Myrtle Beach: Final Recap

Myrtle Beach’s warm temperatures and abundant sunshine left me spending most of my days by the pool or on the shore. No need to stay indoors since the weather cooperated leaving us without a drop of rain. Clearly we picked the week well because other vacationers complained that the days leading up to our arrival were dark and dreary.111111111 1333 133333

We stayed at the Sea Watch Plantation Resort located on a private beach with very friendly (and attractive) lifeguards. Our balcony overlooked the ocean so we frequently saw fireworks at nighttime. The resort was neither busy nor noisy, so I often fell asleep while reading in a reclined chair by the pool. I guess that is the advantage of traveling when summer holidays have ended for most Americans. 14 62

While I enjoyed lounging in the heat, my fair skin can only take so much sunshine so I did enjoy endless shopping, delicious dining, and plenty of tourist attractions. Some of my favourite activities included seeing salt water taffy being made, product surfing in Kroger and Lowe’s, go-karting, jet skiing, beachwalks by the pier, seashell hunting and of course card playing. I’d recommend stopping in at Barefoot Landing which had chain stores and one-of-a kind boutiques. I really enjoyed the “Natural Life” paper products at Ron Jon Surf Shop and the jewelery at Francesca’s. If you are looking for an afternoon adventure, try visiting Broadway at the Beach which is a combination of gift shops, eateries and kid-friendly activities such as Ripley’s Aquarium, Planet Hollywood, WonderWorks, MagiQuest and even Dragon’s Lair Mini-Golf. I really enjoyed “It’s Sugar” which was a candy shop with oversized Wonka products and a large assortment of gummies, M&Ms, jelly bellies, soda (I called it pop by accident) and other sweets. e2wwew 12212121212

The most entertaining piece of the trip was Pirate’s Voyage. The dinner show, sponsored by Dolly Parton, featured a combination of acrobatics, acting, singing, dancing and even performing animals such as dogs, sea lions and parrots. They did a great job rewarding and treating the animals with respect, which to me is very important. If you can get over drinking soup out of a cup or eating a quarter chicken with no knife, then you will really enjoy the show. They even got children involved in mini contests.144444 11111111 31312121185205_330724617063323_797455069_n

I would definitely recommend Myrtle Beach as a family vacation location, however if I returned to the Carolinas I might visit Charleston, South Carolina or Outer Banks, North Carolina instead. While the resort we stayed in was clean and updated, parts of North Myrtle Beach were a bit run down by tacky tourist shops. You know something is fishy when seafood buffets are only $6.99 for all you can eat. Overall I really enjoyed myself. Nearing the end I did miss my own bed and my family, but for the most part the time flew by and I was sad to say goodbye to the coast. I am so grateful to have been included in Caitlin’s family’s annual trip. I couldn’t have asked for a more welcoming group of people, although I did get laughed at for all of my food shots and selfies.

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I feel behind in blog posts and blog reading but it was nice to take a break from texting and facebook. I had many firsts for instance being stung by a jelly fish, seeing a pelican in flight, finding a lettered olive (South Carolina’s State seashell) and successfully running 2 miles on the beach without stopping. As I said before, there really is something for everyone whether that be golfing, playing tennis, riding the skywheel, visiting the theatre, or investing in some new clothes. It is an affordable destination and there really never was a dull moment. ♥ Molly

“To find a seashell is to discover a world of imagination.”  – Michelle Held

Myrtle Beach: MIMM #7

I still can’t believe I am here in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina soaking up the sun from the beautiful coast of the Atlantic Ocean. This past week has flown by since the days have been jammed pack with excursions. I am sad that I only have two full days left before I fly back home. It’s Monday though, and what better way to highlight some favourites than by participating in Katie’s Marvelous In My Monday.MiMM

Marvelous is running on the beach before the golden sunrises so that I can beat the humidity and hot temperatures. It’s allowing the waves to splash my feet as I search for seashells and sand dollars and it’s walking along the moonlit beach at nighttime to make room for dessert. 7 4

Marvelous is finding good deals in Outlet malls as I shop until I literally drop. It’s treating myself to a familiar beverage such as Starbucks iced coffee and wishing Canada had Trenta size cold drinks too. I had never heard of Orange Spice Iced Coffee until this week.11111111

