Reflect

The Leaves of a Resort Girl Life

November 5, 2018

A quote by one of my favorite personal development gurus, Jim Rohn, says:

Success is a Journey not a Destination

This seemed to be a theme this week in my reading – if you think you reach success and then stop – you will also put the brakes on your personal growth. Growth must always be a part of our life, even as we advance in age.

As I have officially arrived in the Fall season of my life, the leaves of life are starting to turn.

Like the Fall leaves, my true colors are starting to emerge. It took years to grow into who I am. Maybe that is what life is all about…growing into a beautiful person of many ideas, thoughts and – ultimately –wisdom.

We are so green and growing in our youth, just like the Spring blossoms. Then, we are bright and sunny during our adult years. Our souls are shining with new ideas and the thrill of discovery. We are like the burning rays of a hot summer day…setting the world on fire.

Then we reach the Fall years, when this growing turns our souls into their true beauty. We have become a mixture of colors influenced by all the loves, careers, cares and dares of our younger years.

Our souls are almost there…to the winter of our lives where we are wiped clean, like the first winter snow. Our minds and even hair turn to the purest of white…we are ready for eternal life.

I plan to appreciate the seasons of my life and not fight them. I will make the best of each season.
This is my season to appreciate what wisdom the world has given me and keep building and growing towards the peaceful Winter rest that is given to us.

We leave this world as we came, naked like the winter trees and with minds reborn just like a newborn.

That is my hope in life.

Resort Girl

Reflect

Should Motels Make a Comeback?

October 22, 2018

During a recent stay in Florida, I came upon an exhibit called “Historic Hotels and Motels” at the Winter Park Historical Museum. The museum was on a street my feet used to walk many times – as it was in my hometown.
As a native Floridian, born in Miami and growing up in Orlando Florida, my youthful days were spent amongst the palm trees, lakes and shores. And many times, I stayed in the famous hotels and motels that were showcased in this exhibit.
The Oxford Dictionary defines a motel as “a roadside hotel designed primarily for motorists, typically having the rooms arranged in a low building directly outside.”


We don’t see too many motels in these modern days. We are greeted upon arrival at a hotel by the valet, and are deprived of the privilege of pulling directly up to our room. At a motel, unloading your bags was easy, and if you forgot something in the car, you didn’t need to walk very far to retrieve it.

As the exhibit stated, many individuals – not corporations – ran these motels and even hotels – and they were entrepreneurs. And each year, folks packed in the car and drove near and far to pull up to that motel door. They knew the owners, they knew many of the other families staying, they loved this little slice of paradise.

These motels also featured the unit air conditioner. The exhibit had a typical room with the unit air conditioner, Matisse bedspread and funky sun mirror. Personally, I loved the humming sound of the unit air conditioner. We now pay money for apps that replicate that same peaceful sound, but the app does not have the cool air attached.

Air-conditioning was a new luxury to travelers in the South, as many of the beach resorts of old did not have this modern amenity. And in the end, they were demolished to make room for newer hotels and motels.

But…let’s not forget the unforgettable pool parties of past. They were amazing back then at many motels and hotels. And the Langford in Winter Park was one of the hippest places to stay – and even live. Many folks found it a way of life to reside at these hotels, or escape into oblivion. The exhibit revealed that many notable figures used it as an escape and hideout for days or weeks at a time.
But, as a photographer, my eyes went to a black and white photo of one of those infamous pool parties. I just pictured sitting there in my linen dress with short gloves and hair in an up-do, just watching the amazing, over-the-top entertainment.

The photo depicted a once in a lifetime pool party taking place. First, there was a pool filled with lovely women who were synchronized swimmers, with heads adorned with stylish rubber swim caps. Next to the swimmers, a couple was water skiing – how they pulled that off puzzled me. But, to my surprise there were also ice-skaters! A small ice rink was perched high above the pool. It was amazing; and I wondered just how you can have both warm pool water and cool ice surfaces.

