Lazy Days and a Link Party Announcement

Thank you SO much for leaving such kind and caring comments on my last post. That stuff is so tough, and my heart goes out to those who are dealing with, or have dealt with, the loss of a furbaby. I swear I can still hear Bean walking from room to room sometimes, but somebody told me that’s normal. ???

And I was surprised how many safe TV watchers there are out there! I think we should start a club…and I think I should design a t-shirt…or a tote bag, or something.

In rocker boy news, Kev finally made it back home safe and sound! His tour was a success, and he said he’s ready to get back to fixin’ up this fixer again real soon.

I actually surprised him with a quick getaway to the Gulf this week. I thought it would be a nice way for him to unwind and I really needed to get out of the house. I tend to become a bit of a hermit when he’s gone for long periods of time and he’s been cooped up in a van with a buncha’ band boys for the past couple of months, so we were both feeling pretty antsy to go somewhere a little more….wide open…

(Pensacola Beach, Florida)

It’s a three hour drive from our house to Pensacola Beach. I booked the cheapest room I could find, because when you’re looking at the sand, the sea and your sweetie, who cares what the room looks like, right?

Well, apparently an angel at the Holiday Inn Express cared what our room looked like this week, because she called me a few hours before we checked in and told me she was going to upgrade us to one of the penthouse suite’s at no additional charge. I could not believe it! I wanted to tell Kev, but I decided to keep it a secret until we got there. He was so surprised when we got up to the ginormous room and he saw floor-to-ceiling glass, and nothin’ but ocean!

The suite had a nice big living room, a bedroom of equal size, a kitchen, and 2-1/2 baths- one of which had a whirlpool tub that was as big as both of our bath tubs put together!

The private rooftop deck was my favorite part though. It was physically impossible for me to stop smiling on that thing…

And after a hard couple of months missing Kev, and then mourning the loss of Mr. Bean, I gotta tell ya, that was just what this old gal needed.

Because our room was on the west end of the hotel, (and near the end of the beach) we had a view of both the Gulf and the bay that surrounded us…

The sun sets below the bay, over there on the right, and it was such a treat to watch it slide beneath the horizon line each night while we were there.

The water was still a bit too cold to wade in, so we did a bunch of wave-watching instead…

And, of course, we couldn’t resist doing this once before we left too…

It was a refreshing little trip, and we still can’t believe we got to stay in that room!


In bloggy news, we’re excited to announce that we’re going to team up with our pals Rhoda, Sarah and Kate for another link party series in May.

We had a ball throwing the Holiday Home link parties, so we thought we’d try it again and put a Spring/Summer spin on things this time!

The festivities will kick off on Tuesday, May 17th with Sarah’s spray paint project link party. Then on Thursday, May 19th, Kate will host an outdoor ideas link party. On Tuesday, May 24th, Rhoda’s going to host a Summer recipe link party, and on Thursday, May 26th, I’m going to blog about our Summer mantel and host a Spring/Summer mantel link party.
I had fun putting this one together last Summer…

…and I can’t wait to play around with another one this year.

Hope you can make it to the Home May’d parties and that you’re having a awesome April!


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  1. says

    So glad your hubby is home and y’all got to enjoy some time together in such a beautiful place! That room upgrade looks amazing– how lucky you were! And I love those b&w’s of y’all…. I see them being displayed beautifully in your bedroom one day! :)

    P.S. When we put my dog down my senior year of HS, I was in South Padre when we made the decision, and I was SOOOO upset and crying that someone called the cops on me because they thought I had been injured or kidnapped or something crazy. Then again, I was in the stairwell of a hotel sitting on the floor. That’s what happens to only children who lose their childhood pets. My heart goes out to you and over time, your pain will ease. It’s never easy losing a pet!

  2. says

    Awesome! Love the jumping on the bed pic! I enjoy doing that myself on my own bed! My hubby was born in Pensacola, I would love to visit there someday… Happy life to you! Vanessa

  3. says

    Wow!! The penthouse looked amazing!! How cool that you got a free upgrade! That’s awesome! Your pictures are just beautiful too!! Excited for the upcoming linky parties!!

  4. says

    I am so jealous! It looks so beautiful there, and the room upgrade? Awesome! Must have been amazing getting to spend some time together away from home! Looking forward to the Linky Parties!

  5. Cindy says

    Hi Layla and Kevin: I am happy that the two of you had a get away…and yes, the upgrades, when not expected, are the best! If any two people deserved it, it would be the two of you! Have a wonderful Easter weekend, Cindy

  6. Lucy says

    That sounds like the best weekend! We decided to come to the beach for Easter! No upgrades on rooms, but we are here and that’s all we care about! Can’t wait for the May linky parties….I’m going to try and get in on some of those!!

