Friday, September 28, 2012


I know, real creative title, huh?  LOL  I wanted to start off this blog today saying that this AM, I was once again 186.  That is cool beans.  Mostly because I had alcohol last night.  Totally within my cals.  I had that instead of desert.  LOL  Just one hard cider and it was SO worth it.  I hadn't had a drink since vacay, so I only needed one.  I love me some Woodchuck!  On that note, I thought I would talk a little about our vacay!

First, we headed out of here on a Friday afternoon intent on getting there in no hurry.  It's not a horrible drive, so we were just going to chug along.  I took oldest out of school early and just went on.  We stopped once on the way down just to let the kiddos run around (other than to potty or get gas) and that worked out GREAT!  I was surprised how well the kids did on the drive.  But considering it was naptime when we headed out, we stopped a good long while for dinner and to let them run, and then they slept part of the last section of the drive, it wasn't bad at all!  But I think that next time, we will try heading out super early and see how that goes.  I believe we left at 1 or 2PM and arrived at 12.  But like I said, we stopped for dinner and I think we hung out for about 2hrs.  There were LOTS of kids, so our kiddos got to run around with them, burn steam, and wear themselves out.  WORTH IT! 
That's me in the hubbs.  I love sneaking pics of him when he doesn't expect it -- doesn't he look happy and relaxed?  After the long day of travel, it was so nice to get up and get situated in the condo.  I'm a 'nester' so I have a need to unpack and feel settled.  We did that, went to the store, and a few other things and then went to the beach.  I just LOVE the Gulf of Mexico!  LOVE.  Here's a pic of the gorgeous white sand and emerald water!  I know the water looks rough in this pic, but it really wasn't bad!  For once, I loved getting out in the water, playing around, and attempting to catch shells that had been stirred up from the tropical storm/hurricane that had breezed through before we came.

 This is the sky-bridge that we had to use to cross to the beach.  We had a condo on the bay side -- which honestly, I'm not sure which I liked best!  We have always stayed on the beach side, so that is why this time we decided to get something on the bay.  I DO wish we had been able to get a unit a bit closer to the bay, (we were at the bottom of the U shaped complex), but we did have direct access to the lazy river, hot tubs, pool, etc.  :)

The bay was only a short walk around the U.  Here's the path -- isn't it pretty?  And this was in late Summer almost FALL!  Imagine how it looks in Spring and Summer???

But even at this time of year, the water was lovely!  I think we really enjoyed the Bay more than we thought we would!  We went down and fed the birds, crabbed, and waded in the water near the new piers that are being added.  The birds had NO fear.  Even this large bird which I believe is a blue Heron.  We did catch some regular blue crabs (I let them go since the ones we mostly saw were young), but what was weird was the TONS of hermit crabs!  I couldn't believe how many there were and all the shapes, sizes and colors.  My husband is holding a LARGE obviously older hermit crab.  His shell was so neat and well traveled.  LOL  The next one was a VERY shy guy, but his shell was just so gorgeous.  I won't lie... I thought of keeping him.  But then I remembered how so many people said they got them only to get them home and they die.  I just couldn't do that so I let them go.  I know I know... I'm a softie!  :)

When we weren't out doing the usual stuff at the Beach or on the Bay, we went out and saw the local sites.   Which wasn't much since we mostly come just to hang out.  But... I didn't have a camera to take any pics!  So, while we were there, I finally bought a new camera which is what all of these lovely photos were taken with.  We got a GREAT deal at Best Buy on it!  Here's the kiddos eating lunch and feeding the birds right after. 