Oh, I so wanted to have been at that hip pool party scene!

Then you have the wonderful motel pool family parties. Pools were filled with colorful umbrellas and plenty of poolside lounges and chairs. Parents got to mingle and take a rest while their kids played with the rest of the kids visiting for the summer. The wide-rimmed glasses, the martinis, the beach balls, the flipping of burgers near the tennis courts, all within walking distance from your motel room – how hip and fun!

I, for one, remember diving off many a motel spring board. Do we even have diving boards anymore? Waterslides are now a standard feature in many pools, but diving boards could be pretty scary – especially the high ones, which could prove painful when you belly flopped!

But those hip pool days are a thing of the past, replaced by more sophisticated pool landscapes.
On our own beautiful island, two of the original motels were the Sea Crest on Forest Beach and the William Hilton Inn. From what I have gathered after reading stories of the past and recollections on the internet, the Sea Crest was created for stranded individuals who just let the day of playing on the beach get away from them – and they needed a place to rest their weary heads.

But the William Hilton Inn was a hip modern motel of the 1960s. I discovered an old postcard on eBay featuring an image of the hotel with the caption, “Looking in from the Atlantic Ocean – features two pools, putting green, badminton, tennis, golf, dancing, oyster roasts – and free island tours.” Now that sounds like an exciting place to visit!

The Langford Hotel, the original Sea Crest and the William Hilton Inn have all been torn down and replaced by more modern inns and hotels. However, memories of all these motel parties and events remain in the hearts and minds of those lucky souls who were part of the in-crowd during those retro motel/hotel days.
A good oyster roast, round of golf, and dip in the pool never go out of style. Maybe the times were a bit hipper back then. The owners were entrepreneurs, not corporations. Most notably, the parties were amazing, and the time spent on the beach was fun-filled and memorable.
As the billboards in front of the motels many times read, “Wish you Were Here”, I so enjoyed reading all of them as we traveled down the road to our motel. And do miss (and wish) some of those old hotel and motels were still around town.

And I wondered, with Airbnb and retro trailers gaining popularity…maybe some of those old roadside motels might make a comeback.

I drive along many southern back roads. These now closed-down “motels” have beautiful settings, inviting me to imagine the days gone by. One such motel still has one room available and an older gentleman – maybe the old proprietor- sits in his metal chair and just watches the cars go by. There is something soothing about just watching the cars go by, many times in the middle of nowhere. Maybe it’s time to get that pool up and running again and add a great BBQ.

Who knew that just chilling with a few folks who came year after year to enjoy that pool, that BBQ and maybe even some cool entertainment could have been so appealing.
And then again, are we not going back to that again with the new lodgings such as Airbnb…owners who welcome you as their personal guests.

Maybe the roadside “motel” just might make a comeback….

Relax, Reflect and Recharge

Recharge

Living the Harbour Town Yachting Life

August 17, 2018

Resort Girls/Guys – Did you know that for 28 days a year you can live the Yachting life in iconic Harbour Town? Neither did I – until a fellow Resort Girl introduced me to the Harbour Town Yacht Club (HTYC) in the Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

A few of my resort girl and guy friends from Big Canoe had recently joined HTYC to enjoy golf outing weekends and family vacations. My friends referred me to the Manager, Victor Davidson, and I quickly became sold on the idea of living mere steps away from all of the historic and breathtaking sights that Harbour Town has to offer. As an added bonus, I would also have access to the club’s partner golf resorts, the beautiful yacht “Mystique” and the HTYC clubhouse’s dining facilities and events.

Most of the club and private lodging is located above the popular shops and dining spots of Harbour town in Sea Pines Plantation. The rooms range from studios to 2-bedroom units and all have small kitchens with a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, dishes and even blenders! There are a few condos off-site, but all are within walking distance of the yacht basin. When staying on property, you can take a refreshing dip in the pool or soak in the sun at the Harbour Town pool and work out at the Sea Pines center gym. The Harbour Town Yacht club is not a new establishment; it is rooted in decades-long traditions.

