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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Staycation at The Joule Hotel

September 23, 2014

A "staycation" is technically when you plan activities close to home but sleep in your own beds at night. But staying in a hotel or someplace other than home can be one of the best parts of being on vacation...our idea of a great staycation experience is being in our own city but having the luxury of staying somewhere fabulous and sleeping outside our own beds. This past weekend we celebrated Sally's first return to Dallas after moving to San Francisco with a two-night stay at The Joule Hotel.

 

While we had both visited The Joule many times, we had never stayed in a room or had a full weekend in Downtown Dallas – it felt like the perfect opportunity to try the full extent of the hotel’s offerings and at the end of our stay we didn’t want to leave.

So The Joule…it underwent a two-year expansion/renovation that completed in early 2014. Led by designer Adam D. Tihany, the completed design completely elevated the Hotel to be luxurious but inviting and intriguing. Our favorite area is the lobby and bar area which is styled by TENOVERSIX. The comfortable seating areas, art selection, hand-blown glass light fixtures, and personal touches (like the long communal table by the entrance covered in books) is something we wish we could completely copy and paste into our own homes. Connected to the lobby are boutiques TENOVERSIX Presents (the best hotel “gift shop” you’ll ever meet), TENOVERSIX (designer retail shopping brought to you by the same team from LA), and the Taschen Library (where you will have a hard time not buying every book by the publishing house). Weekend Coffee (a TENOVERSIX concept) is also a fixture in the lobby and its fresh brewed and baked creations will make anyone forget about Starbucks.

Aside from the fully accessible retailers above, TRAFFIC LA and a Comme de Garçons PLAY store are just outside the main lobby door and offer even more covetable fashion. And if shopping isn’t your thing or you have a love of pampering, a jewel box hallway will take you from the hotel to ESPA Spa. The two-floor space brings the ultimate spa treatments and therapies and is as gorgeous as it is relaxing. As if this was’t enough, in addition to its state of the art hotel fitness center, The Joule created VITAL Fitness Studio for yoga and core fitness classes.

During our brief but blissful stay at The Joule we were able to hit up almost all their above amenities and much more. From soaking in the huge tub in our “Joule Suite” and enjoying the Dude, Sweet Chocolate given to us with the nightly turn-down service, to ordering room service for breakfast (best g-free buckwheat pancakes!), eating at CBD Provisions for dinner, and partaking in a Sunday “Crunch & Brunch” morning workout at VITAL followed by brunch at CBD – we felt like everything was right at our fingertips and our expectations were completely exceeded.

One aspect of the hotel that cannot go unmentioned: they accommodate fur babies (re: dogs). For anyone whose puppies are like children, you know how amazing it is to find a luxury hotel that will allow you to bring them. They even offer a full “pamper your pet” package. Blue Moonbeam was in heaven with the friendly and treat-bearing staff and thoroughly enjoyed getting to explore the nearby parks of Downtown.

It goes without saying that we were sad to end our staycation at The Joule. The Downtown stay made for the perfect backdrop for our sister reunion and we had a little too much fun snuggling in the plush robes and dashing around the lobby like Eloise. It might have been a staycation but it felt like a home away from home…in Dallas.

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