top of page

Girls just wanna have fun.

By fun, I mean travel… without the kids. It means not worrying about anyone but ourselves for a couple of days. It means dinner wherever we want, whenever we want, and someone else is cooking it (and cleaning it up). It means sleeping in, hanging out in the pool, at the beach, or in the hot tub. It means there is no real schedule to keep (unless there’s a reservation). It means having a few drinks and dancing like no one’s watching. Sometimes it means simply sitting together and sharing stories, and fears, and life experiences just filling our souls with friendship and fellowship.

After my relationship fell apart in the spring, I had to cancel a trip to Italy in October that I was really looking forward to. I was sad and depressed and emotional and my friends really rallied around me to make sure I was ok. I knew I would be, but I gave myself the grace to wallow for a while. I really wanted to have something to look forward to, so during a phone call with my best friend Nicole, we decided a girls trip in October was a great way to replace that looming date with something fun and give us time to plan it. By us, I mean, Nicole. I was in no mental state to plan anything at the time, so she took over. Nicole travels a lot for work and for play, and we’ve been friends since 6th grade, so I fully trusted her decisions. She likes nice things, so I never have to worry about staying in a junky place to save a penny, or eating somewhere sketchy. So when it comes to plans with her, just tell me when and where and I’ll be there.

Destination: Destin/Ft. Walton, Florida. I had never been there and have been told by many that “you have to go, you’d love it there.” I have to say, the beach was absolutely beautiful and the sand was like walking on sugar ,flour in some places. It was so smooth and white and pretty. Do I love a good beach? Absolutely, but I’m not an avid beach goer. I much prefer to enjoy the beauty of the beach from the pool or the hot tub where I don’t get sand in my cracks. I am not one to sit in the sun and bake for hours on end. My pale skin and low tolerance for heavy heat just won’t allow it. I love water, and I will walk the beach and soak my legs. I’ll swim once in a while or wade in the water, just to say I did. But I prefer to stand where the water meets the sand and just look and take in the enormity of the ocean and the sky and thank God for that moment. Thank Him for the awareness that it is special to be able to do that and to remember just how small we are in the world and at the same time so important to Him and to those who love us. That’s why I love the beach.

There were seven of us ladies that met up for this weekend trip. Nicole’s boyfriend Lance, used his points to book us two rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn Ft. Walton. THANK YOU LANCE! We love you! Thanks to his generosity, we just had to get our flights down and pay for drinks and food. We are all so thankful for that. I only knew two of the seven ladies. Nicole, my best friend since childhood and Amber, my other best friend and previous college roommate. Yes- you can have more than one best friend. Funny coincidence, Nicole and Amber are both nurses. Isn’t that odd? I am a creative soul, but have managed to unknowingly surround myself with medical professionals. Not really relevant, but thought it was interesting. Maybe I’ll need to unpack that with my therapist lol.

Amber and I traveled the first leg of the flight together from Cleveland to Charlotte and then we were meeting Miss Linda for the final leg from Charlotte to Destin. Now. I have never met Linda before and I don’t remember even seeing a photo of her before, nor did I know her last name. I had no idea how we were going to find her in the airport, but we’d figure it out. We let Nicole know that we arrived at Charlotte and got to the gate, and she texted Linda at the same time. I started looking around and saw a woman sitting alone looking around as well. Our eyes met and she smiled, then I smiled and we knew- we found each other! Simple as that. We spent about 20 minutes chatting before we got called to board the flight. Nicole picked us up from the airport, because she drove over from Louisiana rather than flying and we headed to the hotel. We arrived too early for check in but it only took them 15 minutes or so to confirm that one of our two rooms was clean and ready to go. We put our things in room one and down to the hotel’s Tiki bar we went while we awaited the arrival of the other three. The DJ was playing all of the best songs from the late 90’s and early 00’s so we were singing, dancing, and sipping on drinks by the pool. Nicole made a run back to the airport to pick up Tammy and then the two of them joined us at the Tiki bar. About an hour later, Krystle and Alicia arrived by car since they were doing a multi-state road trip. We got to know each other a little while enjoying the sunshine and 83 degree breezy weather.

I can’t say that Tammy was a stranger, as soon as she walked in I remembered that I met her at dinner one time when she was in the Cleveland area for work. She works for the same company as Nicole. My daughter joined us too. Tammy is from Cincinnati and my daughter was planning on going to college there, so they talked about that briefly. Tammy is a beautiful soul and a beautiful woman. A successful nurse, a happily married woman, a mom, a personal trainer, an author, and the founder of a non-profit that honors her now deceased son. She is a woman who walks in her feminine power. I admire her and love her as a human being. She is also a woman of faith, and I believe people of faith are drawn together.

Linda I had never met, but she pulls you right in with her smile and her welcoming and kind heart. She spreads her happiness wherever she goes and she brings the party too. We pulled into crab island with music blaring while Miss Linda danced in the middle of the boat. She is loved upon arrival.

Krystle and Alicia were the quiet ones mostly. They had plenty to say when we were talking as a group, but when it came to going out, they were more like quiet observers like me. We hung back and laughed and enjoyed the fellowship of our group and anyone we came across throughout the weekend. We made friends in the hot tub and out on Crab Island as well. But at the end of the day, it was always back down to our happy little group of women. Krystle is in a division of real estate as well, and she and I will be talking more in the near future to hopefully create some good opportunities for her and I both. She and Alicia are both from Baltimore, so I likely won’t see them again until our next FYFA trip.

What is FYFA you ask? “Fix Your F#ucking Attitude” trip.. Yes, I will be making t-shirts for our next trip. Yes, we decided that our little group travels so well together that we will make this an annual trip! Next year… Vegas baby… Details to be determined and I’m sure I’ll write about that trip too.

Amber? You’ve already met Amber in my last blog. She and I were the ones that took the last trip together. College roommate remember? That’s Amber. She’s always fun and outgoing and loves meeting new people.

Nicole. She’s the OG. My ride or die. We’ve been best friends since we were 12 years old. We’ve seen marriages, divorces, births of my kids, Nicole’s unfortunate struggle with infertility. We’ve seen times of closeness and times when we spoke infrequently. Our love and friendship endures all of it. It’s true friendship at the deepest level, and I will always cherish her.

We made our way to the Beach Club, Al’s Beach Club to be exact- but got distracted by the seafood menu at Floyd’s which was in the same building and we had dinner. “The Beach Club” is a running joke I have with my family because in the 90’s (cough cough- yes I’m that old) we used to go to The Flats in Downtown Cleveland and dance our asses off. One of the most popular places in The Flats was called the “Beach Club.” It closed in 1993 but my sister and her husband still say, “We’re going to the Beach Club tonight, limo will pick you up at 8, be ready”. So of course, I got my sister a t-shirt from Al’s Beach Club in Florida. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel, sat outside around the firepit and sipped our drinks and just enjoyed the moment. After about an hour of the fire the eventful day took its toll and we headed to bed. Luckily, none of us are hardcore all night partiers. Personally, the travel day wears me out, apparently I was not alone.

Saturday is for sleeping in, isn’t it? Especially a Saturday on vacation. Some of our group just couldn’t do it. But I sure did. Then I went downstairs in my pj pants, grabbed a hot cup of coffee and plopped myself on the outdoor couch and soaked in the Florida morning. I’m pretty sure I was the only one in my pj pants, because the Hilton is a little “uppity” and everyone always looked so put together. I lost the ability to care what other people think of me years ago. I looked presentable enough for breakfast time at the hotel on vacation. I really prefer airbnb's because I can look like a hot freakin’ mess until I feel like making myself more presentable without any eyes of judgment while sipping on my coffee. Amber, Krystle, Alicia, and I got a table for the buffet and had our breakfast. We had a 1pm reservation at Desitny Water Adventures to rent a Pontoon and make our way over to Crab Island. Our group piled in the cars and hit the closest gift shop first to make sure everyone had what we needed for our day on the boat, well the gift shop then the liquor store and grocery store for snacks. You know what we didn’t bring, even though there were three nurses on our boat? A first aid kit, lol.

That first aid kit would’ve come in really handy throughout our day on the boat. It was windy and choppy. We got bounced around pretty good on our jaunt out to Crab Island. Once we arrived, we had to find a spot in the middle of 300 boats and drop anchor. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the sand in Destin is so soft and pure that it's like sugar. Dropping anchor in sugar is not that easy, let me tell you. I tried really hard. I actually jumped off the boat because the anchor would not set. I threw it out three times and each time, the dang thing let loose and the boat drifted. Remember I already told you that the wind was really strong- that was working against us the whole time. The third time, when I thought I got it, I tied up the slack of the line and then started to get back on the boat. Loose. Again… The other ladies are drinking and dancing to the music we had blaring, Nicole is at the wheel trying to keep up in our spot. I jump off again and grab the loose anchor, forgetting that I had just tied up the slack. I threw the anchor, but this time, since there’s not much slack, the anchor came right back to my hand and bruised two fingers and cut my forearm. So now, I’m bleeding from the arm and my hand is throbbing because I cannot successfully anchor this damn boat. I untie everything, throw it again to no avail and then start wading over to the closest boat which was a fishing boat with four men on it. Shoulders back, boobs out “Hi, can you please help us anchor our stupid boat? We cannot get the anchor to stay in place” (smile, boobs, smile), four men with drinks in hand start following me back to my boat and of course, just like going to a mechanic when your car makes a mysterious noise, the stupid anchor is holding strong in the sugar sand and making me look like a flirtatious liar that just wanted attention. I was so mad. And bruised. And bleeding. So far the pontoon was a pain in my ass. This is where the extroverts of our group took over and made friends with our boat neighbors while I climbed back up, tended to my wounds, poured myself a drink and ate a little snacky snack to get my attitude back in check so I could enjoy the rest of the day at the island. And that’s exactly what I did.

