You can tandem kayak without any drama!

Same Life paddling kayaks

Alicia and I proved it last weekend when we took our nine-year-old girls on an hour-and-45-minute kayak trip in New Port Richey. No problems at all.

By the way, who knew New Port Richey was on the water?

I mean, I should have known since I have lived in Florida for my entire life and have had access to maps the whole time…and I guess the word “Port” in the name could have clued me in if I was paying attention…

But I never spent any time up there until Alicia moved from Ohio. And any time I’ve visited her there I’ve had nary a glimpse of the shore. I assumed we were inland, halfway to Georgia. I’ve seen lots of cows up there, not boats.

However, much to my geographically challenged delight, there is plenty of water fun to be had in New Port Richey. It’s actually right on the Gulf of Mexico, which makes it pretty convenient for kayaking.

The place we rented them from was like a food truck for kayaks on US 19. It is located on a canal that leads out to the Gulf. The canal is in a cute residential neighborhood, with calm water and plenty to look at as you paddle.

I have always loved getting to see houses from the water. It’s a different, slightly voyeuristic perspective. And, usually, the water side of the house has more personality than the front. The age-old adage, “Business in front, party in back” is alive and well in New Port Richey’s waterfront homes.

There were tiki huts and colorful adirondack chairs, decorative fishing nets, even three barrels of Captain Morgan rum tied together on one dock. Almost every house had a boat named something like “Copacetic” or “Therapy”, or at least a nameless Jet Ski.

What I really liked was that the houses, for the most part, were modest, one-story homes that looked like a regular person actually stood a chance of being able to afford one and enjoy living on the water. That’s not something you see anymore where I live. The houses did get progessively bigger as we paddled closer to the Gulf though, one of the finger canals we paddled down even had a seaplane docked out back.

Paddling girls

I have heard tandem kayaks referred to as “divorce-makers”, and have actually been on a canoe trip where a husband and wife had to be separated into 2 different boats. So I had anticipated less helpful participation and more complaining from the girls, but they both paddled like champs. Apparently the tandem-kayaking strife only affects couples, not mothers and daughters…at least when the daughters haven’t reached their teenage years yet.

So thank god for that! And for the balmy kind of day that makes you say “This is why we live in Florida.” One of those where the air is cool enough that you don’t sweat but you can still wear a tank top and flip-flops—Florida perfection.

callie steph kayak

Oh Atlanta, my old friend

I’m in Atlanta for my first blogging conference this week. I don’t know exactly what to expect but I’m excited to find out.

This particular conference is called Savvy Blogging Summit. It is geared toward marketing, SEO, monetization, affiliate marketing, networking, and social media, all of which I know next to nothing about, so I’m psyched to soak in all of the new information (yes, I’m a nerd).

I will also get to meet a bunch of other bloggers face-to-face, which I’m looking forward to, despite being slightly intimidated because I assume that they will all be well-established and have a solid plan for their blogs while I am a novice who just likes writing stories and most definitely has not yet developed any sort of plan. (Inferiority complex much?)

That doesn’t really matter though. I just love getting the chance to be around a bunch of people who are excited about what they are doing and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot.

The best part about this trip though is that I get to be in Atlanta and see some of my best friends from way back! I lived here from New Year’s Eve 1998 (but I partied like it was 1999-sorry, had to do it) through 2001 and it was a fantastic time in my life.

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Tennessee Memories

Newport, TN sign

Photo borrowed from

I love my mom’s Tennessee accent. She has lived in Florida for almost 40 years so there is just a hint of it these days but it shows up every now and then in words like Wednesday, which she pronounces “Weensdee”. It’s cute. As children my brother and sister and I never missed an opportunity to mimic her accented words. “Weeeeensdeeee. Weeeeeeeeeensdee.”, we would laugh. Kids can be A-holes. No worries, she’s having the last laugh now since we all have our own children to continue the tradition of parent-mocking.

Last week her college roommate from Nashville came to visit and having her around brought my mom’s accent to the surface. It also brought to surface memories from when we were young kids and visited my grandparents in my mom’s hometown in Tennessee.

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