Thursday, April 30, 2009

Girls Beachin It

There is something to be said about being on vacation....with a group of girlfriends. That was what we discussed one evening over supper. Our long weekend together was just what we needed to renew and restore. It has been a tough year for our little group, I have shared some of it on my blog. Our group has weathered several deaths of loved ones (parents, a spouse and a sibling), the care of ailing parents, a wedding with the preparations for another in the fall, preparations of a child graduating, moves, business closings and openings....its been a rough road at times. But it has been a road that continues to bring us closer. And this girls trip, was a celebration of the road we have walked together. While it has had it's up and downs we know without fail none of us are alone in the walk. In this vacation, we come home better women. Better wives and mothers. As I mentioned, restored and renewed in spirit.

And what a vacation it was. And always is, filled with much my sides felt as if they would burst open, my cheeks hurt and hoped that I wouldn't wet myself. I don't even know where to begin. And I am quite certain that this one post will not suffice.

The clematis club members that went down included (L to R) High Mae, Happy Hour, BBJ, Diva, Leigh-la, Terminator, Cajun Cutie and the Boss :

We arrived around lunch time last Thursday at the Phoenix West in Orange Beach (room #1401, for those that might want to book). Our condo was amazing-it easily accommodated our group of what ended up being eight (two that had planned to go could not because of unforeseen circumstances). Our unit was a four bedroom, four and a half bath. It also had two leather sofas (pull out).

After claiming our rooms and bunk mates, it was off to the pool and the beach.
Not only was there a pool but there was also a lazy river with a huge waterslide, both of which we took advantage of.
Do you know the old Jimmy Buffet song, "Growing Older but not Up?", well that was our moto for the weekend. May you stay forever young! Though we celebrated the fortieth birthday of our friend "Terminator/T", we were adamant about never losing that childlike appreciation of the world around it water slides....or tossing mullets.

Yes, you heard me right! The Mullet Toss was taking place the very weekend that we chose to go down. We all agree before our trips, this is a weekend where everyone does what they want, no pressure. So it was Diva, Happy Hour and our newly inducted club member, Cajun Cutie, that found themselves at the Flora Bama dancing and watching mullets fly. What is a Mullet toss you ask? It's not what one adult child of othe group thought-a contest of who had a better Mullett hairstyle, goodness no!! Though at the Flora Bama, I am sure you could've found some of those throwback (and frankly wrong hairstyle)....a mullet toss is the long distance throwing contest of a mullet, which is a fish native to the area. Mullets are known to jump out of the water and "fly" but this version takes on a whole new meaning. Prizes are awarded to those that toss the furthest. My friend Diva told me that one said mullet was a sixty two pounder! WOW!

While Mullets were being tossed just down the road, my friend High Mae, T and I took on the waterslide. There are some great photos, but I have been threatened with my life if I post them. Let me say, they are some good pictures. They say pictures are worth a thousand words.....and these certainly are!

It seems we weren't the only group away for a girls weekend. We met a several other groups of women at our condo that were also doing the same thing. In fact the condo was mostly women. We all bonded over drinks as we floated down the lazy river. But their was one group in particular that we gelled with, and that was the Connecuh County Trail Blazers. They didn't call themselves that, but that was what they were. Especially considering the matriarch of the group, Thelma, which is her real name. Thelma, was a beautiful, highly free spirited woman of seventy two. When I think of the song, French Kissing Life by Kenny Chesney, I think of Thelma. Thelma didn't mince words. I am quite convinced she is who that cartoon character, Maxine, was based on. Thelma gave her opinion on everything from sex and cheating husbands (Her husband was not a very smart man...) to good friends, favorite dance moves and religion. She was a mess to say the least.

She approached our group on day one and asked if she could come and sit with us because we had a better song selection on the Ipod than her group. One by one, her group members trickled over and became "our group". You know its a good time when an impromptu line dance begins pool side. Thelma was determined to learn the electric slide ....she wanted to learn so she could test it out on the dance floor at the Flora Bama. LOL! Oh, and just for the record Thelma and her friends hit the waterslide too.