The place that we probably spent the majority of our time was at the pool. Ok Ok, the hot tub is where we REALLY spent a lot of time.  I have to say that the BIG appeal of this condo has got to be the pools.  They have a lazy river, 2 LARGE hot tubs (one that is really hot for adults and one that is cooler so that the kiddos can get in), one larger and deeper kidney shaped pool with a waterfall, and then a walk-in pool that is great for kids.  And this is just on the one side.  On the other side, they have a HUGE pool and I believe another hot tub.  They also have access to a kids play area, but we never got to do that.  Just never enough hours in the day!  And honestly, we went to the beach and pool or bay and pool or pool pretty much every day we were there!  I think it wore the kiddos out!  HA!  Ok, ok... and the adults, too.  I think I slept like a rock pretty much every night we were there!  It helped that we had a huge, comfy king sized bed.  I normally am not a fan of beds away from home, but this one was the exception.  It was a bit bigger than what I like/need, but I guess that is suppose to be the 'luxury' of staying somewhere when on vacation.  LOL

Here is a pic of my oldest going across the lazy river.  It was literally right outside our patio doors, so he just jumped in and swam across instead of using the walkway like the rest of us did.  Since he is older now, we gave him a bit more freedom while we were on vacay.  It helped that the place wasn't packed since it was off season.  Otherwise... I'm not sure I would've been so lenient!  LOL

At the end of the day, he was so worn out.  All he wanted to do was lay on the couch and watch videos on the laptop.  He was so glazed over, we had to really work to get him to eat his dinner. 
 One morning we came out to the beach to discover a sand artist had been at work!  That is a large sea turtle with a baby sea turtle.  So cute!
 Then my boys decided they needed to build a sand fortress right beside it.  Here they are working to build up the walls.
 GORGEOUS sunsets.  That is the main pier you see when you are walking down to the beach.  We never did walk out on the pier for some reason.  I guess because from where sat you could see everything from the regular sea gulls to pelicans and groups of dolphins!  Some people saw sting rays in the bay, too, but we never saw any.  :(

Even after dark, we had fun at the beach!  Here is my youngest and I walking while my oldest and a boy he made friends with were playing in the sand and water.  This family was from.... NASHVILLE!  Ironic.  We met a lot of TN families and some nice families from IN.  As a matter-of-fact, I we met lots of nice people!

One of our favorite things to do while on vacay as I mentioned before, is to go to local places.  We tried out a few of the restaurants like The Crab Trap, Christiano's, Another Broken Egg, Crust, and The Donut Hole!  I give high marks to all but The Crab Trap.  While it a nice touristy place with a playground for kids, the kids menu is AWFUL.  My youngest who isn't picky at all wouldn't eat their food at all.  I tried a bite and was like, YUCK!  Our crab legs, however, were GREAT.  Christiano's is just... AMAZING.  It's some of the best Italian food I've had in my life.  It's actually in Santa Rosa Beach, but SO worth the drive!!!  Crust is pizza and brick oven/woodstove style pizza.  The pizza was good, but the cheese sticks and salad were the stars.  Another Broken Egg is a French Bistro style cafe.  It was good and we had really good service. 

 But our fave while we were there, hands down, was The Donut Hole.  The food was just FAB!  It's a diner style restaurant and you WILL have a wait even in off season.  But the food.... OH MAN.  We ALL loved it... and ate like it was our last meal!  And you know the food is good when every single person walking out is holding their stomach and saying, "I should've stopped, but I just couldn't!"  LOL
 NO JOKE.  That is a side of pancakes!  They are as big as a 9" plate!  :O  IF you can believe it, my husband nearly ate all of it.  Plus all the food on the plate to the right that you can't really see.  It had 2 scrambled eggs with cheese, onions, and mushrooms, a slice of ham, a piece of sausage, a piece of bacon, and hashbrowns!  I think as a total, he ate over half.  It was an unreal amount of food.
  And as you can see, my oldest loved the sugar powdered donuts that they make fresh in house!  I had the cheese blintz's and they were the best I've ever had.  I want to go back just to get that!  We ate there twice and the second time I got the corned beef hash.  It was also super yummy although a bit salty.  But eh, corned beef IS salty!

