. Thank you! More are coming after this rain spell passes. Nice to be inside and dry and checking in too.
      Des’ Gallifrey shirt is a favorite!!

  9. New Orleans is on my list — especially bcs now I hear about the food. This post certainly got me bcs I love to travel! I love both flying and road tripping. There’s something about sitting in the airport waiting area knowing in a flash you’ll be in a new world. I love hearing the announcements. Announcements in a European train station— my utmost favourite. But I also love a road trip especially now my kids are older. Captive audience, fun games, junk food and great sunrises and sunsets… Enjoy Florida!!! Xo

  10. I haven’t traveled with Eve since she’s started toddlerhood. Although the last time we drove to NJ she only slept for like a half hour since she’s now on one early afternoon nap. It was strange to have her up when I’m used to her sleeping for most of it. But it’s the longest period of time I have ever seen her look at books by far! Spent most of the ride looking at them, which she rarely does at home. It made me so happy to see!
    I hope you are having a FANTASTIC time in Florida!

    1. When naps stop being…all day(ish), it’s weird. And when Des went from two to one, I had to adjust big time. Road trips are more animated now!

  11. We lived about 30 minutes outside of Yellowstone. I can’t tell you how often I heard the same tale of people showing up at the wrong side of the park! It is a very, very big park. I wish I could hear the beach right now instead of the screaming toddler I am trying to ignore. Have a great time!

    1. Wow! I can’t imagine living there. So you know what happened! We were driving from Salt Lake City and our hotel was in West Yellowstone, Montana!

  12. Italy is also near the top of my places to go just for food. Right smack on the top? France. But Italy’s just a hop skip away, right? Hope you’re soaking up the lovely sun in Florida!

  13. I will be indulging in all kinds of culinary amazing-ness in Italy this summer – that’s honestly a big reason why we chose that destination! I wonder if they use cilantro? And I agree with you about New Orleans – best food in the US!

    1. Oh, I can come, right? Won’t be awkward? You need a trip photographer so you can be in photos.
      I went to a New Orleans place last night and a Caribbean place tonight. No cilantro! I don’t imagine it heavily in Italian food.

  14. Hahahaha omg your sanity saving tips answer…love it. And so damn clever…the marshmellows out of cereal, that would keep mine occupied for loooong time. I hope you’re having fun, I hope I get to visit FL for the first time this year. I can’t wait to see the beach there!

    1. Totally. And Target has a non food dye version of Lucky Charms. Does the trick too! The real kind is so gross!
      I hope you get here too! I have been to FL dozens of times but never St. Augustine.

  15. I would love to go to Italy too! The food sounds amazing! I would love to take a real road trip, I’ve gone places more than a couple of hours away, but it’s never been a real road trip… just seeing how fast we can get to our destination. When we moved from California, I wanted to take a road trip to Florida, bringing our things in tow, but my husband declined. He’s driven from FL to MI to CA and back again… and he’d be doing most of the driving, so we didn’t do it. I hope you are having a great time!

  16. Snacks and water – YES! Luke can sit through (almost) anything if he has a snack that requires his attention and fine motor skills, marshmallows in cereal being the perfect example. πŸ™‚

    1. There you go! There is a healthier version of it at our vitamin store. No food dyes and they use fruit juice for the colored marshmallows. And there is still plenty of sugar to wind kids up!

  17. I sure hope you’re enjoying your vacation instead of reading boring comments. I’m always in awe when you post pics of your home. It just looks delightful. And I’m shocked that you’d even suggest that you’d use drugs on your kids on vacation. That’s just terrible.

    OK…I’m not that shocked. I did a trip with a three hour layover with two kids under five – it was definitely better on the way home when I figured out the drugs.

    1. Haha! Well it’s rainy so I am reading comments but this isn’t boring.

      You cracked me up! I never did use drugs on myself or otherwise, but it might just be what the doctor orders sometimes!

      Still laughing..

  18. Drugs on myself…that would have helped significantly. I can remember getting off the plane on the way back and someone complimenting me on how well behaved my kids were – and boldly admitting I’d Tylenol’d them up the wazoo. Wouldn’t fly without them (the drugs…not the kids).

    1. Which is ultimately just a vitamin supplement and I would take the kids version of dramamine or bonine. Imagine what I would be like on real sleeping pills? Scary.

  19. I wrote my own travel post for the Spin Cycle before reading yours here, and I’m wishing I had added a travel journal and pen to my list of things to bring on a trip. I’ve almost always brought a travel journal with me on my trips. The best thing I’ve done is blog while traveling solo. Writing it all out really helps process everything.

