Husband and friend of ours drove down to Tampa Bay, FL for a week of sun and visiting friends the week of July 4th.  The drive was the longest road trip I have been on.  Husband drove to FL and CO a few times - I think - in his youth.  Surprisingly, and because we took so long to look at plane tickets + splitting the gas three ways, driving was cheaper than flying.

Anyway, we left Friday afternoon around 4, stopped just outside of Charleston for the night and got in on Saturday around 8:30.  The drive was not as bad as I had expected it to be.  Luckily, we all like each other.

I wanted to share some of my photos with you that I took while I was down there.  I did not bring my nice camera with me at all since most days were spent on the beach and I did not want to get sand in the ole girl.  That would just be horrible.  Luckily, the trusty iPhone takes wonderful photos and I love me some iPhoneography.

I was the first to drive (I like to be the first so I can get it over with).  And this is what I drove through.  If anyone was in the PA/WV area the last Friday of June and remember an awful storm that left some areas without power for a few days this is what it looked like from the highway.  We even had a hard time finding a gas station with power as our gas tank was getting uncomfortable close to E.  

But, luckily we made it Flo-rida in one piece.  And SO HAPPY!

One of my favorite things about the south is Krystal.  For you northerners, it is similar to but - in my opinion - not as tasty as White Castle.  I have not had Krystal for I am pretty sure like 10 years but it was everything I imaged it would be.  Gross I know.    

Tampa as we drove to the city

Our first Florida sunset of the trip

Of course there was no time to rest when we got in.  So I quickly showered while the boys drank some beers and headed to a bar in SoHo, aka South Howard, for drinks and a few games of darts.  The next morning was not pleasant for any of us.  

First, and hungover, day at the beach in Clearwater.  Boys are walking back from playing frisbee while I read and took photos.  

My view.  Bliss. 

Palms trees make us happy. 

View of Tampa from Bayshore Drive from our morning run/walk.  I am not sure if you will believe this but it was actually hotter in PA than in FL while we were there.  

July 4th pool toes.  

On the 4th we headed to my good friend's from Birmingham, AL apartment complex to cool off in the pool, cook-out, drink and hide in the shade.  

I love the 4th.  Like a lot.  Fireworks and sparklers make me happy.  Unfortunately we were unable to see a good display of fireworks (we chose drinking over going somewhere to watch them) so I settled for lighting sparklers on the front porch of my friends apartment.  I love how they smell.  Remind me of childhood, picnics and family.  

This is the kind of ocean I grew up going to visit.  The kind where you cannot tell where the ocean ends and the sky begins with sand so white and fine.  As much as I have enjoyed my many vacations to the Atlantic I was spoiled at a very early age.  

And yes, I did cave and read Fifty Shades.  And yes, it is porn.  I finished my book club book early on in the trip and spotted this on the Target shelf for 20% off so I did it.  And I am glad I got it - instead of my first choice of Game of Thrones - because it was such an easy and thoughtless read and perfect for a beach vacation.

I have been trying to avoid the sun the last 2 summers which has resulted in my vampire like white skin so needless to say I got burnt my first day on the beach.  I spent the rest of the trip under this trusty umbrella protecting my skin from anymore damage.  

Gulf Shores toes

Seashells by the seashore.

One of the reasons we chose to visit the week of the 4th was to also celebrate our 2nd anniversary.  We got married on July 3rd in a beautiful wedding ceremony at Springwood Manor on a gorgeous - but hot - Pittsburgh summer day.  While this was not taken on our anniversary but our last day at the beach I wanted to share it anyway.  Isn't he cute? 
The Hulk 

Saying good-bye to the beach.  

Last day sunset.  Isn't it gorgeous?  It is really hard not to believe in something when you see something like this.  

Walk on the beach back to the car:(

As disappointed as I am I did not break out my good camera I am still pretty impressed with the photos I got with the phone.  I am still amazed at how well phones take photos now.  

What did your 4th of July look like?


If your a fan of the the first sunset photo head over to my Society6 page to purchase a new iPhone case with that picture on it or some of my other work.  Society6 has become my new place to spend hours and hours of browsing awesome art.

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