Great Beach Shoes – FitKicks

 

FitKicks US make great beach shoes/
FitKicks US make great beach shoes

I walk a lot of beaches, for a lot of miles. I really don’t like to wear shoes because the sand always gathers inside and makes it painful and difficult to walk. So, why bother? I kept trying different styles, and then I found them – FitKicks.

The sand didn’t gather on the inside, they are lightweight yet strong enough to walk over mounds of shells (like in Sanibel), and they come in a variety of colors. Oh, and FitKicks are only about $20!

Beach shoes from FitKicks US in flower print.
Beach shoes from FitKicks US in flower print.

Score! Try these beach shoes! You can use them for yoga, errands, exercise, around the house, whatever. I love them – and for $20, I really love them. Machine washable, air dry. They also come in women’s, men’s and children sizes.

Bottom of the FitKicks shoes are flexible yet sturdy.
Bottom of the FitKicks shoes are flexible yet sturdy.

Sanibel Sunsets

Bikes at Sunset

One of my favorite events is watching the sunset on the beaches of Sanibel or Captiva. This one was taken from the Access 5 point on Sanibel on West Gulf Drive.

In the winter, I find it much more enjoyable to take in a sunset as there are no bugs. As soon as it begins to warm up, the no-see-ums will suck the life right out of you! They are less prevalent near the water, so run! The only thing that helps is clothing – wear a long sleeved t-shirt…and pray they bite someone else! There are a few products that my family likes, Skin So Soft from Avon and a no-see-um spray available at Bailey’s General Store on Periwinkle and Tarpon Bay Road.

In the end, the sunset is worth a few bug bites.

A Gift From The Sea – Broken Junonia

junonia 3

It counts! It’s broken and beat up, but it’s a junonia! Yay! I was on West Gulf Drive, right behind the Caribe Beach Resort at 11am on a Tuesday. I was gathering a bunch of yellow cockle shells for my mom who I’d just found out was going in for surgery. Before I drove home to the east coast, I wanted to find her favorite shells and bring them to her. So, while I was up at the high tide line gathering cockles, I uncovered this beauty!

I feel it was a gift and this shell will forever remind me of my mom. By the way, her surgery went fine and she is recovering nicely.

yellow cockles

These are the yellow cockles I collected for her. So cheery, don’t you think?

Rose Murex – My First

rose murex

I just had to stop at the Sanibel Causeway to put my toes in the water one last time before I drove back to the east coast. Glad I did. I walked down to the end, closest to Sanibel, and I started to notice a whole bunch of minis in the sand (mini tulips, lightning whelks, wentletraps, augers…). I sat for a moment to dig a bit when this pop of red color appeared. I wasn’t even sure exactly what it was since I’d never found one before, but it’s a Rose Murex! A very deep colored one, too. I love her 🙂

 

Holy Horse Conchs

The Fab Five Horse Conchs

Well, it was an epic day. These five horse conchs are not even thoroughly cleaned yet but look how gorgeous they are! And huge! I was at Gulf Side Park on Sanibel early in the morning, at sunrise, and these EMPTY horse conchs were just waiting for me in the water. It was the perfect low tide (7am) and there was hardly anyone on the beach. I couldn’t even carry them all back. I actually gave one away to two little girls and their parents. That felt good. It’s nice when you can share a gift, and these were definitely a gift!

When I have them all cleaned and shined, I’ll post again, so you can see the difference. I have to tell you, these shells STINK. I have had them soaking in bleach for days (half bleach, half water) and the stench is still in them. There must be pieces of the animal stuck up in there. Jeff from the She Sells Sea Shells store on Periwinkle (he’s an avid shell collector) told me to go put them in an ant pile, so I did. I’ll go get them back from the ants in a week or two. Then, soak them again. And oil ’em up real good with mineral oil. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, go to shell!

Queen Conch With Purple Tips

conch side

This beautiful queen conch was found by my son while diving off Miami. It looked terrible when he found it. I soaked it in a mixture of half bleach/half water for two days. Then, scrubbed it silly. I also took a dental tool to get one of the remaining barnacles off — you can’t even tell. I just love the purple tips!

I’ve heard you are not allowed to keep conchs if they have a conch critter in them or if they have a hole greater than 1/16″ of an inch (that’s how you release the animal, like a vacuum). This one had neither. It sits proudly on my living room shelf!

conch front

Sanibel Shell Show

Golden olive on display at Sanibel Shell Show.
Golden olive creatively displayed at the Sanibel Shell Show.

The 79th Annual Sanibel Shell Show was held March 3, 4 and 5, 2016. This incredible show is put on by the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club. I have attended this event many times over the years and it always leave me in awe.

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There are scientific and artistic divisions that shellers can compete in, and there is also an area for purchasing goods, like books, jewelry, and more.

Water lilly created from angel wing shells.
Water lily created from angel wing shells.

The shells you will see at this show are incredible! If you have never been, you should really try to attend next year.

Huge, dark junonia shell at Sanibel Shell Show.
Beautiful junonia at Sanibel Shell Show.

Plus, in the parking lot, there are vendors selling seashells, food, clothing, gifts and crafts.

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First place winner: Flat scallop, hinged, and gorgeous!

Check out these true tulip egg casings, did you know what they looked like? I know lightning whelk casings, so this was cool to see.

True tulip egg casings.
True tulip egg casings.

 

Enormous true tulip found in the Bahamas.
Enormous true tulip found in the Bahamas.

 

Crown conch found on Sanibel. (Also known as a King's Crown.)
Crown conch found on Sanibel. (Also known as a King’s Crown.)

Aren’t these specimens incredible? I went crazy looking at the displays, I’m sure you will, too! Hope to see you there next year.

Key Largo Must-Eats: The Fish House

Key lime pie from the Fish House in Key Largo.
Key lime pie from the Fish House in Key Largo.

Next time you’re in the Keys, stop in to the Fish House in Key Largo. It’s located at Mile Marker 102 Oceanside (although it’s not on the water). Please don’t let that fact discourage you from dining here — you will miss out on one of the best meals in the Florida Keys.

Pan-sauteed hogfish at The Fish House.
Pan-sauteed hogfish at The Fish House.

The Fish House also happens to be a fish market, so your fish is fresh as fresh can be. While it’s not cheap, it’s not five-star expensive either – but it IS five-star delicious. Their famous dishes are the pan-sauteed fish of the day or Matecumbe style – a topping of shallots, basil, capers, tomatoes, olive oil and lemon juice. So fresh, so good.

Also worthy of trying is their smoked fish chunks (dunk them in mustard sauce) and their unique shrimp bundles (shrimp marinated in honey, garlic and lemon and then wrapped in basil and prosciutto). Cracked conch is the BEST here, too. Not chewy, just ooh ooh good.

Papa Alphabet Cone

papa alphabet cone

Do you see it? I see the word “PAPA” on this alphabet cone. The reason this is so special to me is because I take it as a sign.

We all have highs and lows, and while I was in a low, I went to Sanibel. It always makes me feel better to be there. It’s my happy place on so many levels. While I was walking on the beach, having a private conversation with God about my life, this cone literally rolled up at my feet. I had asked Him for a sign. Or an answer to my prayers. I got this cone.

Call me what you want, but this was my sign to be strong. We are not alone in this world, even if you feel alone, you are not! You have guardian angels watching over you all the time.

If I could carry this alphabet cone in my pocket at all times, I would, but I’m afraid I’d lose it. So, it rests on a stand in my living room. I pass by it several times a day, and each time I do, it reminds me to be strong and stay steady.