Victor leads an amazing team at the Yacht Club, one that is always there for you, with a common goal of helping you make the most of your membership. I personally nicknamed Victor “Yacht Man”! I have taken to greeting him by this moniker, often with my arms held in a big “V” above my head. (Now, I know only an exceptionally gracious man would allow someone to do that – but he has that personality.) He is a true Superman, always making my time (and my fellow members’) at the club super fine! Victor and the entire, amazing HTYC team are dedicated, hardworking and gracious. The entire staff always makes you feel special – just like part of the HTYC family.

There are two ways to become a member at the HTYC. I decided on purchasing an equity membership, but there is also a great social membership available. It has come in very handy when wanting to attend island events, hanging out with my fellow Resort Girls/Guys and meeting new friends.

Each year, with my equity membership, I am provided 28 days of lodging with an option to request certain days and/or weeks. There is a system in place for priority reservations, which Yacht Man can better explain to you, but you can also pick up days on short notice if there is availability. I have done this many times, such as when the air conditioner in my home was out of service and just wanting to come and stay at the Harbour.

The social membership is also a popular choice for locals of Sea Pines and Bluffton to meet up, as a traditional social is held most Saturday nights from 6 to 7:30 PM. Light bites and drink specials are always part of this popular event. And now, with the recent renovations of the rooftop deck, including expanded seating areas and comfy couches, watching the sunset over the beautiful Harbour Town Yacht basin is even more of a delight.

The rooftop club is open most nights with a happy hour serving refreshing libations for the grown-ups and Shirley Temple or Smurf “mocktails” for the club’s younger guests. During the warm months, the Grill features a delicious feast, serving up a set dinner menu to please the palate. It is a great way to grab a meal and then just pop back to your room, many of which feature a private balcony, to relax, reflect and recharge.

As social members, you have the option of lodging on a 48-hour notice if rooms are available. This can prove to be a perfect spontaneous vacay for Bluffton-based members and those from surrounding areas who want to come in and spend a night on the Harbour.

You can relax by grabbing a seat on the historic teak and mahogany yacht, “Mystique”, with cruises running several days a week. Complementary light cocktails are offered, and you can invite up to 2 guests for free per week (there is a limited charge for additional members). If the sun is shining bright, I might just take an impromptu voyage and hop on board with fellow members if a seat is free.

In addition to all of these amenities, there are numerous special events which are very popular with ALL members. Celebrations are held throughout the year, including a Derby Day party, a 4th of July fireworks dinner, and Christmas parties. The club wraps up the year with a rocking New Year’s Eve party. This Resort Girl has been to most of them and enjoyed each and every one – and everyone! These events draw a lively group of members and are organized and run by a marvelous and loyal team.

Some days, I just feel like popping onto the plantation to walk the sandy Sea Pines beach. It’s easy to do as a member because you get free gate pass access to the Sea Pines gate, beach club and all the wonderful dining and luxuries the plantation has offer. And, have I also mentioned the great golfing partners? Members have access to some of the best courses on the island and that is a bonus – FORE SURE!

To top everything off – some exciting updates have taken place at HTYC over the last year, including the expanded/upgraded rooftop deck I mentioned earlier. In addition, the third-floor conference center is also undergoing an expansion and updates. This conference space is stunning, with coastal furnishings and décor, and it also has all the technology required for any corporate meeting or training. There is also a sleek bar area attached to the meeting facility, offering a place to socialize after an event – or for smaller member events. Members have access to book these rooms, and the space is also available for private and corporate events.

I so enjoy being a member of the Harbour Town Yacht Club and plan to keep establishing traditions and making memories for many years to come. If you might be interested in membership, stop by and ask for the “Yacht Man”, Victor Davidson. Tell him Resort Girl sent you and join me and the other HTYC members in some yachting, dining on the deck, and ringing in some good times – while watching some spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Relax, Recharge and Reflect!

