...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Last month we vacationed in Rosemary Beach, Florida. We had heard so many good things about the area so we were excited to experience it for ourselves. It did not disappoint!

drive to Rosemary Beach

We made the trip by car. It was about an eleven hour car ride from southwest Ohio. To save time and money, I packed our lunches and a bag full of snacks so the only stops we made were for restroom breaks. Don’t let the picture fool you. My kids are not car sleepers. Fifteen minutes later everyone was awake and asking if we were there yet.


We arrived after dark and didn’t get a good view of the area until the next morning. This was the sunrise view from the third floor balcony (!) of our vacation rental. (More on that later.) The day long car ride was totally worth it.

lattes on the porch

The boys and I were up early every morning. We’d eat breakfast, hang out on the front porch swing, then go for a bike ride or a walk on the beach while Steve and Mabrey slept.

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Our vacation rental came with four adult bikes. We brought Everett’s bike and a bike stroller for Mabrey. The entire area is extremely bike-friendly which we loved. We went on a family bike ride at least once a day, if not more.

The first morning there, the boys and I hit up the farmer’s market in downtown Rosemary. We stocked up on fresh produce for juice. (We brought our juicer from home.) We also bought the most amazing crab cake mix which we cooked for dinner later in the week. Soooo goooood.

There was a Flutterby Festival (basically a butterfly-themed festival) on the lawn in Rosemary the first day. We rode our bikes down and spent a few hours there. There was a bounce house and games, and a magician performed on a small stage. The kids loved it. Steve and I liked that it wasn’t too crowded. At lunchtime, we hopped on our bikes and pedaled back to the house which took all of five minutes.

Rosemary Beach

Rosemary Beach

Rosemary Beach

The beach was ~7 minute bike ride from the house. Steve and I have never considered ourselves “beach people.” (I was stung by a stingray in my teens which has pretty much turned me off from any ocean.) The gritty sand, the scorching sun, the crowds, nothankyou. HOWEVER, I think we’ve just been visiting the wrong beaches at the wrong times. Rosemary Beach has powdery sand, crystal clear water and the most indescribable atmosphere. Have you seen The Truman Show? It was filmed just a few miles from Rosemary Beach. That dome-like, living-in-a-bubble effect?… it’s real! Between the picture perfect sky and lapping waves, you seriously feel like you are insulated from the rest of the world. It’s kinda surreal.

We loved being at the beach in the off-season. The weather wasn’t just tolerable; it was comfortable (at least for us Midwesterners). And there were no crowds to speak of. It was so peaceful. Maybe we’re just October / November beach people. Is that a thing?

Rosemary Beach

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We found ourselves skipping Mabrey’s nap in favor of afternoons at the beach. I didn’t pack any beach toys but it didn’t matter. The kids were content for hours playing in the sand and wading in the water. Nature really is the best toy. Mabrey kept referring to the salt water as “spicy water.” It was hilarious.

Seacrest pool

For fun (mostly to appease the kids’ begging) we hit up the neighborhood pool on the warmest day. We had the entire 12,000 square foot pool to ourselves. Ha! It was SO COLD. That was maybe our only regret of the entire trip. We had this amazing pool but didn’t get to fully enjoy it.

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This is the only proof I have that Steve and I were on vacation, too ;)

kids on the vacation house porch

My kids don’t do normal.

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All in all, it was THE BEST family vacation. We have never been so sad to leave a place. It was the first vacation where we didn’t feel like we needed a vacation from our vacation when we returned home. We’ll definitely be back!

I’d like to share a little more about our vacation but this post is already lengthy. I still have a slew of pictures from my walks around Rosemary Beach and nearby Alys Beach. And I managed to snap a few shots of our vacation rental with my real camera. Look for those in future posts if you’re interested.

Have you ever been to Rosemary Beach or the surrounding 30A area? Where is your favorite place to vacation? Have you ever been on a true vacation where you felt relaxed and recharged afterwards? Steve and I have never really considered vacations important, but this trip changed our minds!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

A few coffee table items for those who enjoy inspiring (mostly home-related) reads and simplicity…

gift guide : coffee table


1 – The Public Library – An homage to public libraries across the country.

2 – acacia square plate – Use it as a kid-friendly tray for corralling loose coins, photos, remotes, coasters and lone Lego pieces.

3 – Eichler: Modernism Rebuilds the American Dream – A legacy’s modern-meets-comfort vision in book form. Informative eye candy that deserves a spot in any home lover’s collection.

4 – A Frame for Life – A look at interior design from a human (not purely visual) perspective focusing on comfort and practicality.

5 – Neutra: Complete Works – For 20th century architecture geeks or those who just love good, nature-inspired design. Neutra’s works have a profound way of connecting the indoors with the outdoors.

6 – stone hexagonal coasters – Protect surfaces with these shapely coasters, available in black soapstone or white marble.

7 – Commune – On my personal wish list this year for its mix of texture & pattern, old & new. I love that it comes in an eye-catching book protector.

8 – paperweight magnifier – A sculpture with purpose. Great for young and old alike.

9 – bamboo vase – A non-glass vase for displaying blooms or stashing pens and pencils.

10 – rubber vase – For especially active households ;)

Need more ideas? Good reads for home lovers.

*BONUS* – Score 30% off (up to $10 off) one book from Amazon by using the promo code “HOLIDAY30” at checkout now through 11/30/14.

P.S. – Click here to see who won the Interior Define giveaway!

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Everyone knows the kitchen is the heart of the home. A few gift ideas for those who keep it warm…

gift guide : the kitchen


1 – acacia pizza peel – Perfect for pizza night.

2 – Thug Kitchen – Because cooking should be healthy and fun(ny).

3 – oil pourer, cruet – Hands down, the best oil / vinegar dispensers on the planet. No drips, no messes. You get a perfect pour every time. (We use the large one for olive oil and the small one for balsamic vinegar.)

4 – melamine bowl – Great for the kids’ snacks.

5 – gold foil kitchen print – Dancing makes everything better.

6 – sustainable bamboo trivets – Earth-friendly. Countertop-friendly.

7 – salt & pepper bottle grinders – Functional and beautiful. Two qualities of a perfect gift.

8 – One Pot – A fresh and easy take on comfort food. *BONUS* – Less dishes to wash.

9 – stainless steel straws – Eco-friendly. Kid-friendly. The only way our kids will drink the green juice we make.

10 – shallow maple bowl – Display fresh produce, or corral coffee and tea brewing supplies.

P.S. – Our juicer is still going strong after two years of almost daily use!

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking