ThrowbackThursHdr

It is hard to believe that my girlfriends used to be jealous of my hair because I now think it is an ugly, hot mess. I used to proudly tell them, “It has just enough curl to give it body”. Well, as I’ve gotten older, my hair has gotten curlier. So you can imagine how much I love humidity in the summer time.

My hair with “great body” was perfect for 80’s hair. Can you believe I did not hot roll it or use a curling iron for the picture below? I use to could just blow dry it and place with hairspray. Those days are over!

Gina Good hair

This is what I like for it to look like today, but it rarely does.

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Here is what it looks like if I let it dry by itself. See the curls and frizz!

Hair Curls Hair Curls 2 Hair Curls 3***************

In the summer I want to let it go natural to give my hair a break from the blow dryer, but it never works out like I hope. A couple of years ago, I decided on a whim to wear it curly while at the beach. The problem was that it was beach picture night. On a romantic notion, I thought I will throw a flower in my curly hair and it will look great. WRONG!

Beach frizz Beach Frizz 2

Let’s just say that I will not be doing that again this year. For those of you hopping over from Kelly’s Korner blog, the only thing that keeps my hair somewhat manageable are these products:

Redken
paul_mitchell-shapoo

I am so excited about getting to go to the beach this year. We did not get to go last year. I was transitioning from corporate America where I had been a human resources manager to principal of my own human resources consulting firm. God has orchestrated all of this so I will have the flexibility to do more ministry work. Being a good steward, my husband decided that we should not spend the extra money on a vacation, and instead work around the house. So, I got a stay-cation last year. Just to clarify, when I say “vacation”, I mean a trip to the beach. Unless I see white sand and an ocean, I’ve not been on a vacation.

Our girls started inquiring about our vacation plans just a few days after Christmas. I did not join in on their questioning, but I was as eager to find out my husband’s thoughts as they were. As much as I long for the beach, praying for a vacation is something I just don’t do. I do not believe prayer should be used for matters that have no purpose or eternal value (click here to see why). BUT, I do believe in

“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 ESV

When I decided to not join in on begging my husband for vacation this year, I resolved to be satisfied with whatever my husband said. He said we should wait until May to decide; he wanted to see how well my consulting firm was doing by then. That made sense to me, so I was ready to wait. But, within just a few weeks we received a call from our nephew. He had proposed to his girlfriend over the Christmas holiday, and was now planning a wedding for late summer. As God would have it, she is from Fairhope, Alabama, which is one hour from our usual vacation spot. Yes, we are beach bound later this year! Thank you, Jesus! There have been countless times I have resolved to be God-honoring and content in a situation to only have God later bless me.

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If you are headed to the Perdido Key, Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, or Fort Morgan, AL area this year, let me bless you with some valuable information. Here is a list of our favorite restaurants and menu items.

5. Lambert’s Café, Foley, AL
This is a fun, southern cuisine hot spot. Not to mention, they throw rolls at you – yes, they do. It’s all good country cooking, so if you are from the south, it is like eating mama’s cooking.

4. Lulu’s at Homeport Marina, Gulf Shores, AL
This is the coolest place to go. Your kids will love it. This is the place to go chill. After all, Lulu’s belongs to Lucy Buffett, Jimmy’s sister. You will have to wait, but there are cooling spots so go casual, very casual.

Must Order: Appetizers – Nachos.

LuLu's

3. Original Oyster House, Gulf Shores, AL
This is my husband’s favorite place to eat seafood. The bad news is that you will have to wait for dinner, but the good news is that you can shop, shop, shop since it is attached to one of our favorite strips of small boutiques.

Must Order: Appetizers – Any of their “Delicious Baked Oysters”, Sampler and Oysters on the Half-Shell is going to satisfy your taste buds. Dinner – Captain’s Choice, Fried Shrimp, Stuffed Crabs, Baked Stuffed Shrimp, or the Shrimp Au Gratin. You must get their A+ salad bar, hush puppies and baked potato for your sides. Finish up with their Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pie!

2. King Neptune’s Seafood Restaurant, HWY 59S. Gulf Shores, AL
King Neptune’s is typically the first place we stop for seafood. It is a diner – the cleanest diner I’ve ever been in. If you love oysters on the half-shell, this is THE PLACE for the FRESHEST oysters you will ever eat! Did I say it was really clean, too! Be prepared – you will have to wait at dinner time.

Must order: Appetizers – Oysters on the Half-Shell and Fried Pickles. Lunch/Dinner – Fried Popcorn Shrimp, Golden Fried Flounder, Combination Seafood Platter and the Fried Chicken Tenders.

1. The Original Point, Innerarity Point, FL
This is just over the bridge into Florida, about a 20-minute drive from Orange Beach or a 50 minute drive from Fort Morgan, but worth the drive. Some friends of ours found this local’s favorite spot several years back and we have went every year since. You must go on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, which is when the bluegrass band, “Bubba & Them” are there. They will reluctantly play Rocky Top for the Tennessee fans, but they will do it – just make sure to tip them good. Here is my elder daughter singing along with them to Rocky Top:

Original Point

Be aware, just when you think you are driving into an old neighborhood, you will arrive at the square block building. The outside is not very attractive, the tables and chairs are crammed together, and it may even feel dark and dingy, but you will love it! Trust me.

Must order: Appetizer – Smoked Tuna Dip; Dinner – Fried Shrimp, 10 oz Rib-eye and the Blackened Grouper. Their baked potatoes are delicious. Another favorite are their Royal Reds. You must end it all with their Chocolate Volcano.

Honorable Mentions – Mikee’s, Gulf Shores (Yellow Fin Tuna); Old World Bakery & Pizza, Gulf Shores; Jake’s Grill, Orange Beach (Raw Oysters); and Gulf Island Grill, Gulf Shores (Crab Claws & sit on the porch).

Looking for the nicest, feel-safest, family/kid-friendliest place to stay?

Martinique logo

We’ve stayed in the condos with ocean views before at the Martinique, but we prefer to stay in one of their luxury beach homes. We used to always stay in the ocean front condos up and down Orange Beach, but after I started taking my little bitty grandsons with us, I did not like the large crowds.

beach babies

All the pictures below were taken by me in the June to July months. I am telling you this because I want you to take note that it is NOT crowded. The Martinique on the Gulf is a private, gated, beach & beach home area. It is off the beaten path, and we like it that way. Click here for more info.

The pool area is beautiful.

Martinique pool 2 Martinique PoolMartinique Pool 3

The beach is just a short walk away from the pool area.

Martinique beach

We highly recommend the “Alabama Sunrise” beach house. It is close to the pool area and beach. It also has kid stuff (high chairs, toys), so you don’t have to haul it all down there. Each beach home has a golf cart to putter around in.

Martinique AL Sunrise

I hope you have found this post helpful for happy hair and a happy vacation this year!

Blessings,
~Gina

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Author Gina Duke is a wife, mom and Director of Women’s Ministry at her local church. With a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, she is able to bring a clear word for authentic Christian living. Through her book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press), she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. If you would like to schedule Gina to speak on prayer or host a prayer journaling workshop, click here for more information. You may also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheGinaDuke.

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