(You can also read this article in the Resort Girl lifestyle section –  August, 2018 Issue of “The Breeze” Magazine – free and on stands throughout Bluffton, SC )

Recharge

Should Resort Girls Take Up Golf? Fore Sure!

July 13, 2018
FullbodyGolfMountain

Did you know that women are among the most sought after new players in the sport of golf? According to the 2018 Royal and Ancient Golf Club Women’s, Girl’s and Family Participation Study, there are nine million potential new female golfers around the world.

Have you ever thought about taking up the game, but did not know where to start? My hope is that this article will inspire you to consider taking up golf. This introductory article for my “Women in Golf” series is designed to provide insights into women-specific golf instruction, tips and even fashion ideas.

Women can now enjoy the fun on the fairways more than ever. Golf is a great way to meet new friends, participate in a new sport and create family sporting memories – golfing traditions. As the R&A study states,

“…the (golfing) ‘experience’ is starting to become the product.”

My own golfing “experience” began over 20 years ago, when I moved to the beautiful golf resort of Big Canoe, GA. The golf courses wind through the majestic North Georgia Mountains, offering breathtaking views from the fairways—and some challenging lies.

It was a perfect course to learn on, with the weekdays being slower as the tourists came on the weekend. One aspect of golf that beginner golfers need to familiarize themselves with is the pace of play. New golfers tend to be slower than the regulars – leading to frustration for both parties. Maintaining the proper pace of play is one of the challenges faced by new golfers and a popular topic on many golf blogs and shows. You don’t want to cause a golf cart traffic jam on the tees as a new player.

As with learning the proper pace of play, there are many other aspects of the game to get familiar with, from grip to swing to even the right clubs. If you are going to take up the game, know that golf is one sport that requires some professional instruction!

Golf instruction is readily available and can be found in many different forms these days – from the hands of your local pro to the touch of a computer key. The PGA offers a beginner women’s golf program called “Get Ready Golf.” It is offered at golf clubs including Indigo Run, where I held my last club membership. Mr. Lance Buntin, a PGA professional and head golf pro at Indigo, makes this program available to his members and guests to help them get a start in the game of golf.

With this program, you get a beginner set of clubs and a series of introductory golf lessons. It is a great and affordable way to start – try it and see if you like it! This instruction is an alternative to one-on-one private lessons with a golf pro and provides a group setting, which allows you to get comfortable by playing with other golf gals.

In addition, online videos are fast becoming a 24/7 form of instruction, plus there is always YouTube.
I personally also recommend taking a golf etiquette lesson – a Resort Girl wants to play properly. Another tee time tip is to start playing with the 9-hole group of the ladies’ golf members, as I did when I was starting out. Some are new golfers and some are established, but everyone must have a certain handicap, which makes the level of play less intimidating. And, when play ends, you can chill with some ice tea or even a glass of wine while getting to know some new potential gal pals.

But don’t get me wrong, the game is not all fun. Golf is challenging – it takes time and practice to build up skill. But it is a good challenge, as you are challenging your mind and body since part of the game is physical and part is mental. At first your goal is to just get that darn little ball in the air and onto the fairway! Later, you move onto learning how to adjust your swing, chip and hit from all types of lies, land and even the sand found in those irritating bunkers. But, what a thrill it is when you hit those first great shots – among friends, family with some of the most magnificent natural backdrops and many times beautiful wildlife.

Another issue faced by many men and women golfers, is time. I’ve heard many people declare,

“Hey, I do not have five hours in my day to play a round of golf right now with family and work.”

This is really a moot issue because you don’t always need to play 18 holes. Most courses offer 9-hole options and some even have an innovative 6-hole at 6 PM play option, which gives golfers just enough time to get in a few rounds at the end of the day. I recently saw this 6 at 6 offering at a Lake Oconee golf course, where you skip holes to finish in an hour. These options afford the game of golf the creativity needed to meet the modern day demands of working individuals and families.