 I hated to leave.  We had a great time just relaxing and spending time together.  There were definitely bumps, but overall it was a good trip.  The biggest issues we had were that the property manager was a real jerk to deal with.  Our grill for the unit was in AWFUL shape and we didn't feel safe using it.  And then the jacuzzi tub smelled so badly of sulfur/rotten eggs that we couldn't use it.  We ran it and ran it and ran it like he said to do, but it still stunk.  Even after we emptied the tank (at least twice), by the time the water filled back up and heated up, it smelled again.  BLEH.  When we called him to complain again, he basically said he wasn't going to do anything and implied we were only complaining to try to get a discount.  He also said I was constantly talking over him -- which I know I did once, but overall I was just trying to finish my sentences when he kept interrupting me.  And I wanted him to understand that we weren't just asking for a discount to get a discount, I was asking for a partial refund to cover the cost of the unusable grill and unusable jacuzzi -- which were touted on the site as 'features'.  I could've gotten one of the other units for a few hundred cheaper (and yes, I had already checked PRIOR to taking this unit).  So, I was just asking for the compensation because those items were unusable.  He wouldn't even talk about it.  I even spoke with the condo association manager and she said that the owners and managers KNEW the tubs had issues and that is why they had recommended removal.  As for the grill.... I took pics and should post it here, but I am waiting to see if the manager does anything about a reduction.  He DID send back our entire deposit, which I was surprised at -- I completely expected him to try to keep a portion of it.  I even video'd the entire condo while we were packing and leaving so that if he DID try to say something about it, well, we had video proof.  I even taped the news so he couldn't say that we did something to the condo prior to leaving.  I don't trust him!  LOL

Anyways, I sorta just set that aggravation to the side.  I wasn't going to let a cranky and mean management person ruin my vacay.  So, even with that irritation, we had a good time and I would consider going back to Destin West Beach and Bay Resort.  I just won't use the same company as before.  I'll either use another company or go directly through the resort.  A GOOD experience we had was that we stayed at the Hyatt in ATL again and as usual, it was WONDERFUL!  The staff there was amazing and even kept the pool open a bit later so our kiddos could go swimming after an afternoon of being in the car.  I just love the Hyatt hotels and really like to stay there when we can.  I can't vouch for all of them, but that one is just awesome.  It's the one near Vinings, I believe.  We got in late and slept in and then headed to OK CAFE for some food.  Then, we hit IKEA!  Wanna see my car after we got all of our stuff from vacay plus the stuff we got at IKEA crammed in there?  Well, here ya go!

Yeah... INSANE!  You see 5 rugs (4 smaller round ones and one 5x7), a mattress (that big roll on the right) and NUMEROUS other odds and ends.  Plus our 3 suitcases, our 3 beach bags, a stroller, a cooler, and who knows what else.  I tell ya, these cars hold TONS!!!  Took us forever to unwedge everything since it was all fitted in there like a giant puzzle.  And lets face it, that is a LOT of stuff.  LOL

Well, that's about sums up the vacay.  We did a lot of poolin', beachin', and some fun hunting on the bay.  Ate a lot of good food, bought a new fun camera, and met a lot of nice people.  We had a couple of 'blips', but we didn't let it get to us and we had a good time!  And I have to say, I enjoyed the Destin area of Florida.  And honestly, I had a GREAT time at IKEA!  LOL  Always love me some Ikea.  :D  OK, that is all and ENOUGH for this post!  Hope you all enjoyed! 


  1. Those pictures of the gulf really made me miss Sarasota. If the gods smile upon me I'll be able to manage a visit perhaps in February. I really want to just go swimming in the gulf. I used to go two or three times a week because the beach was only a five minute drive.
    This summer we went to Lake Michigan a lot, but it is much colder. Also, salt water does wonders for my skin and hair. It's a free detox!
    So funnny- last night Cubby and I split a hard pumpkin cider because I wanted to try it. I think we are psychically linked lately. First we had honey nut cheerios on the same day (and I haven't had them in years) and now this.
    Sorry about the jerk-o manager. If you pay extra for a grill and hot tub then they should be up and running.
    Sounds like you had a great time.

  2. Awesome, awesome, awesome family pics! I just love to see people having a great time on vacay. Like the Didster, it also reminded me of when I lived in Florida, but I was a little further south in Miami. I'm glad to see you have a good time and get away from the pressures of life, Jewlz. Good for you!



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