Only a couple of our ladies went and made friends with other boats, the rest of us stayed close to ours and just hung out together and laughed and enjoyed the windy but otherwise perfect weather. Luckily my blood did not attract any sharks, but believe me it was on my mind the whole time. I was watching for Jaws all day. What did manage to make a way to our boat were two “strays” with Tequila that got left by their friends and needed a ride back to their hotel, which happened to be only one driveway past ours. We got Tray and Justin back to land safely and shuffled them off to their own hotel while us ladies headed straight to our hot tub to warm up after being blasted by cold water and wind the whole way back to the boat rental dock.

My favorite part of any vacation is time in the hot tub. We met an entire family from Dallas and talked with them for a little while before they left for dinner. Some of our girls got out and ordered some food from the hotel restaurant, but I just soaked in the hot water and sipped on my moscow mule. After a little while I stumbled upon an awkward couple and just knew there had to be a story.. Sure enough, Logan and the Realtor, whose name I cannot remember, had never met in person before that day! They were talking via Tinder and text, but meeting at this hotel was their first in person interaction. I spoke to them both separately and the bullet points of their meeting were this. They both lived in Florida, about a half hour away from our hotel. The Realtor was interested in Logan, and I don’t blame her. He was gorgeous and really easy to talk to, intelligent, and personable. Great catch. She was average at best, and was drinking way too much too fast if you ask me, but she was definitely attracted to him so she was hoping one thing would lead to another. Eventually she got out and made her way to the restroom so Logan and I chatted for a bit, and when I mentioned that his date had been gone for quite a while, his response was “she’s not my date, oh no, did she say she was my date?” The Realtor came back a few short minutes after that and my food was ready, so my time in the hot tub was up and I never did get to find out what happened to them! I did not see either one of them the next morning at the hotel. I really wanna know if they hooked up or not. But here I am left wondering, just like you.

Once we all had full bellies and fresh showers, Tammy insisted that we all gather in one room and share our takeaways from the trip. At first, we were grumbly because some of us had already crawled into bed, but I’ll tell you what, that hour or so we spent sharing our takeaways was very powerful and probably the best part of the trip. Nicole did a great job of bringing together women of beautiful character and complementary personalities. We were all happily surprised that we got along so well, and even though we were a group of seven women, there was absolutely no cattiness or drama. Just “go with the flow” attitudes and a consensus to enjoy the girls only weekend. Most of our thoughts on the weekend were light and grateful. But Tammy and Linda both had legitimate fears of spending an entire weekend with a bunch of white women. When Tammy brought that up, it really floored me. She admitted to us that she almost didn’t come because we were white, because she was afraid. She was afraid that we wouldn’t have anything in common, or that racism would be an issue. Part of her was actually afraid that her life would be in danger. Hearing that made me so sad, and angry that the media creates such a racist narrative inciting fear like this, when it is absolutely meritless. Linda echoed the same concerns, but they both knew Nicole and they love her, so they decided that if we were all friends with her then that should eliminate much of the risk. I think the real lesson in that conversation is stop listening to the media and take the time to get to know people for who they are, not the color of their skin. It’s a lesson for us all. Tammy and Linda are incredible loving and beautiful women. I cherish the time I spent with them just as much as I cherish the time I spent with Nicole, Amber, Krystle, and Alicia. I loved the energy, love, and laughter that they added to our group. It would not have been the same without them. Once we all shared our thoughts, we decided that we travel so well together that we’ll make this an annual trip, but try different places each time. So we put destinations in a hat, and drew what city we’re heading to next year. Vegas Baby! As you can imagine we were buzzing with laughter and “Oh Boys” thinking about how much fun we would have together in Vegas. By then it was getting late and it was time to turn in for the night, so some of our group could catch their early flights the next morning.

Sunday morning I woke up alone in my room. Amber popped in a few short minutes later, but we were the last two. Everyone else headed out while I was sound asleep. First of all, I’m a light sleeper, but those women moved like ninjas I swear. I didn’t hear a peep out of anyone. So Amber and I had a cup of coffee and plopped ourselves into the Hot tub again. I was really hoping to see Logan or the Realtor again to get an ending to the story, but sadly, it didn't happen. Amber ventured down to the beach to gather a few shells to take home and say goodbye to the beach. We packed up, showered and headed to lunch before we had to make our way to the airport for our flights. It was 83 degrees and sunny with a slight breeze while we enjoyed Tacos at Rockin’ Tacos on the beach. Grabbed our luggage from the hotel and off we went in our Uber to the airport.

The flights home were uneventful except for the rude awakening that Autumn had descended upon Ohio while we were gone and the 49 degree temperature smacked us in our sunkissed faces as soon as we stepped out to grab the shuttle. It was cold, but it was home, and our girls trip came to an end. Until next time anyway.

May you be surrounded by love and comfort.

  • Lis


bottom of page