Food. Umm, hmm. You know I have to mention the food. Calories do not count on girls trips. That is very clear. A girls trip is all about enjoyment, relaxation, and no worries.
Night one for supper we had our local Homeplate Cooking fix up a pan of Spinach Manacotti with some cheese garlic biscuits to accompany the meal. The Manacotti is like nothing I have ever had. Kay, the chef and business owner of Homeplate Cooking knows how to cook and cook "right".

Night two we ate at one of our favorites, Desoto's Seafood. Desoto's features some really fresh seafood at great prices. Cajun Cutie ordered a plate of Royal Reds and Crabclaws and deemed them to be "delicious!". Although, the cracking and eating of the crabclaws caught the attention of a table of older men sitting close by, Cajun Cutie quickly became a sideshow act.

After dinner at Desoto's, we headed to Lulu's for a toast to Mama Joy and her husband, Mr. Larry. Mama Joy was unable to go with us on our beach trip, but she sent $$ for a round of drinks on her.
Mama Joy, if you are reading this, know you were greatly missed. Thanks for the drink!
So, we properly toasted and enjoyed the band, "Homemade Wine".

Who, btw, should you ever be in town when Homemade Wine is playing I recommend you check them out. They are a great cover band, covering classics's such as Jimmy Buffett's Volcano to Tom Petty's "Free Falling"...which got the entire restaurant singing with excitement at a high decibel. Homemade Wine is from Nashville, Tennessee and can be found at dive bars and juke joints across the south. Vocalist and Guitarist, Matt was kind enough to snap some pictures of our group before we insisted that he needed to be IN the photo.

Lulu's website had this to say about the band, "Homemade Wine has been a long time in the making. It's the culmination of two brother's passion for the beach, it's music, and all that the "beachlife" incorporates. Singer/Guitar player Ryan Sheley knew from the first time he heard "A Pirate Looks at 40" when he was 4 years old that making music and paying homage to his heroes was going to be a major calling in his life. Thank God for him, but his brother, Tod Sheley, was already doing so playing Latin Percussion for Trop-Rock favorites, St. Somewhere. It's in these early days that the brothers formed a musical bond that lasts until today. In early 2008 guitarist Matt McSpadden was added to the line-up to further diversify the sound. Matt brings more to the table than just his boyish good looks. He's a fine guitar player and a mighty fine singer, as well. It's this power trio that hopes to re-define the passion that lies within acoustic music. So, with summer looming, Bar-b-que's being fired up, and cold beer to be drank, we would like to introduce to you...the Parrothead East Tennessee's own connection to the tropics, Homemade Wine."

On Saturday night, we stayed in for the celebration of T's 40th birthday. BBJ cooked up her very own Shrimp and Grits.
Shrimp was bought and steamed fresh. BBJ sells the kit for shrimp and grits at her store, set to open this week in Old Town Helena, The Monkey Basket. I can personally say that the food was amazingly delicious! The sauce that is cooked with the shrimp has a Cajun zest to it, spicy yet not overwhelmingly hot.
Afterwards we celebrated with an Ashley Macs Strawberry Cake.

For lunches and breakfast we brought down mostly homemade "chic food" and feasted off it daily:

Leigh's Summertime Gazpacho Soup, Leigh's Super Salsa, Brushetta and Toast, Diva's Pasta Salad, BBJ's sweet potato muffins and cheese balls made into deli tortilla rolls (all products found at BBJ's store, the Monkey Basket), fresh fruit and fruit dip, Zoe's Kitchen Homemade Pimento Cheese, Cajun Cuties Spinach Dip as well as her Saucy BBQ'd meatballs and her Sausage Dip. We didn't go hungry, that was for sure.

Craft night was held on Saturday, On craft day we made the chalkboard plates and Monogrammed Galvanized Buckets (Vinyl Initials can be ordered at a great cost from Bama Belle. Thanks "Belle" the letters turned out wonderful!!).
We had a wonderful trip! There is still so much to talk about, but that will have to wait for a future post!
For now I would like to thank the following businesses who sponsored our girls getaway this year with the following products:

Velvetta Cheese Safe Box, Chip Clip, Coupons (Perfect for storing those products you use everyday)
Palmolive Dish Washing Liquid by Palmolive (Cuts grease with ease!)
Dominoes Pizza (Be sure and check out the new Pasta Bread Bowls by Dominoes. Delicious pasta served in a bread bowl you'll devour!)
Ritz Crackers- Have you tried the new baked cracker? Perfect for dips!
The Monkey Basket- Gift Baskets, specialty foods and gifts
And these businesses, because we love them! Check 'em out!:
Ashley Macs (order Leigh's favorite, "Strawberry Cake", the only cake "endorsed" here at Bloggeritaville)
Zoes Kitchen

For this year's girls trip parting gifts were given to each and every member as a keepsake or our time together:
A Clematis Flowering Vine by Sweetness (LOVE!! Every Clematis Club Member needs one for her mailbox!)