  7. says

    I’m so jealous! I could REALLY use a vacation right about now and that place looks magical. The pictures are gorgeous. One question…how did ya get the shots of the two of you together?

  8. Sandra says

    What a nice gift from the hotel angel – you two appear to have needed the get away. I love the photo of you guys jumping on the bed!

    So sorry about your Mr. Bean :(

  9. says

    Your Pictures are gorgeous Layla! I’m so glad you and your sweetie had a nice time away! So sorry about the loss of you dear cat!

  10. geri says

    So thrilled you and k
    Kev got to get away.
    Even though fixingup, designing and creating an amazing home, and doing your blog
    we are all so very addicted too
    is the “passion that pushes your swing”.
    Getting away and hanging with your best friend, makes the memories and glue for
    a long happy life together.
    Happy Drive home.

  11. Elisabeth says

    Nothing like having your mate back with you! Sounds like an amazing trip! Pensacola was always me beach choice when we lived in Mobile, AL. Miss it now that we’re back in TX! :o( So glad you guys are finding comfort in each other.

  12. Annie says

    What a nice way for you to reconnect with each other. Very special. Hope that you both get rejuvanated and back in the swing. Your room looked awesome, wow lucky you. Have a blessed Easter and time with your hubby.

  13. says

    They can’t let celebs like you stay in their cheapest room! :) It looks like you had a wonderful time. I can almost feel the breeze in the picture of you on your tippy toes on the roof deck. Glad you got to unwind and have some quality time together.

  14. says

    Seriously one of my favorite places to stay! I love Pensacola beach and I love the HIE!! Say hi to the giant beach ball water tower fir me! Gosh I miss that place!

  15. says

    Um, how cool! We used to live in Pensacola and while I wasn’t the biggest fan of the city itself, I LOVED living near the beach. I used to go swimming every day after work. It was glorious. I thought I would love DC, but it turns out I kinda just wish I had a beach – weather is just the same in the summer, but I’ve got asphalt instead of sand. Bummer.

  16. Cass says

    I’m so glad the Hubs is home safe and that you two spent some quality down time together. What a beautiful view too! Have a wonderful Easter.

  17. says

    That room is amazing! What a great place for a little R&R! You just gotta make a “Safe TV Watchers Club” t-shirt! Ya gotta! :)

  18. says

    What a wonderful way to relax, refresh and restore one’s spirit. So glad you were treated to the free upgrade and time alone together to just BE.
    Looking forward to the Home May’d Link Parties — always so much inspiration and creativity.

    Your Friend,

  19. kelly says

    JEALOUS to the max of your beach getaway – but the two of you truly deserved it. Linky party looks sooooo good – can’t wait! Love the clever name. You 4 make a great team! Now if I could just get on starting my blog I could party with you all… but I know I will love reading/seeing everyone else’s until then.

  20. says

    So glad to hear that you and Kevin had a chance to spend quality time at the beach! I haven’t been to the panhandle in more than a decade and your photos reminded me of how gorgeous those white-sand beaches are. When my grandfather was still alive, he lived in Enterprise, AL, and had a condo just outside of Panama City Beach (in a nice quiet part called Sunnyside) that we’d visit in the summer. Good times! Looking forward to the link parties…:)

  21. says

    these pictures literally brought tears to my eyes. cheese ball, i know, but i’m from good ol’ Pesacola Beach and headed there today to see my family and get some much needed beach time. so glad you enjoyed your stay! there is literally noting that toes in the sand can’t heal :)

  22. Kit says

    YOU AND KEVIN DESERVED that upgrade! When those things happen, we have to “feel the gratitude” and do something nice for someone else. I love surprises like that….and it’s so easy to pay it forward when you’re feeling the Grace. When you’re being true to yourself, loving each other, and being good to this world…..good things will come your way. I love your work and am inspired every time I see what you’ve done. I know you live nearby. I’m just trying to figure out where……I’m at the lake (Lake Martin) today. Peace to you.

  23. says

    Wow, looks like you had a fantastic time on your vaca! That room was fab. Love to visit your blog. It is full of really useful information. I am a new follower of yours. Please visit my blog, and be a follower of mine. I have a great post on the rock group Queen- updated with violins! Check it out. Have a great weekend. -Al

  24. says

    Glad you had a relaxing getaway!
    I visited Pensacola Beach a few times in college and have fond memories of that place.
    Actually was there for a hurricane (I think it was Erin in ’95 or ’96).

  25. says

    What an amazing weekend! It always warms your heart when unexpected good things like that happen. Always because Someone greater is looking out for us and knows when we need an extra dose of love. Hope you are both refreshed & relaxed!

