Small Pleasures: July 2017 Edition

DSC_4373 July was filled to the brim with good things: rest and relaxation, fun celebrations, lush summer landscapes, and local farm stands overflowing with deliciousness.  The downside of all this goodness is it’s been a struggle to edit my Small Pleasures list into something manageable.  So, after much deliberation, here are my top five (plus a bonus) little happinesses of the month.  Enjoy!

July’s Small  Pleasures 

  1. Swimming in the ocean.  From the first time my dad walked me into the breaking waves at Tower Road beach in Dewey, Delaware, I’ve nurtured an undying love for the ocean.  I love it when it’s gentle, perfect for floating on my back with my eyes closed, losing myself in the gentle rocking. I love it, too, when it’s rough and churning with waves that boss me around and deliver tenfold on the promise of boisterous body surfing and boogie boarding.  I even love how refreshed I feel when I mosey back to my beach chair, my skin tingling from the brisk salty water.  I don’t live very close to the ocean so I’m thankful for the time I was able to spend in it during my trip to the Outer Banks at the beginning of July.
  2. Orange Creamsicle smoothies.  In Corolla, North Carolina, there is a little café  that serves up the best remedy for a hot day.  Their Orange Creamsicle smoothie tastes exactly like the namesake popsicle and I indulged almost every day of my vacation.  Yum!
  3. A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman (audiobook narrated by George Newbern).  The story of Ove, a crotchety older guy with a hidden heart of gold, is a delight as an audiobook.  Through George Newbern’s narration, I grew to love Ove and the people who inhabited his world and I looked forward to washing the dishes or taking my walks just so I could spend more time with the whole bunch.  Listening to this book was a very satisfying experience and my thoughts frequently wander back to Ove and his “family”.
  4. Peaches.  Peaches are in season around here and they are delicious.  We’ve been enjoying the sweet, juicy fruit by the basketful and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
  5. Walking at sunset.  July has been a sizzler so Jay and I have started walking later in the evening to get away from the worst of the heat.  The sunsets have been spectacular lately and the stillness of dusk has been soothing and restorative.  It’s become a restful way to close the day.
  6. The Bonus Pick.  This video by Mark Broussard and his daughters.  Evie just cracks me up…

I hope your height-of-summer has been as delightful as mine.  Now it’s time to wave good-bye to July and embrace the mellow last days of the season.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree

I apologize.  I have been MIA for weeks now.  Out of the blue, life got a little crazy right in the middle of my summer and fun things were sacrificed to the Tyrant of Busyness.  To get back on the blogging wagon, I thought I’d participate in The Daily Post‘s Photo Challenge for this week which is “carefree”.

care•free  adj1. without anxiety or worry   2.  My four-year old niece, as she plays in the surf on the beach in Corolla (Outer Banks, North Carolina)




The essence of life is not in the great victories or grand failures, but in the simple joys.

Jonathan Lookwood Huie

Please check other great interpretations of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree at the Daily Post.

A Brief Respite at the Beach

My parents have a very nice fifth wheel camper that they drag all over the countryside, obeying the wanderlust gene that runs rampant in my family.  Last week, they parked themselves, their camper, and their cairn terrier Roxanne at a western-themed campground called Frontiertown that is approximately six miles from Ocean City, Maryland.  This, in and of itself is not surprising; they are always running off someplace fun with their camper and their pup.  The surprising (and most fun) part of this particular outing is that they invited just my sister, Kelly, and me to join them for a few days.  No brother, no husbands, no kids.  No responsibilities…..

Who would say no??

Even though I was only able to join the party for two days, we stuffed the time with fun.  I was spoiled by my parents.  I slept in a bunk bed.  I watched Dancing with the Stars (for the first time in my life) and witnessed Kelly Pickler become champion for the season.  I ate delicious food.  I laughed really hard.  I saw beautiful things.  I felt the sun on my face and the wind in my hair.  I hung out with my sister.  I shopped a tiny bit.  I propped my feet up and just relaxed.  I spent time with the people I knew and loved first and who knew me and loved me first.  I missed my own little family.  And, I took pictures.

It was a wonderful 48 hours.


{ Roxanne, a.k.a Roxie }

Frontiertown has many things to recommend it which I will not elaborate on here.  There are two things, however, that struck me as especially noteworthy.  First, the bath houses were spotlessly clean and air-conditioned.  As someone who tents when she camps, I recognize this as a real luxury at a campground at the beach in the summer and I was duly impressed.  Second, at the back of Frontiertown is a quiet, marshy landscape that opens to a bay.  We took Roxie for walks there each day and it was unexpectedly lovely…




Kelly and I spent a perfect afternoon on the beach at the end of the boardwalk.  I don’t even think I read anything.  I just sat there soaking up the rays and drinking in the scenery.








We celebrated Mom’s birthday at The Hobbit, my favorite restaurant in Ocean City (and not just because of the name).  The back of the place is a wall of glass and the view of the bay alone would probably make the meal worthwhile.  Thankfully, I’ll never have to decide if that’s true because the food is delicious.  After dinner, we strolled the boardwalk, ate frozen custard, and froze a little bit ourselves.  The temperature was chilly despite the fact that summer is just around the corner.  There were no crowds and a very laid-back vibe was going on – definitely my kind of evening.  After Memorial Day, the pace will pick up considerably.







{ The leggy pine trees that sheltered our camper }

We spent my last morning touring Assateague Island National Seashore, a barrier island of scrubby trees, marshes, and windswept beaches.  It is also home to two herds of wild horses; we were lucky enough to see several bands of the Maryland herd.  The beach is undeveloped and wild.  This early in the season it was empty except for some fisherman and a few brave souls trying out the icy water or camping on the beach.  It was such a glorious day – I could have stayed on the beach for hours…


{ Scoping out the horses }






{ Kelly, trying to get that elusive horse shot }








I ended my brief sojourn in Maryland by meandering the narrow streets in Berlin.  The “downtown” area of this new-to-me village is filled with antique and vintage shops and one of a kind specialty boutiques.  Forty-seven of the town’s buildings are listed in the National Register of Historic Places – even the banks call gorgeous old brick buildings home.  Berlin was a very picturesque place to wile away the last few hours of my mini vacation.





{ An elderly gentleman waiting patiently for his friend }





Thanks Mom, Dad, and Kelly for a great little escape!