Category Archives: beach

Seasonal Changes

Pop quiz.

Where’s home to the one of the most successful franchises in baseball and soon two Zalewskis and a Finnegan Murphy?

Hint for Cubs fans: they have 11 World Championships so Chicago is out.

Site of the 1904 World’s Fair.

The first American city to host the Olympics.

Hometown to Jackie Joyner Kersey, Maya Angelou and perhaps most importantly, hip-hop artist and new country breakout, Nelly.

Batter up. The Zalewskis are taking our talents to St. Louis this fall.

IMG_9700

But why on earth would you leave Sarasota, home to the best beaches in the country, year-long sunshine, arts, culture and the most laid-back dress code you’ll ever encounter?

View this post on Instagram

Decent Wednesday evening.

A post shared by Sarah Zalewski (@slmurphy) on

A. Because we really miss gray winters and snow

B. Because alligators, fire ants and Trump supporters

C. Because we just love everything that goes into packing boxes and moving across the country

D. Because we were offered an earlier-than-expected opportunity to finally put down roots in a community we love, closer to friends and family and just in time to enjoy the best season the midwest puts on each year (insert all the I love fall hashtags here).

fall colors, springfield illinois, simply social blog

If you answered “D” (with a sprinkle of “B”) you’re correct.

And while we are sad to leave Sarasota and everything never having to wear coats and closed-toes shoes has to offer, we know this is the right move for our family in the long run.

bears football, chicago, greater swiss mountain dog, halloween, Chicago Bears, Florida

Besides, since the Rams left town we won’t have to worry about standing in our driveway doing the SuperBowl Shuffle every Sunday.

You may be asking what our only sits under the AC vent, lover of the beach but not the water, greater swiss MOUNTAIN dog may be thinking about heading back to the midwest?

image

Well, he loves car rides and cooler temps so we can only imagine he’ll love it as much as we think he will.  
image

There’s at least one family member who will be pumped for a snow again after 3 years of 80-degree Decembers.

So that’s that. A little life update for you. My apologies for only using the blog for the occasional recipe and huge life change announcement.

You can rest assured that as soon as I come to grips with the fact that we just moved into a new house 4 months ago and have to do it again in less than 5 weeks, I’ll be back with more of the good stuff.

Until then we’ll be soaking up all of the sunsets and August humidity we can before heading back “home” this fall.

Sarasota, lido beach, florida, beach, sunset, lido key

Matters of the heart

They say time flies when you’re having fun.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.

And they also say you should probably create your wedding video prior to the eve of your first anniversary.

Well I say two out of three ain’t bad.

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since our wedding day. On the one hand it feels like just yesterday we were finalizing details and using all the big-ticket grandparent prayers we could for what turned out to be a beautifully sunny and warm spring day. On the other hand it seems like so much has happened over the past 365 days:

View this post on Instagram

Dinner and a view. 🌅

A post shared by Sarah Zalewski (@slmurphy) on

  • We enjoyed some romantic meals and date nights
  • And we had a lot of visitors

So since I’m sure my husband is already celebrating our anniversary across the world right now in Goa, India (barring another record heat-induced power outage), I thought I’d share my better late than never look back on the day that I was blessed with the opportunity to walk through life holding this guy’s hand.
zalewski_video

Sarah + Matt

(photos courtesy of the oh-so-talented Wright Photographs)

Cookies and Catch Up

Great news, guys. The Murphalewski Bed and Breakfast just wrapped four straight weeks of out-of-town guests. That means 7 midwesterners are entering the winter season a little bronzer than usual and many local restaurant staffers here in Sarasota are actually starting to think I have friends. It’s a win-win!

Now you may be asking if I’m glad the four-week rush is over. Truth is, I loved having our friends and family stay with us. Each visit came with a reminder of how blessed we are to have friends and family that love us enough to leave crappy weather behind and sit on the beach all day. We realize our location may benefit us this time of year but regardless, we appreciate the time and effort (and flight delays) spent coming to visit.

So what have I been doing with all my free time since the last houseguest left on Sunday? Baking cookies of course.

IMG_5485

It seems like the only thing I have to show for the last 4 weeks, aside from the slightly increased body fat percentage, are pictures of cookies long ago eaten by co-workers.

It’s not like me to leave you hanging over a holiday weekend without some sort of ode to a sweet treat on the blog, but I’ve been sidetracked. You see, I’ve been trying to come to grips with the fact that our entire shopping district has been lit up like Rockafeller Center on Christmas Eve since October 24th. I’ve been wrecking my brain trying to figure out in what world this is acceptable but then I remembered a saying my dad always says this time of year.

You know, this might be the last nice day we have to put the Christmas lights up so we better get to it. 

Wait. I’m sorry. He usually waits until an ice storm is in the vicinity around December 20th to say that. And they still live in Illinois so…

So in spite of the extremely prematurely lit palm trees and unseasonably hot temperatures, I thought I’d share a few photos from the last four weeks to catch you up.

image

image

image

but how about that sweet lady in the background?

image imageimageimageimage

image

image

IMG_5484sugar cookies, royal icing, baking, breakfast at tiffany's cookies, bridal shower, dessert, tiffany blue sugar cookiesIMG_5482sugar cookies, royal icing, baking, breakfast at tiffany's cookies, bridal shower, dessert, tiffany blue sugar cookiesAnd now you know what my photostream looks like. I’ve got two weeks until Thanksgiving and our next visitors so if you need me I’ll be either running or napping in preparation. Happy Friday!

 

Super Spring Break

If you couldn’t tell from my overgramming last week, my nephews (and my sister) came to visit us to celebrate their spring break. Unfortunately I spent most of the week at work, but I’m grateful for the afternoons and evenings I spent brushing up on my toilet humor, identifying fire ant hills and avoiding getting jinxed.