There are also the new golf concept venues, such as Top Golf, found in many cities that allow you grab lunch or dinner and get in a few chips. With golf, practice may still not make it perfect, but it is an integral part of the game and these flexible options are becoming very popular.

And finally, some of my closest friendships were built on those days of play in the mountains. We still play golf together after almost 20 years. When you spend up to five hours with someone in a cart, you really get to know them! Plus, many times the best of part the experience is the food and fellowship you find back at the resort clubhouse. Some of the special events held there can spark some fun competition amongst your golf gal pals. At Indigo Run, Mr. Buntin runs some very creative events for his women golfers and charitable events benefiting causes such as breast cancer awareness.

The clubhouse also can become an integral part of your family life – which is one of the most important deciding factors for women joining a golf country club. They want the club to offer family time events and “experiences” outside of playing golf.

I hope this initial “Women in Golf” article inspired you to consider being one of those many women who take up the game of golf. Try golf – you might like it – and along the fairways and back at the clubhouse, you will have the opportunity make some lifelong friends and family memories—Golfing Traditions. Relax, Reflect and Recharge Resort Girls.

 

Relax

Where to Wear Resort Wear? Everywhere!

June 19, 2018

Growing up in the palm tree-lined streets of Miami, tropical influences were a large part of my youth. Nothing better showcased the bright, colorful atmosphere of the tropics than the vibrant prints and styles of what is called resort wear. In the 1960s, Lilly Pulitzer was making her mark on the Florida lifestyle with her now famous shift. I got to model one of her designs in a teen fashion show at Walt Disney World – and even had the opportunity to meet her in person. It was a powerful memory for me as a young woman to wear such beautiful clothing and meet a successful female entrepreneur. If you’re unfamiliar with the Lilly brand story, like most inventions, her famous floral shift came out of necessity. She created her colorful, vibrant prints to help camouflage the stains that were the result of making her fruit juices from her Palm Beach fruit stand. As the Lilly Pulitzer website states,

“She built a business on a spill and she lived in paradise year-round.”

Another influence in resort wear came even decades before, via Coco Chanel. Even though Chanel began with her hats, she expanded into what is considered one of the first true resort wear lines.
Resort wear has continued to evolve, and things have certainly progressed since I donned my first Lilly dress back in the 1980s to today. Resort wear is now worn daily, as resort living has also become year-round. Dressing in causal, colorful and relaxed clothing is no longer restricted to a season – it is now a lifestyle. In Bluffton and on the island, we see women dressing this way every day. You can now see floral shifts in the spring and vibrant pants mixed with colorful knit tops in the cooler months. It’s also not unusual to see relaxing and soothing styles in warm and pastel colors. The fabric may change for the seasons, but the relaxing styles, and eye-catching hues remain the same.

But styles have taken a slight variation – the shift still exists and is a staple – but so is Athleisure wear. Athleisure or “sport leisure”, is defined by Merriam-Webster as “casual clothing designed to be worn for both exercising and for general use.” I pondered how this shift may have taken place and asked part-time island resident, Denine Pezone.

Denine is the Owner and Founder of Ardent Associates, a consulting firm focusing on branding and market strategy. Regarding the rise of Athleisure wear, she points out that, “While most fashion apparel markets are suffering, sport apparel is growing at faster rate than any other apparel category in the USA realizing continued year-over-year growth.”

Yoga, as I discussed in last month’s article, is now my sport of choice, with golf coming in second. Living in the low country gives women so many outdoor sports and activities – making athleisure wear a viable, fashionable clothing option. The performance materials make looking good easy and performing much more enjoyable, because as the labels state, sweat does wick.

Ms. Pezone reports, “Trends of athleisure goods and sports-inspired apparel are reported as sportswear apparel but will likely not be used for physical activity or sport. We have watched this category grow over the years, beginning with ‘casual Friday’ that took the golf apparel market by storm. Now, as consumers are looking for staple items that are declared comfortable, we see the yoga pants and active apparel bottoms everywhere. Much of the growth is realized by Millennials, but all age groups are contributing to this trend and we don’t predict a slow down any time soon.”

