Beach Vacation Planning

Author’s Note: Hi, everyone. I wanted to take a moment to leave a personal note here…things have been a little rough around our house lately. Russell lost his great uncle a few weeks ago, and last week, I lost my grandpa. I haven’t had the spirit or time lately to make any new posts; so if you’re reading this now, thank you for having patience with me and for rejoining me on my blogging journey. I appreciate all of you who take time to read my itty bitty blog and hope to hear from more of you soon. Stay safe, have a wonderful summer, and know that you are important to me! May many sweet blessings come your way. – Aubrey

If you read the little note above, you’ll know that we are definitely ready for our summer beach vacation. Russ and I don’t usually plan out a yearly vacation because we just never know how my health will be holding up (and thus, if I’ll have any time off work); but this year, we put our collective feet down and scheduled a bit of summer fun.

We will be heading back to the stunningly beautiful Gulf Coast, a place we were able to visit last year for a few days. We aren’t usually the kind of travelers who go back to a place more than one time, because there’s so much of the world we haven’t yet seen. But we both felt so calm and stress-free on our last trip that we wanted to see if we could recreate it.

I’ve been looking forward to going and since we’ve been planning on it since winter, I’ve been able to go shopping and pick out activities we may want to do in between getting sunburned. I don’t usually get to do that, so I thought I’d share my joy. ūüôā

Beach Clothes – for Plus Size Gals

Summer Beach Clothes | Life Is Sweet As A Peach

From top, left: Land’s End Linen Sundress; Land’s End Embroidered Sundress; Vera Bradley Sierra Travel Tote; Lilly Pulitzer for Target Sundress in Sea Urchin for You (no longer available on Target’s website); Old Navy Women’s Plus Linen Shorts.

Listen, I’m short, and I’m fat, and clothes don’t always fit me right. But, I¬†have enough confidence to think¬†I’m still good-looking (how dare I?!) and I enjoy wearing cute outfits. Especially at the beach, where it’s freaking hot (and where I refuse to hide behind conservative clothing because someone else might feel uncomfortable by looking at me). I’ve learned over the years that it pays to buy a few quality pieces that you love and get them tailored to fit you perfectly. That’s a tip that can benefit any of you gals and guys, no matter what you look like.

One of the places I shop for quality clothing is Land’s End, where I picked up the first sundress above. It’s adorable! The colors are super bright and the linen is perfect for the beach. And the best part – it has pockets.¬†I also purchased the second dress from Land’s End, but I haven’t gotten it yet. I took one look at the royal blue and white embroidery and couldn’t say no. I hope it fits and if it doesn’t, I hope it fits in a way that I can get it tailored to fit me. I don’t mind spending more money to have Land’s End clothes fit me right, because they last for years on end and are comfortable and flattering.

Vera Bradley has also been a long-time favorite brand of mine because of the practicality and cuts of the designs. I haven’t found a better work bag than a Vera, and when I saw the new Sierra pattern, I thought it was perfect for summer. I haven’t bought this beach tote yet (and probably won’t, money is a little tight) but it’s been prominently featured in my beach planning dreams.

I won’t stand on my soapbox and complain about the Lilly for Target fiasco, so let’s just say that I saw this dress, thought it would be perfect for my best friend’s under-the-sea themed baby shower, and when I couldn’t get it online (damn you, you stinking vultures), I bought it on eBay from another plus-sized gal for who the dress wasn’t the right size. Well…it was huge. And it’s not like I could return it. So I took a $30 dress and paid a lot of money to have it tailored to fit my body. You can bet I will be rocking this at the beach…I plan on squeezing every last penny out of this dress.

And finally…shorts. Did I mention I was short and fat? You know what short and fat girls don’t do? Wear shorts. You know what I’m doing this summer at the beach? Wearing these damn shorts. Listen, they are black, linen, and have a stretchy folder over waistband, which make them the most comfortable things ever. Chub rub be damned, I’m not going to be hot at the beach, haha.

Vacation Sightseeing

If you read my blog, you probably know that I like to take pictures, and the camera bag is a carry-on no matter where I go. I took some beautiful beach shots last year, but we didn’t really explore the surrounding area much, and I’d like to.

I found a few parks and places that Russ and I should hopefully enjoy as a break from the beach. If you have any suggestions for lovely places to visit along Florida’s Gulf Coast, I’d love to hear them!

Eden Gardens

Azaleas, Live Oaks and Spanish Moss at Eden Garden State Park, Northwest Florida

This park just oozes sweet southern charm, doesn’t it? I¬†immediately wanted to go, as soon as I saw the photo. Anything with draped¬†spanish moss and azaleas is a winner in my book. I can’t wait to visit!¬†Photo credit from JR P on Flickr¬†(Creative Commons license, CC BY-NC 2.0, for non-commercial use).¬†Thank you for letting me share your beautiful work.

Ponce de Leon Springs State Park

Ponce de Leon State Park, from the Florida State Parks website.

This park caught my eye because of the name – an ode to the “Fountain of Youth.” I don’t know about all that, but the beautiful clear springs look amazing. And if they happen to take away a few of my silver sparklers – ahem – you won’t find me complaining.

Cooking in a Condo

Russell and I are both sort of new to this idea of staying at one location for an entire week, and being able to cook and not eat out every single meal while on vacation. I’ve been trying to come up with a menu that is 1) affordable in the sense of not buying too much food and wasting it, and 2) simple and doesn’t require all of the fancy gadgets or spices I have back home. The condo we are staying in does provide the essentials, like sugar, butter, ketchup, and spices, so that helps a lot! I plan on taking a pill case full of spices I think I’ll want from home, if we have room in our luggage.

So far, I’ve come up with the following grocery list, which will source several different meals.

For Breakfast and Lunch

The below list will get us: a breakfast casserole that I can make when we arrive (which we can eat all week); grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches; ham/bacon sandwiches for the beach; bagels; milk for drinking, dipping cookies, or eating cereal; pasta salad for picnics and late night snacks.

  • Coffee/coffee creamer
  • Eggs
  • Hashbrowns
  • Milk
  • Cheese (cheddar and mozzarella)
  • Bread/Bagels
  • Cereal
  • Onions
  • Bacon
  • Sandwich Ham
  • Tomatos
  • Pasta
  • Seasoning/Dressing
  • Pepperoni
  • Cucumber
  • Fruits, Veggies, and Hoffman Cheddar for snacks on the beach

Dinner

We do like eating out, so we agreed we would only buy groceries to make 2 or 3 dinners in, to start with. We can make pizzas with the pepperoni and mozzarella from the pasta salad; a pasta dinner with fresh shrimp and garlic from the box of pasta, plus garlic toast; and fresh fish with corn on the cob. We will undoubtably end up with leftover pizza and pasta, but maybe we’ll end up staying in more than we think.

  • Pizza Shells
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Fresh shrimp/seafood
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil (condo has/will donate)
  • Corn on the cob (condo has butter/will donate)
  • Fresh fish with garlic butter and spices

If anyone has any tried and true recipes/shopping lists for the beach, I’d love to see them! We are FLYING IN, not driving, so can’t take a lot to help us in this area. Pinterest hasn’t been as helpful as I’d like…apparently, everyone eat hamburgers and hot dogs on vacation, which is fine if you have a large group. But with just the two of us, we’d eat nothing else all week!

Overall, I am super excited for this trip. There’s something special about planning a vacation in advance and allowing anticipation leading up to when you leave. It’s going to be so nice to get away, reconnect with Russ, take some pictures – and hopefully get a tan! Here’s to hoping the weather holds up, there are no hurricanes a-comin’, and that we have a safe and wonderful trip together.

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