5 Favorite Spots in the Florida Panhandle

I am definitely loving how my little life is shaping up down here in Vero Beach.  I love the convenience of having stores just a few minutes away.  Of being able to step out onto my patio and take a swim if I feel.  Of running over to the beach and having some drinks with the boy.  But there are some things that I do miss about North Florida, and they’re becoming more apparent as Summer slips into Fall.

Madison Blue Springs.  This state park was just a few minutes from our house, and we didn’t explore it nearly enough.  There was a reason though.  In the Fall and Winter it’s too chilly to go into the spring, and in the Spring and Summer, there are just too many people taking advantage of the coolness of a natural spring.  We just loved how blue the water is, and it was crazy actually being able to see the line in the Suwannee where it changes color.

Madison Blue Springs State Park in Madison County, Florida

Florida Caverns.  Did you know that there are a series of caverns under the state of Florida?  I sure did not.  This state park is the only one that hosts entries to the caverns, which are closed after heavy rains (due to flooding.)  We had only been living in Tallahassee a short time before we ventured over to Marianna to the Florida Caverns State Park.  Of course, this was before I had gotten my little State Park Passport that maps out all the state-run parks in Florida, which you get stamped when you go to a new one.  It’s also before I discovered Geocaching.  When we found out that we were moving, I wanted so very much to go back and check it out, realizing that the opportunity to do so would be limited afterward.  Well, life got in the way and we never made it over to the panhandle / Gulf coast / beaches again.  Which is sad, because they are truly my favorite.  We also learned from visiting the springs that other caverns can be explored via diving.

Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna, Florida

St. Joseph Peninsula.  The further west you go in Florida, the more gorgeous the beaches get.  One of my favorite, within driving distance for a day trip, was the beach at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park.  The time of year we went, which was spring (before Memorial Day), made for almost a deserted beach.  Which was crazy, because the water was so warm!  I also think that the general population strays from state-run beaches because of the rules, and the $2 or so entrance fee.

Storm coming in, St. Joseph Peninsula, Port St. Joe, Florida

Pensacola.  We didn’t get to explore Pensacola nearly enough.  It was a good 3 hours from when we were living in Tallahassee, and almost four when we moved outside of the city.  We did venture over there a couple times, and were met with pristine beaches, forts to explore, and (one time) a concert on Perdido Key.

Hotels in Pensacola, as seen from Perdido Key

“Winter”.  I know it’s beginning to change to fall.  My mother-in-law has posted some pictures of trees in Tennessee changing color.  Down here in Vero, it’s still (sometimes, oppressively) hot.  Up in Tallahassee, we had a fall, and even a mild winter.  We slept with the windows open, and got lots of hiking and outdoor projects done.  Right now, I can’t bare to be outside more than a few minutes without taking a dip in the pool immediately following.  I know- the problems I face!  Scott has warned me that it does get a little chilly at night, and there may be some days (or even weeks) that it wouldn’t be prudent to take a swim.  It’ll be interesting to see for sure!

Have you all been to the Florida panhandle?  Where’s your favorite spot and things to see?

Linking with Coffee with Caitlin / Bright on a Budget /Cup of Tea / Della DevotedSeptember Farm / The Farmer’s Wife, and Meet @ the Barre

How to Choose a Paint Color using Sherwin-Williams Color Visualizer

You know what?  I have a very vivid imagination, at least when it comes to writing, reading, and thinking up creepy scenarios in my head in which I get kidnapped.  But seeing in my mind’s eye how a paint color will actually look in a room, not so much.  Couple that with also being terrified of picking the wrong color for our currently purple guest room and not wanting to spend any more money on more paint, I decided to try my hand at Sherwin-Williams’ Paint Color Visualizer.  Remember, that the colors will not be exactly as they are on the computer, but it gives you a pretty good indication as to how a totally new color will look.

how to choose a paint color using Sherwin-Williams Color Visualizer

First, narrow your color choices down.  Keep in mind that there are millions of colors to pick from when it comes to paint color.  I actually had a color wheel available to me to use- I believe you can pick one up at your local Sherwin-Williams and return it when you’re done.  I used mine to match up to some colors used in the quilt on the bed.

Peruse Pinterest.  While I’m still narrowing down colors, I like to search pinterest for rooms that have used the same color paint(s) I’m looking at.  Sometimes just seeing a picture of it how I’m going to use it alone is enough to sway me not to use it on my walls.

Follow Rt 1 US 1’s board Guest Room on Pinterest.

Take high-quality pictures.  It’s so easy to grab the ol’ iPhone and snap a few pictures (in fact, I’m pretty sure this program may be an app.)  But the better the pictures, the easier it is to “paint” the walls.  Take pictures in natural light without a flash, using a tripod if you need.  Be sure to take a bunch, and at multiple angles.  Edit them as necessary and save to your computer- if they look dim, brighten them.   I don’t change their size until after I’ve painted/ resaved.  These are what I worked with.  You can see why a paint job is in the works!

Bright Violet Walls in Guest Room

Bright Violet Walls in Guest Room

Bright Violet Walls in Guest Room

Head over to Sherwin-Williams Color Visualizer.  Now would be a great time to mention that this is in no way a sponsored post.  I’ve just found this little program very easy and beneficial to use, and want to share it with ya’ll.  Follow the prompts to upload a picture and select whether it’s an interior or exterior shot.

Try not to play.  Well, you can.  But I’ve found this is the easiest way for me to get sidetracked / give up.  Color search by name of the paint or SW number (on your color wheel!)

“Paint” your walls.  Click and drag any color to the area you want painted.  An outline will appear showing you where exactly the paint will go.  It’ll take multiple clicks and drags to completely fill your wall.  You can use the paint brush or the surface tool to outline an area as well.  You probably don’t need it to be exact, but I’m neurotic, so the more en point for me, the better!  Once you paint it just right, it is very easy to change out the color.

Use two screens.  I know I said it above, that these colors won’t be exactly how they go on the wall.  However, if you can use two monitors to look at the “painted” pictures- or look at them at work and at home- it’s crazy to see just how much the colors change depending on your screen!  So definitely don’t go of just the program itself!

Test a patch of wall.  After you’ve narrowed down your choices, played with the color visualizer and think that you know what you want.  Go to Sherwin-Williams (or whatever brand you’re using) and get a sample. My quart sample was only $7.49, tax and all.  Which is way cheaper (and less time-consuming) than painting twice.  Since these amazing purple walls tend to throw the color “off” (I’m still not sure the moulding and doors are white, but a lighter lavender color), and I painted a piece of poster board and have been moving that from room to room during the days and nights, to see how the color looks.

Here is what I came up with!  PS- This is our guest room, dubbed the “Governor’s Suite!”  The furniture is from Ashley Homestore, and the tops of the nightstand and dresser are marble.

Which do ya’ll like the best?!

The giveaway for Melissa Rivers’ The Book of Joan is still going on through 9/2/15 at midnight!  Check out this post for my review and to enter!!

Linking with Home of Malones / East Coast Chic, Pennies into Pearls, & Hodges Podges