Monogrammed Drinking Cups & Straws by DIVA

Handmade Picture Frames By Leigh
Handmade Sand Frames By High Mae
Homemade Raisin Bread and Stuffed Cheese Bread by Terminator
**Thanks to The Boss for the gift of Fresh Gulf Shrimp to the three husbands who baby sat at home! It was very well received and enjoyed!
I am truly blessed to have such wonderful women in my life. Each one of them is special to me in their own way. But it is our group, that is truly unique. Someone once said this, "You all should thank God everyday to have the friendship and bond you all share. It is so hard to find a group of ladies where everyone is there own "person" and no one judges each other for their differences in oppinion, likes or dislikes, ect.. I was dumbfounded to be honest at the humility you all have for one another." I praise God each day for the gift of friendship from these women.
We had a fantastic time together, although it was just to short! Time flies when you are having fun!I am left with some wonderful memories of our trip together and look forward to our next girls get together.


jennyhope said...

u really had people sponsor your trip? That is really cool if you did!

linda said...

I cannot tell you how jealous I am of your girl trip and your great group of friends. It seems like one by one my friends have moved away and I miss them daily. I know you do already, but treasure your girlfriends, they are a blessing.

So glad you had a great time!

imjacobsmom said...

What a cool trip! It looks like everyone had the best time! ~ Robyn

Leigh of Bloggeritaville said...

Hey Jenny!
How are you sweet thang? Yes! It was so funny! I mentioned going on a trip a couple times and I got received some interest from some businesses who wanted us to test their products by sharing them with us (Dominoes, Palmolive, Velveeta, Baked Ritz Crackers). I was happy to do it. I enjoy finding new products that I can love and use. The Palmolive in particular is a new earth friendly formula. I liked it alot.

Hi Linda!! You are right, there is nothing like GOOD girlfriends. I am part of a very special group. We are all so very different, but we all appreciate those diffferences in one another. We have a tremedeous respect for one another and a devotion. I am truly blessed. I wish you lived close to me Linda, we would adopt you too!

tricki_nicki said...

Ok, that's IT! I know you guys are a little tight-knit group of friends and all, but I MUST be invited to your next trip. For reals. You guys need another dark brunette at your party.

Kirby3131 said...

I think your girlfriend trip is fabulous. I would like to comment on each section of your story, but it would be an entire blog post. Suffice it to say - You and your friends are truly blessed to have each other.

But you knew that :) which makes it even better -- to know the blessing in front of you.

Keetha said...

Oh my - - - there are so many things to notice and ooooo and ahhhhhh over in these photos. That place where you stayed - - - - WOW. What a fun trip. I want some of that food.

Cynthia said...

The trip looks just like a blast! Your pics are great and perfect music to go with it. Cindy

Kelly said...

Wow! That sounded like fun. You are indeed blessed. Thanks for sharing all the pictures.

KBeau said...

Sounds like a great trip. Cute pictures.

Carrie said...

What a fun trip. The pictures are great!!

jennifer said...

Wonderful! There was a lot of love and joy and laughter and friendship JUST in this post. I can't begin to imagine how much more of it there was on your long weekend. Keep each other close (but I know I don't have to tell you that).

I look forward to reading the post about your girls' weekend NEXT year too :)

Mari said...

What a fun vacation! I think it's great you could go with your friends. The condo is gorgeous!

LauraBeth said...

I'm so glad you gals had a good time! Sounds like the trip was a riot, and I love how you wrote about it - I feel like I was there. Glad to have you back!

nancygrayce said...

Oh, wow! You know how to have a good time! 2 of my loooonnnnng time friends and I will be vacationing in Destin for a few days the middle of May (oh, I mean this month!) I'm pretty sure we won't have as much fun as you girls did! :)

Anonymous said...