Marvelous is exploring grocery stores such as Kroger and Target to find unique products.  I did not locate Arctic Zero or actually purchase anything that out of the norm for me, but it was still neat to discover foods such as white chocolate KitKat and M&Ms, broiled peanuts and cinnamon Teddy Grahams. Canada is missing out on so many varieties of gold fish crackers, greek yogurt brands, gum and even chips.2 3

Marvelous is visiting tourist attractions such as Broadway on the Beach and Barefoot landing. It’s being a kid in a candy shop and it’s watching taffy and fudge being made. 10

Marvelous is playing games and not being ashamed of my competitive spirit. What can I say, I like to win! I’ve played Skip Bo while sipping tea at night, Corn Hole while waiting for dinner at Finn McCools, ladder ball while waiting to jet ski and peg puzzle while waiting for breakfast at Cracker Barrel.5 6

Marvelous is the sun kissed glow being taken on by my hair and skin. My hair has naturally lightened to a blonder shade and while my SPF 60 sun screen has prevented me from burning I have gotten a bit of a tan.1111

Marvelous is go-karting with the boys.  Again, I don’t think they realized just how gung ho I am about coming in first and my petite frame (in comparison to 6’0 feet tall boys) allowed me to soar through the course at a faster pace. I paid close attention to which cars were the quickest and often lucked out in getting the vehicle I wanted. There was also an arcade and rock climbing wall but I stucked to go-karting which reminded me more of bumper cars because of all the collisions that led me to spin out of control. Colin shot some hoops and gave me the stuffed elephant prize that he won. Thanks again!9 8

Myrtle beach is marvelous, to say the least. It’s obvious that I am having the time of my life with daily outings but I am equally enjoying relaxing on the beach or by the pool. I’m going to miss having someone else to make my bed and the convenience of eating out, although I have also liked the meals we prepared for ourselves. It’s going to be a shock when I return to Canada’s cooler climate, especially with fall on it’s way. I’m trying not to think about the fact that my vacation is coming to an end because I still have many marvelous memories to make before heading home. What was marvelous about your past week and weekend? ♥ Molly

“Beach House Rules: Relax, Unwind, Enjoy”

Myrtle Beach: 5 Days and Counting

Myrtle Beach. It’s the place where time loses its meaning and cares slip away with the tide. I can wake up each morning to the bright golden sun and drift off each evening to the soft sound of the ocean. Each day is filled with a fun excursion, a new memory and sun kissed cheeks. There are picturesque beaches, luscious green palmetto trees, cloudless skies and an abundance of seashells. There really is something memorable for everyone which is probably why my friend Caitlin and her family return year after year.2222222 33333322222

I am so grateful to have been brought on their family vacation, and even more so since they know the best activities to adventure on. Monday and Tuesday were very relaxing since we were just settling in. At the resort we are staying in Tuesday’s are “Pool Parties”, so there was a DJ playing music and hosting contests. I entered a Hula Hooping competition and came in third out of over 30 kids. I made it into the finals but lost my hoop when I spun left instead of right and tried to correct myself too quickly. They had me hula hooping on one leg, while doing funny faces, while jumping, while people splashed me (not fun since I was wearing a dress), while kneeling, while balancing on my toes and while spinning around. The prize was ice cream so I bet you know why I was so disappointed when my hoop fell. Oh well. Tuesday night we also visited Barefoot Landing which has many quaint shops such as Purpleologist and Christmas Mouse. I really enjoyed the “Natural Life” collection from Ron Jon since it featured many inspirational quotes and lots of owl designs. 4444441111111 111111111111

We all needed a break from the sun so we spent Wednesday shopping at Tanger Outlets. It reminded me of the new Toronto Premium Outlet since it was outdoors as well but very protected with awnings. I found a cute pair of Nine West flats on sale from for $14.00 originally $75.00. You bet I used a 10% off coupon to bring the price down further. The States has so many bargains. I now know why they have a show called Extreme Couponers. I also got a pair of jeans since I desperately need pants for the fall. They were only $12.00! I had my eye on a Kate Spade purse but I opted to wait since I knew there was more shopping to be done later in the week. Thursday was also spent at a mall because the clouds looked threatening. I found another pair of Nine-West shoes at Belk on sale for $25.00 from $80.00. My mom and Emma already have this style so now we will all match. To conclude the night I watched beach fireworks from the balcony of our room. I’m not used to Red, White and Blue sparkles.55555PG.NWVOODOO.JJ169A0.PZ 111111

