Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I'm All About That Beach, Bout That Beach, No Trouble

We consider ourselves locals.
The past several years, Mom and I have stayed a whole week, just us, before Dad comes for another week after that.  We were born for the beach.  We don't get bored.  This year, we were having such a great time, Dad left while Mom and I stayed another extra couple days!  We had to move rooms, but I actually liked that room just as well!  How do we not get tired of the beach every day for over 2 weeks?  I'll show you how we roll.  Or roast.  It was hot.
 Peace & Quiet

Mom's coffee cup fit the occasion perfectly. And matched our towels.
And matched my bathing suit!
Room service got fancy
I always take my Christmas Moose Hal with me on big trips, just for fun.
At the beach I got a little extra time to get into some of my Bible study things I had been saving up. One of those is the book The Purpose Driven Life. Several chapters in a row that I read were about fellowship and the church family. These were two things that really stood out to me. Over the past few years, my small group has become really special to me!

Exhibit A of my color coordination addiction.
Mom and I hit Ultimate California Pizza for night #1!
We each get our own personal size just the way we like it. Mom goes traditional pepperoni and extra cheese, while I load up on the toppings.
This year I started getting back into the swing of running while we were on vacation!  Not only was it great to be at the beach, but I got to start really running again, too. That's a win-win situation if I've ever had one. 
Looking at my runs on Garmin Connect is always cool since it maps everything out. Mom had a flat tire that we didn't know about, so I had a last minute change of plans for the first run, and hit the sand.
Cold Stone Creamery at Myrtle Beach is my favorite. No lie, we went there at least 6 or 7 times. I am in love with the Salted Caramel frozen yogurt, and after the first couple times, one of the high school guys who worked there remembered what I got and fixed it for me without me even having to order!
Dinner and/or dessert in bed while watching the NBA playoffs was a fun thing mom and I did to relax in the evenings.

My little crab friend
This year I have started taking extra care of my face. Sunburn is painful, but it has also killed my nose over the years!  
I am also really starting to like hats...any suggestions on where I can get a nice floppy one?
Salsarita's is always the first restaurant I search for when we are looking for a place to eat out.  Even though we can eat it in Knoxville, you don't find little Mexican men decorations everywhere!

I don't support all the things that Ben & Jerry's does, but we always go there at least once while we're at the beach.  I love the peanut butter banana greek, and I also tried the spectacular speculoos this year!  I had no earthly idea what speculoos was supposed to be, so I asked and tried some.  It is a kind of cookie butter, like peanut butter or something, but not nuts.  It tastes like snickerdoodle!

The queen in her paradise

One night we took dessert down to the patio outside our hotel Starbucks.  The in-room kitchen didn't have big enough bowls for my dessert, so I used the ice bucket instead.

I asked our umbrella-and-chair neighbors if I could take a picture of their towel.  Not awkward.

The future is so uncertain, but it's not about what we know will happen.  It's that we know God is with us every step of the way.
This book is also great evidence of experiences of just that.  God is everywhere!  If you're looking for a devotion, this could also be a different way to do that.  The stories all have scriptures with them, just a page or so each in length, and are sure to brighten your day and give you some perspective!

On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
The cross before me, the world behind me, no turning turning back!

When I first saw this yogurt I thought about how cool it would be to have one on the beach.  Just looking at it makes me think of the beach!  So that's just what I did!

What is the beach without pictures?  I'm not the biggest picture-of-myself person, but I'll do it.

My mom is a pretty great photographer, too!

Again, I always shop the clearance rack, and the beach has some of the best deals.
This bathing suit was on sale at American Eagle, top and bottom, for less than $15.
And when the oceans rage, I don't have to be afraid because I know that You love me.  Your love never fails!...You make all things work together for my good!

More photos for mother.

I saw this in a magazine.  I've never tried it, but it could be a project I get into in the future!

Dad's first night was Ultimate California Pizza again!  It is fantastic food, but this year it took wayyyy too long both times that we went.

Whole wheat crust, Ultimate Red Sauce, red and green bell peppers and onions, broccoli, spinach, roasted chicken, and an array of seasonings

Thank you 2014-15 sub deb tank tops for being the cutest shirts of the club so far.

Into marvelous light I'm running, out of darkness out of shame.  By the cross You are the truth, You are the light, You are the way!
...It will be my joy to say Your will, Your way!

My watch matched so perfectly, it was tempting to wear it all day.

The blue crew!

I tried to take a nap.  I just can't sleep during the day!  I kept my face shaded with my hat, pinned to the chair so it wouldn't blow away!

Mom and I like to explore the neighborhoods and beach houses while we run/bike.

Stay hydrated!  Humidity will seriously take it out of you!  As my mom said, even though school is starting, our hottest weather is yet to come.  If you're like me and don't drink much, make it taste better, and you're likely to drink a lot more.

We also hit Fuddrucker's 3 times during the trip!  I love their buffalo burger.  Buffalo as in bison, not spicy flavor.  Another thing that puts Fudd's a step above the rest is that you top it any way you like it!  It's like a buffet for your burger.  I add hot sauce, pico de gallo, jalapenos, onion, tomato, mustard, pickles.

Yogurt Mountain.  I have never been to a yogurt shop with so many and such unique toppings.  the yogurt is great, of course, but the toppings is what sets Yogurt Mountain aside!  I mean, look how many!

At Myrtle Beach, the Yogurt Mountain is in the Books-A-Million in the mall.  If you go there, please tell them that I recommended it to you. Trust me, if it's the lady who works there in the evenings, tell her "the girl who built the biggest one you've ever seen told me to come here."

