Ain't misbehavin'

{George's Mac n' Cheese }

Earlier this month we spent a delightful week in Rosemary Beach with our friends the K's. This was our third trip to Rosemary. After visiting many other beaches, Mr. Mophead and I agreed that this is it. Maybe some day we will own a house there if all the stars align. Until then, here are some tips:

Where to stay.
Rosemary homes, shops, restaurants and greens were perfectly planned and executed. The community rests on both sides of 30A. If you can afford it, stay on the south side. Beachfront rentals are exorbitant, especially if you're not sharing with other families. No worries. You can find beautiful homes very close to the gulf. This year we stayed at the centrally located Russell Cottage.  Before we take a short tour, I'd like to mention that there was nary a fake plant or flower anywhere in sight. Way to go Russells for not going faux!

{Welcome to Russell Cottage}

{a peak into the lovely courtyard}

Shall we go inside?

The beach butler hall was my fave feature. If you have the luxury of designing a beach house for yourself, do this.

Ice machine, drink fridge, beach towels, blankets, coolers, lanterns, flashlights located on the bottom level to grab on the way to the beach. In theory, everything gets dumped there when you return. Unfortunately, that's not always the case with the Mophead crew.

What's behind the Arabian-style doors?

A lovely laundry room. As much as I loathe doing laundry, Mrs. K and I agreed that both the room and the Miele set (not shown) made the chore a little less tedious. The only thing missing was a genie in one of those brass pitchers to do it for us.

{I dream of a laundry genie.}

I love this trough sink in the kid's bathroom, as well as the galvanized tub re-purposed as a mirror. Another idea to steal for my beach house.

Of course it's all about details. How did they know that I love L'Occitane products?

And, that I often buy wine based on the bottle label. I would have bought this one for sure. Nice hostess gift too!

Check out VRBO for the full house tour.

How to get around.
With the exception of a few big grocery runs, there is no need to drive once you arrive in Rosemary. Seriously. I drove my car twice. Incidentally, don't pack a huge cooler of food for your stay. Publix is less than a 10-minute drive.

Peddlers on 30A is the cutest and best bargain for bike rentals -- $55 a week. Free accessories and delivery. Pub coming soon. What more could you ask for?

Except this. They have pink bikes. You know I love pink. Here's mine parked in our courtyard with a teal basket I personally selected. Cute, right.

Where to eat.
It never takes me long to launch into food rap.

Our hands down favorite restaurant is George's. It's actually in Alys Beach -- a very short bike ride down 30A. (More about Alys in an upcoming post.) I ate there four times. No lie.

The owners are really into frogs. They are everywhere -- in a tasteful way.

{adorable frog sconce}

The restaurant's menu is divided into two dining groups: "be - have" and "mis - be - have."

I managed to behave myself.

{wood-grilled catch of the day -- oh so healthy}

Mr. Mophead and Mr. K did not. I thought the spicy garam masala ribs with Indian mac 'n cheese was  an unusual offering for beach fare, but the men were completely satisfied with their choice.

Also in the misbehaving category -- SVM's famous grouper sandwich. It was voted best in Garden and Gun's "100 Southern foods you absolutely, positively must eat before you die" list. G&G actually gave the credit to George's sister restaurant Seagrove Village MarketCafe. You should definitely check out the G&G list. Bet you never knew you should add rabbit livers with pepper jelly, pig ear sandwich, pork neck bones & rice or fried red snapper throats to your bucket list. Did you?

{George's famous grouper sandwich}

Back to the turf. George's cheeseburger is rated #1 on 30A. I didn't order one, but I will not throw stones. The cucumber salad looks mighty healthy.

{#1 cheese burger on 30A}

You can't go wrong at George's. Just go!

The Cowgirl Kitchen is another good bet for family dining.

It's usually mobbed at dinner time, but you can take out. Go for the gourmet pizzas and salads. Skip the pizza if your kids don't eat anything green. There is the slightest hint of rosemary in the crust, which was visible to the Mophead boy's naked eyes. Don't try to dumb it down. Doesn't work.

New to Rosemary -- or to me at least -- is Cowgirl's Feed and Supply across the street. There, you can find gourmet provisions, gifts, prepared casseroles, appetizers and dips. The chicken salad and crab dip are delish. Skip the pimento cheese.

Sweet treats.
Not surprising, here's where the behavin' went by the wayside for me.

Any trip to Rosemary would not be complete without at least one trip to The Sugar Shak.

Ice cream and overpriced candy abound. I love all the old-fashioned penny candy. After some careful thought, I decided that Bit-O-Honey and Sugar Babies are two of my all-time faves. I have a lot. The grossest candy I came across that brings back horrid childhood memories -- circus peanuts. Seriously, who eats those things?

A word to the wise about shopping at the Sugar Shak. Avoid going at night. It's packed. Don't even think about going there if your child is tired or anywhere close to a potential melt down. The store has two lines -- one for ice cream and one for candy. Do not stand in the ice cream line if you're not buying any. Candy is sold by the piece, not by the pound. That means that every piece of candy has to be rung up separately. And, there is no express line. Poor Mr. K got stuck in the candy line behind a women who bought over $200 worth of candy, which she poured out of several bags that had to be counted one by one. It was a painful experience for him. I don't know if he'll ever go back.

Last, but certainly not least, Charlie's Donut Truck in Alys is the bomb. Pre-order or get there early, like 7:00 am. If not, you will stand the chance of waiting in a long line or being SOL.

