We returned earlier this week from our Seaside trip to a nice warm greeting of a foot (plus +) of snow... and no power!  Now, the power is on, the driveway shoveled, Emma is back at school for the day and things seem back to normal - I'm sitting in the kitchen working while beef is braising (Tuscan Braised Beef with olives and rosemary...) in the oven.  Ahhh.  One of the best parts of going on vacation is coming back to "real" life with refreshed enthusiasm for home.

I do think the abundance of "white stuff" (sand and snow) has thoroughly confused Emma.  She absolutely loved playing in the sand and has now started to play with her bath water as she did with the sand - putting "handfuls" of it in her beach buckets... which, as you can imagine, doesn't work nearly as well with water as it does sand.  We're going to go sledding tomorrow - we'll see how she takes to handfuls of snow!

My birthday is just a couple of days away and Mike surprised me with a new "fancy" lens for my camera to take on the trip.  It is a 17-50mm f/2.8 - if that means anything to anyone.  It sort of means something to me... I just know that it gives me a wider perspective, allowing me to shoot interiors and views that aren't so 'zoomed in'... but gives me the option to zoom in just like my old standby the 50mm.  It was so fun to play with on the trip - my new favorite toy.  Also, the f-stop (f/2.8) allows me to get that blurred bokah effect that I love. 

This was the house we stayed in, "Savannah Sands."  It was right on the beach - this is the view from the pavilion that leads to the beach by the house. 

The bedrooms are on the lower level, each with access to the screen porch with rocking chairs.  The middle level was the kitchen and family room, with double french doors onto a porch that looked out into the gulf.  And... the top floor was an amazing 360 degree lookout.

The view from the kitchen balcony.  That is the pavilion that leads to the beach.

We headed straight to the beach when we arrived - go good to breath that fresh salt air.

Daddy had to do a little tickling to cheer Emma up - she didn't quite "get" the beach yet.

All better.  Emma's Mimi and Papa came with us - aka, Mike's parents.  Here she is smiling with her Mimi!

Walking in from the beach - that is the house on the left.  This shot really gives you a feel for how idyllic and beautiful Seaside is.

We went to the Shrimp Shack for lunch - they were featuring "Royal Reds" which were very special shrimp that were so tender and tasted like lobster.  They were amazing.

Emma and I at the shopping area in the village.  Everything is within walking distance - this area was literally 1 block from the beach/our house.

We popped in my favorite stores after lunch.  This is Pizitz Home and Cottage.  I love the end tables and blanket here... both on my list! 

As are these quilted pillows.  Totally DIY-able.

This store really got me in the mood to freshen up my house for spring and add some modern touches - like those fab lamps!

Next we went by the former Inn by the Sea where we got married - in this very spot.  

The inside is being renovated from an Inn to a single family home.  It is amazing.  I'm obsessed.  It is exactly what I  envision us doing with our home.  I love the big open space.  I've got more photos to share with details later.

Humble beach homes...

Emma needs these!

She told me herself.

 Post Office in the town center...

here we are 2+ years ago : )  (photo : claireryser.com)

This wasn't really our "getaway" vehicle.  We just found it parked here and hoped on for a pic!

As I said, Emma loved picking up the sand by the handful and putting in her buckets.  She can't even be persuaded the look at the camera.


Baby toes in the sand : )

So big!

On the move...


Mike and I went to Bud and Alley's for the sunset...

A Seaside tradition. 

Then out for some pizza - a delicious Salami, Fresh Mozzarella, Basil, Chiles & Honey Pizza.  I'll be recreating this at home, for sure. 

The perfect way to end a beach day.  I love casual meals when we're on vacation... I literally had my feet up.

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow!