Pontoon Paddle Boarding with Motorboatin’ 30a

June 26, 2015

SUP. We're not just saying "hi," SUP actually stands for Stand Up Paddle Boards/Boarding. Who knew? Just add the acronym to the list of things we learned on our Wednesday pontoon and paddle boarding adventure with Motorboatin' 30a. If you didn't see the post where we introduced the company you can take a look at it here. If we could have spent the whole day with Michaelanne and Matt we would have - they are just that laid back, fun, and easy - but we settled for a few hours with them on the boat and some pontoon paddle boarding around Lake Powell.

 

So, the two of us are not the most athletic birds around. Sally had tried paddle boarding once but it was in the ocean and as soon as she saw a stingray under her board she sat down and rode the waves in, which was fine because she couldn’t balance well anyway. Molly had never tried paddle boarding, mostly because she’s terrified of the ocean and most open bodies of water and the idea of wobbling on a board while trying to “row” sounded less than fun. The aforementioned sister woes are our way of telling you that we were pretty new to this water activity and while we were very excited, we were slightly hesitant, too.

As Matt mentioned during the Q+A in our earlier Motorboatin’ 30a post, pontoon paddle boarding is much different than SUP in the ocean. Unlike the ocean, the water on Lake Powell has calm water that’s shallow – balancing is still a factor but it is much (much) easier to achieve on the lake. The boards Motorboatin’ 30a uses are by YOLO and called YAK boards. Being the nerds we are, we looked up the different kind of stand up paddle boards to get an idea of what made the ones we use different than what we had seen while down on the beach. We learned that the YAK boards are designed to be super sturdy, with stability in shallow water, and able to handle more weight. Matt told us that people often attach coolers to the board or even have smaller kids (in life vests) or dog sit on the front or back of the board. Like other paddle boards, once you are in a kneeling or standing position on the board you use a paddle to propel yourself forward.

We both started out kneeling on our boards before feeling ready to stand. Matt instructed us how to hold the paddles and advised us to do 3-4 full strokes on one side of the board before switching to the next. We learned that it’s better to keep the paddle as close to the board as possible and that you want almost the entire head of the paddle to be in the water when you’re moving it front to back to get the correct speed. Once we got the hang of paddling, Matt gave us more tips on how to hold the paddle and position/move our bodies so that the motions engaged our cores and became more of a work out.

The best activity to compare pontoon paddle boarding to would be riding a bike. They are completely different (obviously) but both activities involve using your body and additional objects to propel yourself in motion, you can make the activity more challenging depending on speed and resistance, and you’re doing something active while being able to fully take in your surroundings. And the surroundings on Lake Powell are beautiful…we paddled right up to the edge of the lake, to where the sand dunes separate it from the gulf water. It was the first time we had ever experienced the are unique area in person and it really is so amazing.

And there you have it – Motorboatin’ 30a took two non-athletic girls and turned them into pontoon paddle boarding pros! We haven’t planned our next trip to 30A but we’ve already told all our family and friends that come to the area to book their boat and paddle boarding trips with Matt and Michaelanne. The morning pontoon SUP adventure was the perfect morning activity and we still spent hours at the beach afterward!

P.S. thank you to Molly and Shawn for being with us for the day and making things even more fun (:

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Meet Motorboatin’ 30a

June 25, 2015

We have been vacationing with our family and loved ones along Florida's 30A for years and we thought we had every non-beach activity figured out. There's golf, and sea fishing, and alligator animal farm thingies, and places you can meet dolphins, and sand dollar excursions...all nice things but all things we generally opt out of joining in on. It's not that we're opposed to getting our bums off the beach, but all the previously mentioned activities generally take up a whole day - especially anything that requires a boat because you have to drive to get to them - and none of them really sound all that "fun" to us.

When we learned about Motorboatin' 30a we did a double take. Was this really offering what it looked like: pontoon boat charters and rentals as well as water sport activities right along 30A? No long driving trip or all day commitment required (unless desired)? It was all true. The business officially launched in October 2014 and the passionate owners have been introducing long-time 30A vacationers like us to the beautiful Coastal Dune Lakes along 30A. Knowing that the two of us would be making a visit to the beach this summer we made sure to book some "trips" with Motorboatin' 30a. We had a feeling that we had finally found our non-beach dream team. And we were right. As a way of introducing you to the brand and company we have already come to know and love, we thought it would be fun to do a little Q+A session with Michaelanne and Matt - the lovebird duo who made Mototboatin' 30a a reality!

 

 

Q: We are already total fan girls just from looking at your website and falling in love with your logo. Can you tell us more about the vibe you had in mind when creating Mototboatin’ 30a?
A, Michaelanne: I grew up coming to this area of Florida and have always loved 30A – there is literally nothing like it. While Matt and I love the beach, we are both active people and found the options of non-beach alternatives lacking. 30A has been growing in popularity over the years (which is a great thing!) but it’s become harder and harder to find things to do that don’t involve a big crowd or driving a good distance away. Matt grew around a lake and he and our friend Ryan realized over beers that no one was utilizing the Coastal Dune Lakes that are parallel to the 30A coast…they are a little inaccessible and we wanted to bring the boating aspect that people up north associate with down to 30A! We took the cheesy factor that comes with pontoon boats and ran with it. Our logo is meant to reflect the fun that comes with pontooning.

Q: Talk to us about what you offer through Motorboatin’ 30a…what can people sign up for?
A, Matt: We have three main offerings, half or full day boat trips, sunset cruises, and pontoon paddle board trips. For the day trips people can choose to have a captain or take over the boat themselves, the boat is stocked with an inner tube for tubing and a cooler with ice and we encourage everyone to bring snacks, drinks and music to personalize the experience. We also offer fishing packages with poles and bait. For the sunset cruises I captain the boat so that everyone can relax and take in 30A’s amazing sunsets. The great thing about the Lake Powell is that it’s very manageable – not too big that someone captaining the boat could get lost. There are also nice shallow areas that are great for anchoring and getting out paddle boards.

Q: Paddle boarding always sounds like an intimidating activity. What can first-timers expect?
A, Matt: When you see people taking paddle boards out in the ocean it does look intimidating! You’re trying to manage your balance while getting over waves and fighting the current. It’s a completely different activity when doing in from a pontoon in the lake…the water is calm, you can do it in shallow areas, and it becomes more of a relaxed workout than a strenuous water sport. I’m a certified paddle board instructor so I really like helping people become comfortable on the boards and have seen people of all ages (even kids) fall in love with the activity.

Q: We know more than anyone that it can be hard to change a routine (re: we are total beach bums). What do you want people to know most about Motorboatin’ 30a?
A, Michaelanne: Whether you have an occasion – like a bachelorette group, or a birthday party – or not, we truly think there’s something for everyone. Between cruising the lake, tubing, fishing, paddle boarding from the pontoon, getting some sun, and or enjoying the sunset a pontoon really is great for all ages and most every group. It’s a secluded activity that becomes “your” activity – you don’t have to really share when you’re on the lake and it’s so much more than just sitting on a boat! Matt and I love working together and we have brought our fun-loving personalities to every aspect of the business. We want to make every person’s experience memorable and feel like a first trip can lead to many more.

We did not grow up going to a lake or spending a ton of time around boats but that doesn’t mean we don’t looooove a good day on a pontoon. If you’ve ever heard the country song “Pontoon” by Little Big Town you probably have an idea of how fun the slightly cheesy but completely great activity can be. We’re going to report more about how much we loved paddle boarding tomorrow but wanted you all meet Michaelanne and Matt first!

P.S. we can’t not mention the great toast on the back of the Motorboatin’ 30a koozie because we love it so much: To good ships and wood ships and ships that sail the sea. But the best ships are relationships forever may they be. Cheers!

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A Little Austin

May 19, 2015

I'm lacking content at the moment - chalk it up to being a) unorganized and not building a structured editorial calendar, and b) not having a friend like Mary in Houston who can help me take photos on the fly. Since the past few days have been silent, I thought I'd post some sort-of-recent photos I took while in Austin. There's nothing super remarkable about them (other than that they showcase three of my favorite spots) but because I took them a bit ago (ok fine, I took them in March) I got to see a huge transition in how I edit now compared to then.

 

Leslee and I spend a day in Austin during my photography sabbatical and it’s where we started to focus on composition. We shot for a few hours (both of us taking pictures of the same spaces and places) then uploaded the images to review the differences in our shots. Can I just tell you how intimidating it was to first shoot with Leslee? Maybe I could compare it to a novice painter who gets to spend the day with Picasso (or someone they idolize who isn’t deceased) and he goes, “Oooo let’s both paint the same still life as a learning exercise!” You can’t really focus on what you should be doing because you’re just looking sideways at the pro, trying to monkey-see-monkey-do.