  26. Sonia says

    Layla, this is the first blog I have received form you and you really got my attention. I had to go and read the blog from last week to find out about mr. Bean and saw that you also have a little Chi. I have two and love, love, love them. I have lost a two dogs and 4 cats in my lifetime and YES it is normal to hear them and still feel their presence long after they are gone.
    I want to thank you for sharing your fear of staying by yourself at night and also for sharing about the scary movie trailers. I am 46 and have been a single mom to two teenage girls. I do not like to stay by myself at night and do not go to scary movies; I do not like to see scary movie trailers. I alsways make sure I fall asleep while watching HGTV but I didn’t think to watch Disney.


  27. Donna says

    I have followed your blog for so long now….I’m a Lettered Groupie! We are dealing with our cat aging and I feel I am starting to travel the path you have been on. Your blog about Mr. Bean really touched me and helped me to understand that I’m not alone.
    I live in Pensacola so I was THRILLED to see how much you enjoyed your stay. Isn’t that water the most beautiful thing? So wonderful to see how much you enjoyed our city!
    Happy Easter!

  28. says

    What a lovely get away that must have been! I am so happy you have your Kevin back! That must be so hard! I would be a mess without my hubby for 2 months! Heck 2 days! LOL! Anyhow I would also like to say sorry for the loss of your furbaby, I was very sad for you and was choked up!
    On a lighter note!! I cannot wait for the MAY linky party! I have some things I want to contribute!
    Be well and much love,

  29. Linda says

    I think Mr. Bean may have had more to do with your getaway than you know. Thanks for sharing your pictures. The ocean is always healing to the soul.

  30. says

    So glad you got out and away with Kevin. That was what the doc would have ordered! Those have been the best times my hubby and I’ve had – our little get-aways from “life”:) I have been in your shoes having lost the “fur love of my life” and without my hubby there – he’d been gone for several months as well (we were trying to sell a house and move) and I had to make the decision all on my own. It’s gut wrenching and takes time to heal, but it will get better. I thought of you this morning and prayed for you. You’re in my prayers – and I can pray with GREAT empathy on this subject. O.k. enough. Just know you’re thought of by those who haven’t even met you:)

    Can’t wait for the linky parties!

  31. says

    I’m only in the middle of reading your post, but I just had to comment about that beach trip! Ahhhh…. is it OK if I live vicariously through your photos? :) I haven’t seen the ocean in about 15 years. That room and rooftop deck is AMAZING! What a wonderful getaway and time together. Happy for you!!

  32. Kim in MD says

    Layla- you and Kevin are adorable! I am so glad that you got to spend time together in such a beautiful place after being apart (and losing Mr. Bean). You so deserved it, and that gorgeous suite! I admire your ability to not tell Kevin until you got there! :-)

  33. says

    What a wonderful way to reconnect with your soul mate and your best friend. The ocean has a way of renewing the spirit and heals the heart as nothing else can. So happy for the two of you!!

  34. says

    Wowie wow wow! That is a super room. So glad you got away for a little while. A perfect choice! I giggled out loud over the jumping on the bed. Ya’ll are so cute.

    SUPER excited about the linky parties in May! I am going to learn so much! thanks!

  35. says

    OH MY GOSH!! It is a sign.. and I believe in signs.. well, I do now, anyway…I just posted how I can’t decorate at all and needed some help on ideas for my almost two-year old boy for his new big boy room… I asked for some tips, suggestions… I love pottery barn kids shark/nautical room.. but didn’t know if it was too mature for a toddler… then I got bored at work and found my way over to the Pioneer Woman to catch up on some reading and saw you guys on her other links page.. and you guys specialize in nautical decorating it seems!! If you ever need a charity case to promote nautical toddler rooms, please, please, use me! :) 3 hours of P’Cola Beach.. can’t be too far from me..
    anyway, even if you guys never read my comment and someone else does on here that knows a thing or two about decorating, please contact me, I’m helpless… and maybe if I throw out that I’m a poor social worker I”ll gain some sympathy?? ha-ha… I”ll do anything to get some decorating advice, tips, and not ashamed to beg… Thanks for any tips suggestions in advance!!!

    here is my post I literally just blogged about not even an hour ago before finding you…

    Boy toddler room decor ideas…

  36. says

    You gave me the best idea! I am taking my baby (OK…soon to be Senior in High School) to visit the University of West Florida in the fall and I am totally choosing this hotel! After an 8 hour drive from Naples, it will be nice to be on the beach :)

  37. says

    I am so glad that you had this nice surprise when you went away. I just love your blog, your ideas, and wish I had some of that creative ability when it comes to decorating. However, learning lots from you!! Continued success!

