Merry Christmas from Destin!





Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!! Just a brief recap from our house to yours of the past few weeks.

I love the Holidays so here are a few of my favorite moments…






















Seriously Talented Designer!!!

No I am not tooting my own horn, but on the heals of my last post, this is fitting.  I seriously LOVE real estate! I know I know, but it is true.  It is actually fun for me.  If I could just go look at houses all day I would be a happy camper, but this woman amazes me.  Seriously, I have to give kudos where kudos are due and AnnMarie James, owner of Silver Real Estate is a local real estate agent here in Destin.  A few years ago I met AnnMarie and was witness to a remodel she had done that some clients of mine fell in love with.  Well in my opinion the remodel she did was pretty spectacular so I started kind of watching her work.  I was working on my own remodel and although I wasn’t reselling my own, she was so kind and helpful.  I happened to have a client with property in this same area, so because I was watching this area for activity, this particular property caught my eye.  I can walk into a home and know that AnnMarie touch by its clean uncluttered, open and classic feel.  It is always different and unique, but I always feel like I am at some spa destination.  It is easier for me to show you in pictures so with AnnMarie’s permission, take a look at these before and after pictures of a gorgeous redo in Crystal Beach.


Ok here is the exterior – before…


Here is the amazing AFTER…

Does not even look like the same house – can you say curb appeal???

Now here are a few more before pictures ~ I attempted to match them up, but I have to be honest here, it was difficult for me to even do that.  This is the front entryway…before…


Here is the front entry way, AFTER!!!

Another view…before

and after…

The dining area before…

and ~ AFTER! Let there be light!!!


The kitchen before…


Again, after!

Same house! This needs to be in some Better Homes and gardens magazine, seriously!  I think I mentioned my background in Interior Design, but you can not teach this, this is a skill, and to have this vision is spectacular.  I point this out because one I am absolutely impressed and she is my competition, so I am not making this stuff up – but also to point out how very important this is.

I don’t even have ALL the pictures up, but again, here is the master, before…


And after…

Lastly, the pool area before…

and AFTER!

Now, do not get me wrong, AnnMarie, put a LOT of work into this house, but in a matter of a few months, she successfully flipped this house for a profit.  I can not tell you how much because I have no way of knowing the exact numbers, but I can tell you it was on the market for 7 months before it sold the first time and sold for almost 25% less than the original listing price and when AnnMarie sold it – it was on the market for less than 2 weeks and the difference between the listing price and selling price was less than 3% and so that alone speaks volumes.

Staging IS important!!

I can not emphasize enough just how VERY important this is.  From smells to clutter to wallpaper, to clutter… if you are selling your house or condo take heed!!!  Less is more and at the risk of sounding oh so repetitive, a few simple steps will make a big difference.  The market is obviously heating up so take advantage and step it up.  First and MOST important, declutter.  We all know what this means, you have to do it, bare minimum, make those closets pretty.  Storage is at a minimum in Florida, so show it off because we all have stuff and we all need to know we have a place to put our stuff.  If your stuff is filling up a place that we could store our stuff for some silly reason, we can not phathom our stuff in that place.  Rent a storage unit if you are particularly attached to your stuff.  You can rent a climate controlled unit here locally for under $100.00 a month and they will even provide a free moving truck.  It is that important – get it ready and stage it properly before you put it on the market.  I am not telling you, you will make a lot more money, but I am telling you if you do these things, you will sell it faster and more than likely get fair market value.  If your house is not staged properly, you will likely not get fair market value.

All personal pictures – they are lovely, but take them down.  I do not care how great they are, you want your new buyers to put themselves in your house as owners, not as guests.  If your pictures are up – some potential buyers can not do this.  I have been in properties that are staged so well, they still have a few frames around the house, but they are the stock photos in the frame – perfect!

Silk plants, for the most part, store them, they are dust catchers and a lot of people simply do not like them.

Towels – please please please do not leave wet towels out, throw them in the dryer or somewhere else. Get rid of old towels, clean white fluffy towels please.

Wallpaper – I know you may have had that border up forever, and it is easy to take down, so just do it,  take it down and while you are at it, paint is cheap, a fresh neutral coat – not a bad idea.  I have a few neutral colors I LOVE and some fun beachy colors if you’re interested!!!

0-6-1 0-7-1 e39686afafd0f6371cb33d2275ef5672-1 These are a few of my FAVORITE things!!!