Even though it is all the craze, this was the first and only time I've ever had Nutella, another topping on their bar!  Not that I'm going to buy any, but it was tasty.
She wanted me to take this picture to post on their Facebook page. I think she should give me a discount for product endorsement. This is one of the prettiest self-serves that I've made.

Every once and a while mom will let someone take her picture.
This store must have been named after me, the color-coordination queen.

Traditional /annual Tiki Jim's picture with Dad!
Followed by Ben & Jerry's with Dad. No matter how old we get, some of our yearly things never get old. I think everyone has those certain things that they feel like they always have to do when they go certain places. The family memories we have and will continue to make are something I cherish and look forward to continuing!

Another place we always get a picture is on the dinosaurs!

There are so many cute little kids at the beach!  Mom likes to people watch the oddballs, but I like to watch the little ones. They're so precious!  This little girl on the elevator was the happiest baby I've ever seen!  I'm also kind of jealous of all these toddlers have super-cute floppy hats.
Pippy Longstocking hits Myrtle Beach. 
This is how you improvise when the wind keeps blowing your hat away.
I have a new addition to my absolute favorite restaurants list!  Dickey's Barbeque Pit in Myrtle Beach is located nextdoor to Salsarita's (two favorites in one place!?), and we also have on in Knoxville, Turkey Creek. Their menu has many more option than Buddy's, is prepared even fresher, and is so much better!  And it gets better!  Every meal comes with free self-serve soft-serve!  This is a one-stop-shop to satisfy my stomach for sure. 

We've made it into a family outing. Dad doesn't stay with mom and me, but we all head out together!  It makes me happy to start out my vacation mornings at the beautiful beach, all of us getting fresh air and sunshine right away!
I like action shots better than poses.  They're real!  Mom wanted to get a picture of me after the run, too, though, so I awkwardly smiled for her photo!  This one on the left is one of my favorites because of all the bright colors, sunshine, and palm trees.
Gotta keep that protein going!  This protmeal has pumpkin, protein powder, granola, egg, and cinnamon
We had burgers a lot over the trip, so the second time we went to Steak 'n Shake, I got a turkey sandwich, and they sure piled it up good!
Another seasonal yogurt I got hung on is passion fruit mixed with fresh raspberries!  I enjoyed having a cold, fruity snack while I took my afternoon walks down the beach.
The clouds looked pretty scary, but Dad and I were safe at the driving range!  A little lightning in the distance didn't keep us from having fun. I'm not a golfer, but Dad enjoys taking me some while we're at the beach.
Chacos are acceptable golf shoes, right?
I made improvements from last year!  I didn't miss the ball near as many times.
More things that I found at Walmart in Myrtle Beach that I've yet to find around home. These are the best ice creams I've ever had. We went back to the store again so I could buy some more!  At our nearby stores, I've only been able to find the basic chocolate and vanilla and cookie dough, but these were beyond "delicious."

The golf night was a late night, and I was exhausted. I cherish my sleep, but I got in bed after midnight!  It was worth it though. If Dad had not wanted to stay longer and practice putting, I wouldn't have gotten to experience this amazing lightning storm. There was no thunder, just constant lightning for hours!  It was truly amazing. It made me watch in awe of how powerful our God is. He makes beautiful things happen that we can't understand so that He can demonstrate that awesome power.

Outside the cafe I found a great place to do my Bible study!  The hotel had done tons of renovations since last year, so all the tables, chairs, floors, and much of the interior were brand new. They also put in new fitness equipment, which I was very thankful for!  They even totally redid and moved the Starbucks and hotel office!

After we got the very last available room in the entire hotel for our last spur-of-the-moment nights, we had a bit different setup, but I still liked it!  Instead of overlooking the ocean, we now overlooked the kiddie pool and new slide!  This is the book I mentioned earlier that I have done some study with my small group from church with.  It is so challenging to how a Christian should live life!
For four years now, we have been blessed to have the same lifeguard!  His name is Colby, and he knows us by name, too.  We feel special because he treats us like good friends, talking to us often, giving us anything we need, joking, and even giving us an extra chair for me!

The last night, I talked Mom into trying another new place.  It was not what I expected, but in a good way!  I thought since it was a "market and grill" that it would be small, but it was huge and really nice!  The Flying Fish at Barefoot Landing was lined up for hours for the wait.  However, Mom and I have come to find that with just 2 people, you can often get seated right away.  That's just what happened, and we got this beautiful view along with it.

Here while you wait on your meal, you don't get complimentary rolls; you get mahi fish dip and crackers!  That stuff was amazing!  I ate up the whole thing and would've had more if they brought it.

I wanted to commemorate our last night of the best and extra long vacation here at this new, beautiful, very yummy restaurant.

Look at that portion!  That's a lot of fish to eat (if you can't see it, there are two big slabs on that plate)!  The prices vary depending on the fanciness of the fish you order, but for the most part, they are all reasonably priced, not bad at all.  There are at least 12 or more types of fish to choose from, meals, cooking varieties, and even food that isn't fish, so you are sure to find something you like!

For the final partial day, I tried to stay all in the sunshine and walking or playing around.  We stayed until around 2:00 before cleaning up and heading home.

I didn't get to run because mom said she needed the extra energy for the long drive, so I did some barefooted sprints in the sand for fun!

Dad and I used to always build sandcastles, but there were really none at all this year to see!  I saw this shark and sea turtle on my walk that day, though.

Mom likes selfies.  I wanted her to jump, too, but this worked out great!  I enjoyed this vacation so much, and I wish we could've stayed even longer.  It's such a blessing to be able to have so much fun with my family.