  38. says

    I am SO glad that your man is home and that you guys got away and were blessed with that upgrade!!!!

    The pictures of you two on the beach are keepers…hopefully, they’re framed somewhere for you to enjoy this summer.

    Reunions after time away from one another are SO GOOD. :)))

    Can’t wait to join some of your linky parties with your friends!

  39. chris says

    makes me feel good that you received an upgrade and got to feed your well deserved soul. good people receiving good things. quite a concept for life huh?

  40. kathy h says

    So happy you two got to get away together! How lucky you were to get that room. I’ve never known a hotel to call and offer an upgrade! Usually I have to beg and they make me feel like the poor scoundrel that I am! :-)

    Hey, if you get a minute, could you give me the color of that blue painted on your adorable starfish wood-flag? I’ve been searching for a blue like that and boy, not easy.

    Thanks dahling.

  41. says

    How wonderful!! It looks totally amazing.

    It is normal that you still hear Bean everywhere. It takes a long time to get used to them not being around. I lost my cat three and a half month ago, and there are still some moments when I turn around and expect him to be there only to realize he is not. Losing a beloved pet like that it is terrible, but unfortunately not all people understand how much a pet can mean. Take your time.

  42. Beth says

    Looks like God knew you needed a special treat after your tough couple of months! What a sweet little love letter from Him!

    I am completely addicted to your blog btw!!!!

  43. says

    For whatever reason I missed the previous post. SO sorry for your loss. :o( I lost my childhood dog my sophomore year of college. I was so heartbroken– my boyfriend drove me home so our family could be together. My prayers are with you. Mr. Bean suffers no more. :o)

    I’m glad your and your love got a beautiful beach break!

  44. Rachel Carey says

    Way to go on the upgrade!!!! We went to europe with a group of friends a few years back. We let two folks cut in front of us and they were chosen to sit in first class….man did that sting, lol!!!!

    You’ll mourn Mr. Bean, then your heart will heal a bit and you’ll find yourself yearining for another furr baby. Sigh, pets just make our lives more special.

    Glad your fella is home and enjoyed your weekend!

  45. Benita Fox says

    I live in Pensacola and we have gone out and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express….we did not have a suite but even the regular rooms are great and they have the most comfortable beds! I hope you enjoyed your visit.


  46. Heather Adams says

    I’m from Pensacola Beach! :) So glad you guys enjoyed your little vacation. Hope you went to Peg Leg Pete’s, or Flounders for some good food too.

  47. says

    Can’t wait for the link party. And I’m so glad that you two got to relax. What a beautiful hotel! The beach always soothes my soul (:

  48. says

    My kids and I just spent the week after Easter at the Mayo Clinic. We had several appointments over the week, but had two days with NOTHING to do. On one of those days, we drove to the Wisconsin Dells. They had upgraded us to a suite too. Wonderful. Restful… so much fun! A perfect break from doctors, pokes and getting lost in the subway that connects all the building in downtown Rochester.

  49. says

    I’ve added the Home May’d badge to my blog post. I hope that is OK?? If not just let me know and I’ll just use a link!!

    BTW you two look so great up there!!!

    OH and I had a blast joining all the Holiday Home parties!!! :)

  50. says

    We live in Pensacola and love that new hotel!! :) And the beach has been PERFECT lately!! We went out last weekend! It’s such a blessing to live to close to our beautiful beaches!! :)

  51. Maryjane from Manitoba says

    Oh my gosh! Layla & Kevin I just stumbled on this post (not sure this thing will let me leave a comment, now that it’s 2014 but I’m going to try!). I like to randomly look through your old posts some days, and I came across this one.

    What a gift!!!!! (to stumble across it I mean)

    I LOVE the photos of you and Kevin on the beach! Oh my gosh! I hope one day I can take photos like that! They are GORGEOUS! I hope you frame them and have them hanging in your home somewhere. How lovely! And how loving!

    Without wanting to sound creepy, I’m almost inspired to hang them in my home as inspiration! You guys are so eye catching. I believe it’s because your beauty (both of you) starts on the inside. I am in complete awe and oozing gratitude for this moment.

    I also totally love the bed jumping moment!!!! That’s awesome!! You guys are wonderful. I’m SO honoured that you shared that with all of us (me later than everyone else but hey!) :) You two are so inspiring.

    I hope you are STILL having that much fun. Perhaps you two need another little get away to refresh yourselves, given your challenging delays with Sweet P’s adoption. Maybe you need to go jump on a bed and sit on the shore again.

    So much fondness coming your way!
    from Manitoba, Canada.

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