 {Like the sign says, they do sell out quickly every day.}

You wouldn't want to deprive your family of fresh donuts. Certainly not the coveted donut kabob -- three donut holes on a stick with sprinkles -- that was a huge hit with the Mophead boys.

Can't wait for our next trip. In the meantime, the beach house and the "hangover car" are still on my wish list. Who knows, you could see me driving down 30A in this next summer.

Have you been to Rosemary? What are your faves?

Summer solstice

Friday is the summer solstice. Apparently it has been celebrated for centuries with all kinds of traditions. wikiHow has many ideas (or "steps") for how. While some take the spiritual, introspective or renewal approach, others just like to revel.

Not exactly my idea of fun, but this is my favorite "tip" on wiki:

-- Go on a naked run. Get the permission of your local authority to hold a naked fun run through the town. In Riga, Latvia, this has become a recent ritual of great popularity for the summer solstice celebrations. If this is your idea of fun, go for it.

Does anyone live in an area where your local authorities would permit a naked fun run? Guess the Latvians are willing to turn a blind eye to streaking.

I don't have any definitive solstice plans, but I do love many things about summer. Here are some of my favorite sights, smells and tastes of summer in no particular order.

Summer: 10 things

{the smell of a freshly mowed lawn]

{kids playing in sprinklers}

{al fresco dining}

{farm stand tomatoes}

{4th of July fireworks}

{burgers and hot dogs on the grill}


{the smell of Coppertone}

 {beach reading}

{catching lightning bugs}

What are your faves.?

Happy summer!

Photo images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 67, 8, 9, 10

Summer reading

I'm sure you've all noticed by now that I love vintage magazine covers. Harper's Bazaar is my fave. This one caught my eye both because it covers summer reading, and -- more importantly -- the "lazybones diet." Of course this piqued my curiosity. I searched to no avail for the subject in the Harper's archives. Here's some stuff I did find about 1950s dieting.

Diet Rite cola was released in 1958 as a "dietetic" product. It was later introduced and marketed as a "healthful" beverage in 1962.

Averyl Hill writes a blog dedicated to vintage diets. Check it out. She is working on this e-book:

Retro-Housewife is an interesting blog that covers dieting by the decade.

According to a 2003 study by the woman's magazine Prima as reported in the dailymail, 1950s woman burned more than 1,000 calories a day performing their daily domestic duties. How you may ask?
  • They spent 3 hours a day doing housework, an hour walking to and from town to shop -- the butcher's, the baker's, the green grocer's and other specialty shops -- an hour shopping itself and another hour making dinner.
  • Many had to prepare lunch as their husbands came home to eat in the middle of the day (Ugh!).
  • Family cars were scarce so they had to walk their kids to and from school.

Let's take a look at the numbers:

Three hours housework (150 cals. an hour): 450
One hour walking to shops (280 cals. an hour): 280
1 hour shopping (200 cals. an hour): 200
1 hour cooking (162 cals. an hour): 162

TOTAL: 1,092 

No TVs and other electronic devices to keep their children quiet and entertained meant they actually had to play with them.

1950s women also ate fewer calories -- 1,818 on average compared with 2,778 in 2003. The study attributes this partially to making meals from scratch versus buying prepared and junk food.

Other research found that 50s women enjoyed much more active sex lives because their time was not divided among career, childcare and leisure time outside the home. I wonder how many more calories they burned having more sex?

Question: Would you give up your career, dishwasher, washing machine, car, TV,  laptop, smart phone, your children's electronic devices, gym membership, socializing with friends, buying pre-made meals, eating out, dry cleaner, hired help, etc. in exchange for spending more quality time at home cooking, cleaning, playing with your children and having more sex with your husband -- all in an effort to stay slim?

My unequivocal answer is no.

Back on topic. There's no need to tax the old noggin this summer. You do have to deal with entertaining children, after all. I'm going to Boston and Nantucket in July. And, my nine-year-old is obsessed with the Kennedy's. With that general geographic area -- as well as law breaking, infidelity, entitlement, privilege and shear stupidity -- in mind, I offer these four titles for your summer reading pleasure. Trust me. They are all entertaining.
  1. Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and its Aftermath by Mimi Alford: Extremely naive (aka clueless) young Mimi sets off for a summer internship in the Kennedy White House press office. Shortly thereafter, she is seduced by JFK and begins a long and torrid affair. Unable to keep her secret any longer, she spills the beans after decades of mental and emotional unrest. 
  2. Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison by Piper Kerman: "Smithie" graduate Piper becomes involved with a drug-trafficking girlfriend. She gets busted for delivering cash in an international drug deal and is sentenced to 15 months in a federal women's correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut. 
  3. The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor by Mark Seal: German born Christian K. Gerhartsreiter travels to America and pretends to be “Clark Rockefeller.” Clark (and many other false identities) gives new meaning to the word “ballsy.” The blue bloods he dupes from coast to coast give new meaning to the word “gullible.”  After 12 years of fraudulent escapades, he is arrested for kidnapping his own daughter.
  4. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld: Coming of Age story about teen girl from South Bend, Indiana who wins a scholarship to a prestigious Massachusetts prep school. The rest is history. 
Sittenfeld will be speaking at the Decatur Library July 1 at 7:15 pm.

Just in case you were wondering, the novel Dr. Zhivago was the number one best seller in 1958.

So, what's on your summer reading list?

Photo images: 1, 23
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