    Oh, and yes, you must go to Italy for the food!

  20. Wow, there is a lot of mileage in your blog and Lemon Drop Pie’s blog, Tamara! She’s been to 30 states. That’s pretty impressive, and I hope she and her family will someday make that road trip from Chicago to Yellowstone, and to Alaska, and the Farallon Islands for you! I’m sure you have taken many colorful photos by now and many more to come. Hopefully looking through them will help to keep you warm for the rest of the winter when you return home. I’m enjoying all of your pics and posts from Florida. Have an enjoyable remainder of your vacation!

  21. I loved y’alls travel themed AAF!!! I’m also loving all of your pictures on the beach – living vicariously right now!! Enjoy your vacation!!

    1. Thank you! I’ve definitely been thinking of you when I see people who just wake up and go to the beach. And run and they’re happy! Why the %^*+ do I live in winter??

  22. I’m totally bringing a box of Lucky Charms on our next plane ride! Hope you’re having a great time in FL!! I love road trips too. There’s something really magical about them. Italy is pretty incredible and I do hope that you have a chance to go. New Zealand is pretty much on the top of my list.

    1. One of my blogging friends just went there! GiGi!
      There are healthier versions of Lucky Charms, but sometimes you have to go classic in desperate situations.

  23. Oh those shots at the end? MAGNIFICENT!! I can only imagine the awe you felt driving in the dark night with the headlight beams and eyes glowing right in front of you. The vast land out there is just majestic. I could totally see you doing photo shoots there later when the kids are a bit older and you can leave them with the grandparents or at a friend’s house and you and Cassidy can travel out there, just the two of you.

    Bliss. πŸ™‚

  24. Uh yeah… I was so wrapped up in the pics and your story that I forgot to tell you to HAVE A BEAUTIFUL WONDERFUL MAGICAL TIME!!!!!

    1. Haha! Thank you! So far, so good. We are having such a great time. In fact, I’m sitting in the sun right now while waiting for Cassidy to get me potato chips.

  25. I always carry a notebook and pen too. I love pen on paper out of nothing but necessity. You never know when the moment strikes and you can’t recall that kind of magic. either you seize the moment or you wait for the next one. I’m so happy you’re in Florida having fun in the sunshine!

    1. So this is how life is for you most of the year, right? Not horribly cold? What am I doing not living here? Or there, really.
      We all know I am a West Coast girl, but St. Augustine has a special kind of magic that I’ve only found in a few places in Florida. Most of it scares me.

    1. Thank you so much! I actually wrote this before I left, but I knew it would publish when I was in a beach house! I’ve been taking a lot of photos here too.

  26. First of all: I love that photo of your kitchen/living area. Soooo jealous right now!

    I love to do a road trip some day again. My sister and I went on a few trips in the past, but haven’t in recent years. We might do a flight/road trip combo next year: flying to Canada/USA and then driving all over. If we can get the funds together that is!

    1. I really hope you make it because that sounds so fantastic.
      Thank you for loving my house photo! We looked very far and wide to find a house that would look like a ski lodge. It’s got its own charm. It’s not luxurious, but we dream that it might be one day.

  27. Aww, love your answer for the last question! Beautiful things to photograph!
    I’d also most likely prefer road trip than flying. Aside from the fact that my husband has flight anxiety, it would be so fun to visit many other different places before reaching your destination.

  28. I usually take a notebook and pen with me when I travel too. You never know if something might spark an idea for a story, or if the kids will do something you don’t want to forget. I hope you are having fun in Florida. I am counting down the days until we go down there for spring break. I think it’s 52 days until Florida.

  29. Hope you are having fun in the sun.

    I would love to go to New Zealand or my other dream trip is Hawaii.

    I want to fly – we drove to Massachusetts actually on Thanksgiving and it takes 12 hrs one way – not fun (I think anyway.)

    have a fun time on the rest of your trip πŸ™‚

    that 3rd picture is so cute – the baby looks like a little doll in that one

  30. It would be amazing to travel to Italy. I can’t imagine how good the food would be. Love that you caption the wolf pic as not a dog. I have a Husky, and people are always asking if he is a wolf πŸ™‚

  31. 1. You have the right idea. Snacks, and stuff to occupy their attention. Even a wallet full of grocery-store cards. It works, so who am I to question it?

    2. I’m afraid to go all the way to Italy for pizza, because I probably wouldn’t even like the real thing. I’m probably in love with the American version. That’s OK with me.