So while I didn’t come away with many shots I loved, I did find it hugely helpful to see the way Leslee composed a frame versus how I did. The review wasn’t so I could feel shamed or think what I was doing was wrong, and it definitely wasn’t so she could make me learn how mimic her style – but it was a nice way to see how slight differences in alignment, vantage point, cropping, etc. effected the look.

What I’ve got in this post are the images I don’t hate. I think if I went back to each spot (By George [the South Congress Location], Hotel San José, and Hotel Saint Cecilia) I would come away with totally different photos – just because of how much I learned from being with Leslee and the practice I’ve been putting into place. But since I couldn’t physically go back I made an exercise in revisiting the photos and editing them.

I had made a few edits on the Austin pics but was shocked to see how “safe” those edits were. Lightroom is where I do  post-processing work on all my photos…I love it for many reasons but the best part (I think) is that unlike Photoshop, all the images are stored in one library (at least in my case) and edits made to individual photos is stored and easy to adjust and copy onto other shots. That description probably does little to help anyone who has never used the program, but if you’re currently using Photoshop to edit all your images I would highly suggest getting into Lightroom (it’s technically called “Photoshop Lightroom” and it’s by Adobe so that should assure you that it’s a great program!). Pshop is great for doing masking, stamping, and a lot of over things – but Lroom is sooo much faster and easier to manipulate light and colors (IMHO). SO, in Lightroom I could very easily see what little I had adjusted to make the photos “better.” I could tell looking back that I was scared to mess with the exposure and not adding enough black, or certain colors were too saturated, etc.

Usually I get really sad and want to cover my eyes when I look at old photos either on the blog or in my Lightroom library. But really, it’s such a good reminder to look at the way I was doing things compared to what I’m doing now and see the growth in my knowledge. I hate when people say, “Practice, practice, practice. Then practice some more,” but it’s so true. There’s really no way to shortcut learning how to do new tricks other than doing the same thing over and over, learning from mistakes and figuring out how to do things better. Even though it has been just a couple months since my sabbatical I could see how I’ve improved my editing game…so that felt nice.

Again – these pics are far from perfect. But I’m trying practicing. And it was kind of a fun challenge to try to make what I consider imperfectly composed images look as pretty as possible.

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Fall in San Francisco – Sister Visit

October 28, 2014

If you follow along with us on Instagram and Twitter, you saw that Molly visited Sally in San Francisco two weekends ago for a pre-birthday weekend. It was her first time visiting Sal in her new city and we were pretty excited to pack the weekend with some really fun activities and exploration! Sally and her fiancé live in Pacific Heights - a super picturesque neighborhood that's a sharp rise above the marina and full of amazing views of the bay and Golden Gate Bridge. Molly was a leeetle jealous of all the amazing photo-worthy backdrops just steps from their front door...and she took full advantage of them as documented in our little weekend recap below. Make sure you keep reading and checkout the video at the end of the post. We put together something spesh!

 

So, Saturday (10/18) started with a delicious breakfast and coffee at Jane on Filmore. It’s our friend Michaela’s favorite place and has a seriously cool, cozy interior and delicious coffee and food options. We really went for it and ordered bakery creations and did not regret it one bit. Our Kansas City-based family won’t be happy about us posting a picture of a mounted Buffalo head wearing an SF Giants hat but it was too good not to capture this nod to the World Series — SF Giants against our hometown Royals! After breakfast we ran a bunch of errands and spiffed up Sally’s apartment with some organization, furniture re-arranging, and art work hanging. Never under-estimate the strength of two girls on a mission – we lifted some seriously heavy things and are proud of it!

Then it was time to get ready for the highlight of the weekend: the Treasure Island Music Festival! Treasure Island is literally an island (re: man-made landform) in the SF Bay and it’s been hosting a music festival at the end of each music “festival season” since 2007. Since we’re big fans of festies, it was too perfect that the festival aligned with Molly’s visit and Sally’s recent move to the city. We approached dressing for the event differently than most other music festivals…usually we really force a boho and flower-child vibe (which can get a little stressful when it’s not your average style) but we wanted to be comfortable and casual (our realllll personal style) so we both wore jeans and fall layers from Old Navy. San Francisco is notorious for its erratic weather so layers are a must – especially when it cools down so quickly at night!