Thankfully the weather cleared up because we had booked Jet skiing for Friday morning. Unfortunately we didn’t see any dolphins but riding the waves both as a driver and passenger was pretty neat. Usually dolphins follow shrimp boaters but the fishermen were all docked because of the low tides. In the afternoon we continued with our water themed day and tanned on the beach. The sun was so hot I decided to take a dip in the ocean but after only a minute of floating a jellyfish stung me. I didn’t cry but let it be known that it hurt more than anything. It caught me by surprise since the jellyfish was clear not purple like I am used to from P.E.I. I’ve never been stung by a bee but I can tell you it hurts more but isn’t as itchy as an allergic reaction. I was told to rub the wound with salt water, sand and finally vinegar. The first hour was brutal but by the evening the pain had dispersed and the hives subsided. My friend’s mom treated me to a Raspberry Daiquiri which made up for the pain I was feeling – not that it was her fault I got hurt. 3344434422333 2222333

Overall I am really enjoying my time in Myrtle Beach. I hope someday I can come back with my family, maybe when Lottie is old enough to build a sandcastle. It has a bit of a southern feel, not only in the setting and food, but also in their “accent” and slang. My iPhone is taking some nice photos but I do wish I had my DSLR for shooting the sunrise and sunset. I suppose that’s just another excuse to return. Happy Saturday. ♥ Molly

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Myrtle Beach: Salt Water

Most people would agree that salt has a bad reputation. Correlations between eating salt and raised blood pressure are very much present. High blood pressure poses a threat for putting a greater strain on one’s heart, arteries, kidneys and brain which can lead to heart attacks, strokes, dementia and kidney disease.45

But is all salt bad? Not in my books! While I don’t add salt into my baking or cooking, sodium isn’t the first item I look at on a nutritional label! I’m not going to get into a debate as to why sea salt may be better than table salt because we are all entitled to our own opinions and the most notable differences are within the taste and texture. The fact of the matter is that swimming in sea salt does have some tremendous benefits for our bodies and since I’m vacationing on the ocean I feel compelled to share some fun facts with you. After all, I have to live up to my “healthy living” blog motto.22

There’s no doubt about it, salt water is cleansing to the skin because it increases moisture retention. By detoxifying your skin, your whole body automatically feels rejuvenated since your skin is the largest organ in your body. Overtime, swimming in salt water can help to treat skin disorders such as eczema and acne.33

Not only will swimming help keep you beautiful on the outside, it will also help in keeping you healthy in the inside. One’s mental state may be renewed from swimming in salt water since it is a way to relieve stress and release endorphins. Salt water contains bromide, which helps reduce the inflammation of joints and muscles, which in turn lessens muscle pains. Salt water also has higher buoyancy so it is easier to float within. Studies have proven that salt water can restore the body’s natural balance, which promotes self-healing and can make you feel and look younger. When you swim in salt water, it stimulates your blood circulation, which is great for your health. Your nervous system benefits from the magnesium present in salt water, as are potassium and sodium. Calcium is also present which we know is great for your bone health.66

In contrast to chlorine, which has the tendency to cause red eyes and itchy skin, salt water is better for your overall comfort. I must admit I’ve really been enjoying the salty water of the ocean. Swallowing a gulp isn’t fun, but my hair is feeling silkier than ever. In Ontario we are blessed with Great Lakes, but you won’t find ocean water anywhere. I’m not used to watching out for jellyfish or sharks but I think I could get used to looking for washed up beach glass, seashells and sand dollars. I can’t wait to go jet skiing later in the week so that we can flag down a fishing boat for fresh shrimp. I brought an underwater camera to document the excursion. I’ll definitely be sharing photos from my trip so far later in the week because I have to many funny stories to contain until I get home. Bye for now! ♥ Molly

“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.”  – Dinesen, Isak 

Myrtle Beach: Peace and Serenity

It’s almost surreal to walk on an empty beach amidst a cloud of fog. The sound of the waves crashing against each other, the sand between your toes and the blazing sun heating the water so that it is just bearable to touch.