Things to do in Destin when it rains…

Things to do in Destin when it rains… and a few things to do when it’s just a little rain…

Update May 2014

IMG_44581. Go bowling. – Hurricane Lanes  (As of May 2014 – sadly Tucker Dukes is no longer inside the bowling alley, but they still do exist – yay – go to McGuires Irish Pub for an awesome burger in Destin – across the street from The Emerald Grande) and we are getting a new bowling  center  at the Destin Commons in a month or two – part of Bass Pro!!!
2. There’s always Barnes and Noble – read a book, have coffee and some num nums… Books a million…3. Fat Daddy’s – it’s painful for me to write this because I am not an arcade fan, but my kids are and I love that it makes them happy AND the pizza is actually really really good. remember the Destin location is the only one with the arcade.4. Destin Commons – only of its just drizzle because full blown out rain is not conducive to outdoor shopping. There’s a great playground with restaurants and there is a Starbucks as well as a gorgeous movie theater – oh and of course Bass Pro is there. Lots to do there.

5. Okaloosa Island has the boardwalk and the Gulfarium which is worth seeing really. It’s not the biggest aquarium, but my kids dig it.

6. Harborwalk at Emerald Grand – lots of little shops along the harbor and great places to eat, an arcade, and a laser vault A little touristy, but hey, when in Rome… UPDATE  They now have a zipline and when it is NOT raining this as well as paddle boards, jet ski’s, fishing trips and dolphin cruises and the awesome Pirate Ship as well as many events along the water like fireworks and art shows!!! Emerald Grande Events

7. Baytownewharf! I dig it – again, it’s outside, but if it’s not pouring, it works Great food, little shops, zip lines, rock climbing, arcades, mini golf range (for kids), obstacle course, laser guns, ice cream, coffee and music.

8. Serenity by the Sea – inside the Hilton at Sandestin for a day at the SPA or the Emerald Grande has an awesome Spa!!!  Love both – Emerald Grande has a better view, the Hilton has a hot tub, very nice!

9. Pedicures!!! Manicures!!! A great way to spend the day – boys included –

10. Grand Boulevard – more shopping, food and soon to be movies!!! UPDATE definitely movies and a movie theater!!! Grand Boulevard

11. Silversands outlets – food and shopping of course!

12. Sunstations (next door to fat daddy’s) has black light mini golf and laser tag.

13. Geocaching – there are a bunch around here and the kids love it – with a bit of our help It’s like a grown up treasure hunt. Try

14.  Ice Cream!!!  We have the Marble Slab, a new Dairy Queen, Brusters, Shakes, Kilwins, Dippin Dots, Yogurt Mountain, U Twirl, Deep South Sno Treats – I am sure I am missing some – let me know!

15. Bounce Party Playzone in Mary Esther – just over the bridge – fun fun fun!!! rain or shine!

16. Destin Library – worth a visit!

17. It’s a quick visit, but it’s what Destin is all about The Destin Fishing Museum!

18. The Track!

19. Big Kahunas! Now if it is raining a lot with lightening this is an obvious no go – but otherwise – the kids LOVE it!!!

20. 2 words. RED BOX

Ok – so I have to update – it is obviously raining again –

Happy Mothers Day!!!

Egret 2 014My wonderful family took me deep sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and I can assure you – no oil here, but beautiful dolphins and A LOT of fish.  It was chilly as we went out so I was really glad we grabbed jackets at the very last moment. We went out on the Sea Winder and it was amazing!

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It was EARLY – my wonderful husband had me us at 5:00 a.m. and it was completely worth it! (& I never say that)

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Boat 1

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The first catch of the day and it was mine and everyone went right back into the water :  )

I did catch a snapper a little later and a shark got on my line and I was pretty sure I was stuck on the bottom – it felt like I was trying to bring in an elephant.

Needless to say that snapper did not fair as well…

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Look at this gorgeous coastline behind them and the equally gorgeous water.

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Morgan spent the majority of her time chasing the bait fish.

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My beautiful girls covered in fish goo…  they LOVED it!
We ran by Sexton’s (a local seafood market – I could not find a website for them or I would have linked them) and we got a few shrimp to go home and we made ceviche for dinner, yum!
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This sign kinda made me a little sad – everyone is worried, but the forecast right now is positive for us, so I am staying positive and enjoying every moment…and shrimp…and snapper…
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Life as we know it!









I got up to get the girls ready for school and again headed to the beach.  This seems to be a recurring theme for me these days.  Living here I have always noted we take this for granted a little.  We appreciate it, we certainly depend on it, but we are families, we work, we have children, they have activities so while we love the water, we can’t go to the beach everyday, but now I am taking a little time everyday to do just that and I am going to take pictures and share them with you everyday too.  I get a little snap happy, but I want you to see life as we know it…

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7 oil 050710 These are protected areas for birds mainly, but the sea turtles also nest here.  It is a very delicate Ecosystem.  The locals take this very seriously and if they see you messing with it, they will call you out.

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