The music did not disappoint. We loved getting to see Jungle, Janelle Monáe, Outkast, and more. Unlike other festivals, Treasure Island does not overlap any sets so you don’t have to pick one band or artist over another – it really made for an easy concert experience. The music and performances were amazing but what made it really special was the whole atmosphere…being right on the bay with the water, view of the bridges, palm trees, and city scape was magical. The ferris wheel also added to the magic.

After the concert we bussed back into the city and capped off the night with dinner at Umami. If you like sushi, this place is a must. And if you like dessert – you need to run (don’t walk) to this place. They have cookie dough rolls. Looks like rolls of sushi but is cookie dough wrapped around ice cream and topped with various sweet stuff. We don’t know how they do it and we don’t care because the creativity and the deliciousness is what made us order one after another. It was a birthday weekend so we indulged!

Sunday was Molly’s last day so we brunched at Rose’s Cafe (two words: breakfast. pizza.) and did a lot of strolling around the neighborhood. In true sister/sister fashion, the two of us ended up basically matching without realizing it. Black pants, sneakers, striped Old Navy shirts, and grey layers. We are so used to doing this on accident that we don’t even realized it’s happened until we’ve left home. After a very yum meal, we walked the hills, sat outside, and took total advantage of the sunny “Indian Summer” day.

Saying our goodbyes was sad because we had such an amazing weekend but it was just the first of many sister city visits and we’re already planning Molly next trip out West! Oh, and GO ROYALS!!!

 

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SWFW Bound with Alys Shoppe!

October 6, 2014

This week the two of us have some seriously fun plans. We are traveling to our favorite beach in Florida - Alys - to be part of South Walton Fashion Week! For those of you who aren't familiar, South Walton is the 26 mile stretch of white sand in the Northwest "panhandle" region of Florida. The area is home to 16 beach neighborhoods - each with a distinct and charming personality. As mentioned, we are pretty partial to Alys Beach after spending some consecutive summers in the area. Our trip there this past July was beyond idealic and we were lucky to forge some really amazing friendships with some of the local lovelies…most notably the stylish and creative women responsible for Alys Shoppe! After chatting and spending lots of time together, swapping names of designers we love and chatting about all things Alys, we thought it would be fun to partner together for SWFW. APoT + Alys Shoppe feels like a match made in beach heaven and we can't wait to be sharing the fashion week experience with them. Right now we are both in packing and preparation mode but want to share with you some of the upcoming events we're partnering with Alys Shoppe on so you can mark your calendar and hopefully come!

 

A little overview of SWFW in general…festivities kick off this Wednesday, October 8th and end on Saturday, October 11th. It’s going to be a true celebration of high fashion and will feature national rising designers and models, local, regional and national designers, stores and boutiques, runway shows, retail shopping experiences, trunk shows and parties. And it all takes place at the beach. So, what’s not to love?

Alys Shoppe, which is Alys’ first retail experience and a great reflection of the comfortable, chic, coastal lifestyle that encompasses the entire community, will be taking part in a few SWFW events and we’ll be with them every step of the way to document the fashion and fun. The Shoppe, along with some other local retailers and designers, will be styling their own runway show on Friday evening (see the schedule of events here!)  between 6-10pm. Then on Saturday (10/11) we want to welcome one and all to stop by Alys Shoppe from 11:00am – 3:00pm for an in-store event and trunk show featuring designers: Sundry, 51INC, Simply Seasalt, Coastal Road Design, JADE Tribe, and Haute Handcrafted Accessories. It’s going to be a great time to shop the store and meet 51INC designer Jin Seo and Coastal Road Design – both lines sold exclusively by Alys Shoppe!

So back to packing. We’re excited about what we’ll be wearing to the Fashion Week events but right now the only thing on our minds is the impending travel we both have ahead…Molly will have two days in the car with Blue Moonbeam and Sally and her fiancé will arrive with their pups on Friday morning. Car time and airplane time call for comfortable, cute outfits and Alys Shoppe and our new friends at 51INC were kind (way too kind) to hook us with with some ideal travel ensembles. Cozy, soft separated with sporty and chic details has made us even more excited to get to the beach – as if we needed any additional reasons to be pumped. They were even thoughtful enough to include a new toy and treats for Blue to enjoy on the drive…dog lovers after our own heart!

Alys: we’re coming for ya!

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