Days were spent punching water spouts at the splash park and evenings cheating at mini golf. We even managed a second attempt at the beach since the first time was ‘too boring.’

IMG_9908

On Thursday, we celebrated Jake’s 5th birthday the only way Jake prefers to celebrate, with superhero masks and store-bought cookie cake.

IMG_4663IMG_4664IMG_4669IMG_4670IMG_4671Friday we had a picnic at the beach and then spent the afternoon drop-kicking waves to cap off the trip. And is it just me or did we do so right next to a Nana lookalike? IMG_9943

IMG_9942

 

We miss them already but we’re soaking up the quiet and resting up the busy months ahead.

The votes are in

And apparently you like my random musings. According to my content poll, many of you prefer random musings and the method in which I determine my blog content (which is basically whatever pops into my head) so I’m just going to do as you say and keep on keepin on. Feel free to comment below if you have a content suggestion as I am still accepting write-in votes.

Sometimes I like to dig into the analytics behind the blog to see how people are finding me. Yeah, sure there are probably hundreds of robots trolling for keywords across the interwebs but I like to believe that it took a real person to find the blog via a search for ‘mermaids santa and snowman on siesta key’ or ‘christmas goblins eating santa’s cookies.’ In fact I’d really like to meet said person. The mermaid one not the Christmas goblin of course.

So if you get nutty over web analytics like I do then you might be interested in knowing that 2,000 or so of you really liked searching for ‘winter ONEderland’ parties in January. Thanks snow! And Pinterest! The cute baby probably helps them once they get to the page too. Thanks Trista! And Paul!

Some handful of you were in search of a ‘blue layered Frozen cake.’ No Frozen branding intended while making this cake but I bet Elsa wouldn’t have let a slice of this go. I know I didn’t and I can thank a few extra miles for getting back on track after that celebration.

And let’s not forget about the lone soldier who apparently needed a few good ‘Smuckers Willard Scott photos.’ Because really, who doesn’t need a good Willard Scott photo?

So let’s make a deal. I’ll continue to provide you random musings like this post as well as a few more wedding rants (I’m looking at you registry) and the occasional photo dump (coming soon) and recipe post (maybe after the wedding), if you promise to continue to provide me with keyword searches like ‘indy 500 tutus’ and ‘dimples in 62 year old butt’ that somehow lead you to my blog.

Because what is a blog if not to give people what they’re searching for?

BONUS: Here is a collage of photos of my mom and Finn being besties at the dog beach yesterday.

greater swiss mountain dog, beach, florida, venice, vacation, dog beach, swissy, finn,

Sand Art

Before I begin this post I’d like to issue a disclaimer for my readers to the north.

Disclaimer: this post references 80-degree weather in November but is in no way intended to be a gloat, brag or the like. I braved enough winters in the Midwest to be empathetic during this time. Please accept my apologies for the unseasonably cold spike. Should you consider a trip to visit because of the following photos, I will not deter you. Seriously though. Come see us!

Do you remember when you were little and you would convince your mom, dad or aunt who happened to live in California to spend ridiculous amounts of money on colored sand art you would take home and display proudly next to the rock collection on your shelf?

I do.

And perhaps that’s the reason I took more than 20 photos this weekend of sand. But not just any sand. Sand art sand. The kind of sand art that takes 3 full days and a wee bit of elmer’s glue to complete. Don’t believe me? Check this out.

siesta key crystal classic, sand sculptures, sand castles, siesta key beach, crystal classic, florida, vacation, siesta key crystal classic, sand sculptures, sand castles, siesta key beach, crystal classic, florida, vacation, selfie, gorillasiesta key crystal classic, sand sculptures, sand castles, siesta key beach, crystal classic, florida, vacation, IMG_8332 IMG_8334 IMG_8335 siesta key crystal classic, sand sculptures, sand castles, siesta key beach, crystal classic, florida, vacation, selfie, igloo siesta key crystal classic, sand sculptures, sand castles, siesta key beach, crystal classic, florida, vacation, selfie, gorilla siesta key crystal classic, sand sculptures, sand castles, siesta key beach, crystal classic, florida, vacation, selfie, gorilla siesta key crystal classic, sand sculptures, sand castles, siesta key beach, crystal classic, florida, vacation, margaritaville siesta key crystal classic, sand sculptures, sand castles, siesta key beach, crystal classic, florida, vacation, margaritaville siesta key crystal classic, sand sculptures, sand castles, siesta key beach, crystal classic, florida, vacation, margaritaville siesta key crystal classic, sand sculptures, sand castles, siesta key beach, crystal classic, florida, vacation, margaritaville siesta key crystal classic, sand sculptures, sand castles, siesta key beach, crystal classic, florida, vacation, margaritaville siesta key crystal classic, sand sculptures, sand castles, siesta key beach, crystal classic, florida, vacation, margaritaville siesta key crystal classic, sand sculptures, sand castles, siesta key beach, crystal classic, florida, vacation, margaritaville siesta key crystal classic, sand sculptures, sand castles, siesta key beach, crystal classic, florida, vacation, margaritaville siesta key crystal classic, sand sculptures, sand castles, siesta key beach, crystal classic, florida, vacation, mermaid siesta key crystal classic, sand sculptures, sand castles, siesta key beach, crystal classic, florida, vacation, margaritaville

 

Sand not your thing? Well if you come visit me I will treat you to a bag of the best mini donuts you’ve ever tasted. Sorry Illinois State Fair. Siesta Key mini donuts have just taken the lead for best donuts to be eaten in full sun while counting how many people you see without their shirts on.

siesta key crystal classic, sand sculptures, sand castles, siesta key beach, crystal classic, florida, vacation, margaritaville

 

Stay warm, Midwest!