    3. On vacation, I like a strict plan – written in pencil.

  32. Flat at the beach? Yeah I get it. If you need to write it’s like scratching and itch πŸ˜‰ I like coming home to a clean house too because it gets undone as you are unpacking. So just imagine unpacking in a junky room, I couldn’t take it.

    1. What’s really beeildering me right now is that we have laundry everywhere we are staying. So even though I packed eight outfits each for all of us, I didn’t need to do that!

  33. I love road trips! Especially with David. I always look forward to driving the 10 hours or so from NJ to OBX in fall. We know the road by now, but it is still fun. My ultimate wish is to drive – on my own time!! – from coast to coast.
    I hope you’re enjoying the warmth and the beach. In case you’ve forgotten – it is winter up here! πŸ˜€
    p.s. I can recommend the Great Barrier Reef – beautiful!

    1. Wow I would love to hear your stories from the Great Barrier Reef! I can’t even imagine.
      I was just talking with my cousin tonight about how we want to do the coast-to-coast drive again. But alone? Paradise. And a little freaky.

  34. I hope you’re having fun!
    I’m with you road trip for me too. I’m sure for the same reasons, especially because we are in control. I also love stopping off and seeing things we would have never saw, had we taken a plane.

    1. So much fun! Thank you!
      I always wondered what it would be like if planes just stopped whenever they felt like it like cars. I have dreams about that.

  35. I try to leave with the house clean, too. It stinks enough to come home from vacation and it’ll feel even worse to come home from vacation to a messy house. LOL I’m in Orlando right now, but we’re not really doing any parks. Hoping it’ll warm up soon!!

  36. What is it with pulling marshmallows out of lucky charms?! (okay, well, I get it, but the rest of the cereal is decently tasty too) Now you have me wanting to travel the world. New Orleans, Italy & France again for food…and the Shenandoah valley for hiking. Enjoy that beach house while it lasts…looks like your hometown is in for a doozie this week.

  37. New Zealand IS beautiful. I’ve only seen a small part of it, and I wish I had a better camera (and skills) back then. I guess the only thing to do is to go back there! Have fun in Florida!

  38. I love road trips too. I dream about getting in the car and just driving for like a month, stopping when ever we want, seeing the country. Can’t do it in a RV though because my hubby is a hotel guy. I always leave the house clean when I travel because I hate coming home to messiness!

  39. I’ve taken a few road trips and I prefer flying – although, these days I prefer to stick domestically loL. Definitely avoiding anywhere in the Asian territories until planes stop disappearing – seriously scary thought. Especially if you have your kids with you..Hope Florida is glorious right now! I have a birthday approaching so laziness has been setting in and selfishness has increased lol. I love the photo of the wolf at the end – they’re so wonderful creatures! I’m big on relaxing (in case you didn’t already know lol) but it’s good to push oneself when traveling to experience all you can from the area. πŸ™‚ Let me catch up on your Monday post – I’m behind on everything!!! LOl xoxo -Iva

      1. OH yes -I’ve received two cakes today at work lol – one that was devoured on premises and one I got to take home. Tomorrow: more cake – mango cake! I’m happy πŸ™‚ LOL Yes you are!!! Do you have photos from back home?? It must be INSANE! I’m happy we barely were touched.

  40. Hahah I love the Lucky Charms idea, I will totes remember this for when I have a little on a road trip one day!;-) p.s. i’m channeling your beach house right now as we sit in a NYC blizzard…send rays of sunshine, please!

  41. I’ve always been curious about Yellowstone–I don’t think I could ever convince my family to go with me. I know it must be stunning!! Enjoy all of the beach house. πŸ˜‰

  42. Oh while I love visiting far away places (that you can only get to by air), I really do love the spontaneity of road trips. Nice to see Ginny here! Love her blog!

  43. Hope you are having a fantastic time at the beach…jealous! I do appreciate flying and landing quicker, but now that the boys are older I can’t wait to rent a big RV and travel out West! πŸ™‚

  44. Love all the vacation questions! I always try to leave the house as clean as possible because the last thing I am trying to do after a long trip home is clean. I even go so far as to do laundry before we leave so that I can just stick everything in drawers and closets and go take a nap! LOL

  45. I ALWAYS prefer a road tip, which is funny because ten year ago I refused to drive anywhere that took longer than two hours! And I’m with you on Italy for the food!

    1. I used to do really long road trips when I was a kid and in my 20s. It still stuck with me because nothing seems quite so long. After you’ve driven from New Jersey to Key West, Massachusetts to Chicago seems pretty easy.

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