7:00 a.m. Fog

7:00 a.m. Fog

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We arrived safely, on time, to a newly renovated airport just 20 minutes from our resort. We drove by many attractions including Pirate’s Voyage, Go-Karting, Broadway Beach and the Tanger Outlet Mall all of which I look forward to frequenting later in the week. Yesterday was mostly spent in air, but we did manage to buy some groceries and go for a midnight swim. I’ll never get tired of finding new food products only featured in the States. There are some pretty packaged foods, although I’m not sure I would actually try and of them. I went for a walk on the beach this morning, which is by far one of my favourite forms of exercise. Today is a beautiful sunny day which means that we will most likely be relaxing on the beach and by the pool. The only probable destination is the Tiki Bar – non-alcoholic of course because I am only 20 and the drinking age in the States is different. I found it so surprising to see alcohol in the grocery store yesterday. The prices are also so low in comparison to what I remember from Canada.  1098007_326937960775322_1732407465_n

I haven’t even been in Myrtle Beach for 24 hours and already I have experienced true bliss. We are on a very relaxed schedule, flexible with weather changes or input from others. While I am not on vacation with my own family, I feel just at ease and am equally included in the decision making progress. It’s nice to be given the option as to whether or not I want to do a particular activity or eat at a certain restaurant and for that I am extremely thankful.934732_326937847442000_1684804581_n

I know that I had intended to blog on my vacation, but I am slowly realizing just how needed a break from technology really is. While I plan on documenting my trip through a recap, I am not sure that I will be keeping up with blog updates, e-mails or facebook on a daily basis. We will see, there is definitely enough down time to write, but I also want to make the most of a vacation by just being. Just lounging, just reading, just soaking up the sun free of unnecessary thoughts, worry and guilt. My inner perfectionism hates that posts will not be frequent or scheduled for 5:00 a.m., but I am using this trip as a challenge for myself both mentally and physically. It’s kind of nice to be forced to take a step back from the busy lifestyle I was living and I am so glad that I opted not to get a phone plan for the States.

That is all. I challenge you to find peace and serenity in your “today”. ♥ Molly

The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea. – Anne Morrow Lindbergh 

Summer Solstice

Yesterday marked the first official day of summer. Hooray! I can’t say I enjoy any other season more than this one. Here in Ontario, Canada the rhyme  “April Showers” came true for the entire spring season. While May brought flowers, it also brought torrential downpours. I am hoping that summer brings warmth and sunshine so that those threatening clouds get the memo to head elsewhere. (I am thinking positive thoughts for those currently struggling in Alberta that search to find dry land and  escape the flooding.)

I love summer for so many reasons. It tends to be the warmest season, the days are longer, it’s the perfect time for summer “reads”, clothing prints are always brighter and the materials are lighter (Hello Summer Dresses), my birthday falls within it, bike rides are more enjoyable, popsicles become more popular, as a student I get it off from school and it is typically the month in which my family travels. My parents must have had a hectic job coordinating summer day trips and weeklong vacations when I was younger. As one of four, not only were vacations expensive but very busy! I have fond memories of driving to the east coast, visiting Montreal and touring Ottawa. As I have gotten older however, we’ve caught the “Travel bug” and have gotten out of Canada more often! I’m fortunate to have ventured through California, gone to New York City, and have even seen a fair bit of Europe. Last summer we spent a few days in Paris France before heading to the South of France where we rented a house. It was the perfect opportunity to experience french living and culture.

I wonder what is in store this summer!  My hope is for a sandy beach covered in seashells, warm water for swimming and interesting boutiques. I think I’ve had my fair share of museums and site seeing these past summers, so my wish is to go to a relaxing location with minimal walking. Lazy? Maybe! Peaceful? Definitely! To be truthful I don’t know if I am the type of person that can read by the ocean but I am definitely willing to test my patience and try! Someday I hope to stay in a resort in Hawaii so in the meantime I will have to work on lounging by a pool (coated in SPF 50 sunscreen of course).

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Officially 4 months old!

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Emma and Lottie!

Of course the first day of summer wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t swim in our pool! Yesterday was also special as it was Lottie’s first time swimming. She was so brave and loved the water. I think it reminded her of a big bathtub. She is already following in my footsteps and becoming quite the water fish. Summertime is just asking for memories to be created. ♥ Molly

“Some of the best memories are made in flip flops.” – Kellie Elmore