"LOVE"!!!!!!!!!!! ~High Mae :)


I want to meet the Clematis Club...they sound like my kind of girls. Loved the trip journal. My trip is mid June...can't wait. I now have something to do differently.... I am so glad you are back...lord I missed you.

Carole said...

It sounds like you guys had a really fun trip - I'm so jealous!

People don't realize how badly our work-a-holic society is hurting us. We do need fun and good friends in our lives - absolutley!

TROLL Y2K said...

Wow, sounds like a real no-holds-barred fun vacation. Suprised y'all didn't kidnap Matt the guitar guy!

Really cool having "sponsors".

There will be a THROWDOWN CULINARY CHALLENGE announced at the Troll Report on Tuesday. You and your readers might want to compete.

Susan in the Psych Ward said...

I'm so glad you had a wonderful trip! I missed you!!!

Becky said...

What a wonderful trip. You girls have memories for a lifetime. We didn't get to Gulf Shores this week. We will be leaving next Saturday for a week of fun and sun.

Jenny G said...

Looks like a perfect trip!!!

xinex said...

What a fun week, Leigh! It reminds me of my get together with 7 of my college classmates. We meet ever year, just us women and we always have a blast. Thanks for sharing....Christine

Joyce said...

Such a fun trip and good food and nice place. You listed the unit and the town but what state is it in? Florida perhaps? I miss all my friends in the NE so I go up for a day in Feb or March and we do a day in Philly (on my post). There is nothing like good friends for fun.

Chandy said...

Wow, Leigh, what a great vacation you had with the girls! Love all of the things you all did. Great pictures! I bet your album or USB is full!

Hugs, Chandy!

Betty Jo said...

Leigh this was such fun to read. What a wonderful time you gals shared. The photos are awesome. Thanks for your prayers Sweetheart. Yes, I can feel them. Without the prayers of family and friends I couldn't have made it this far. Sorry I've been MIA. Carolyn and I have been working nonstop on the shop and it's already paying off. Staying busy is good therapy! ♥

Lynn said...

Looks like So much fun! I want to be friends with y'all too!

ps Love the Blogeritaville name!

Anonymous said...

Wow, it looks like y'all had an awesome time!! LOVE it down there!

Swampgirl said...

What a great trip! My family has spent many vacations at different Phoenix condos- but never the Phoenix West- it look great! And Lulu's! I now have Orange Beach fever!!! Have you ever eaten at the Gulf Shores Steamer? It's another of our "must-do" places down there!!

"J" said...

What a wonderful trip!!!!!!
Yall are all so lucky to have such a WONDERFUl group of girls to hang with!!!! Some people don't understand the importance of friendship - yall do!!!!!!!! It's also so wonderful that yall have such GREAT families to let you have this weekend away!!!!!

I lvoe the condo yall stayed in - wow-wee!!! WONDERFUL!!!!!

We are getting ready to go stay at a beach house -

I can't wait!
My BFF's mom rented it for their family - Shad and I are busting in - well, at least I am - cause I'm like family! HE HE HE Shad thinks he might need to stay home that weekend and get the house ready - we are getting his little girl the following weekend for the summer!!!!! =) YIPPEE!!!! I'm for real - a step-mom!!! Crazy - huh??? =)

Well, I'm so glad you are back! I'm glad you had such a FUN WONDERFUL trip!!!!!

I love how you got the whole trip in one blog post!!!!

You worked HARD at that!!!!

Meg Young said...

I am so jealous and happy for you at the same time!!! Wow...I can only hope to have an all girl's trip like this soon!!! We have been talking about one for a while now, and something ALWAYS seems to come up! You have truly inspired me!!!

SILVER said...

this is such a fantastic post!

i m so jealous!! These ladies are having so much fun!!!!!!!

SILVER said...

this is such a fantastic post!

i m so jealous!! These ladies are having so much fun!!!!!!!

justabeachkat said...

Hi Girlfriend!

I'm finally back from my blog vacation and having fun catching up with everyone. I've enjoyed all your posts I've missed, especially this one. Girl, I want to be a part of your group. Pretty please! You girls know how to have fun.


Christy P. said...

Loved reading about all the fun you guys had! I have just one question...who got to sleep in the same room with "Diva" and did that particular person get any sleep at all?? LOL!