Millennial women grew up participating in sports in school, and athletic wear was a part of their basic wardrobe. It is so much easier now to incorporate those pieces in your day-to-day wardrobe as lines like Athleta, one of my favorites, makes clothing that can go from workout to going out. There are also many ways to layer these new performance lines with traditional ready to wear lines.
One bonus to the new wave of athleisure wear is added SPF protection – it keeps sunburn at bay while spending days on the river or beaches.

The shops of Bluffton and Hilton Head Island make it easy for you dress with resort flair. They have so many great options, as many of their shops are built around the resort lifestyle. As Ralph Lauren writes in his self-titled book,

“I’ve always believed one could live many lives through the way we dress and the places we travel to, even if just in our imagination. The world is open to us, and each day is an occasion to reinvent ourselves.”

Isn’t it so wonderful that the women of Hilton Head can dress in such vibrant and relaxing ways? To enjoy their days on the river and shores, at the gym, and dining outdoors. We are lucky to live the low country life – to make resort living a lifestyle…Relax, Reflect and Recharge- Resort Girls!

Please find this story and others in “The Breeze” magazine.  June issue, pages 19 – 20 by Samantha Williams, Lifestyle Editor (and founder of Resort Girl)

Photo courtesy of Cocoon Boutique of Bluffton, SC: June Advertisement in “The Breeze” pg. 21

Recharge

Resort Girls, Add Flair to Your Resort Wear

June 15, 2018
RG-Tennis-Court

Resort Girls – This is a fun #repost on how to “Wear your Resort Wear”…

A flare gun isn’t needed when Resort Girls come out in their own style and showcase their flair. It definitely leaves its mark as others remember a RGs steps and style. And, when it comes to trendsetting style, glamorous athletic wear is now all the rage.

Professional athletes, actresses, and even country music singers, are now coming out with their own activewear lines. However, for many years, the choices in attractive active wear were very limited.

Years ago, when I began taking up golf, I spent a lot of time shopping around for women’s golf apparel – only to discover the lack of stylish choices. During my teens and twenties, I worked in the fashion and cosmetics industries, and I enjoyed styling for the course. And now, I’m delighted to see that glam athletic wear is popping up everywhere.

One place you can find the latest athletic wear fashions is at the wonderful PGA Tour superstore in Atlanta. This store is an amazing hub of all the top golf lines, featuring both apparel and accessories, for men and women – and all under one roof.

The store also has its own private line, from which I bought a lace golf skirt – now that’s flair! I made my latest visit during the East Lake PGA Tour dates when I needed to find just the right thing to complete my look since I had an invite the next day for one of the rounds.

As I was in the hotel locker room before the tour, a Resort Girl said, “Your outfit is so fun!” She went on to say, “I like how your colors match, all the way down to the knee socks, shoe laces and soles. I will remember that for the next masters, since so many of our outfits look alike.”

RG-Limo

As we chatted, we discovered that we were both of the same opinion that golf course and sport outings were just like any other social events – women want to stand out – they want to have flair. No woman wants to be on the same green or fairway in the same outfit.

This trend of a offering a wider selection of glamorous and stylish athletic apparel for Resort Girls to mix and match makes it so much easier for RGs to add flair to their wardrobe.

In my first photo shoot to promote Resort Girl, I chose pieces from Chris Evert’s new Chrissie line with Tail. The outfits in this line are amazing, with a high fashion vibe.

RG-Tennis-Style

My Chrissie tennis dress (above) was so elegant with the white silky fabric and delicate top netting – it easily went from the court into evening. I just popped on some leggings with a slim sweater and it was a winning set!

Now that it is fall and winter, flair can be added with socks, leggings, sweaters, stylish jackets and even beautiful woven caps and headbands. There are so many furry and warm options.

Resort Girls, let us know how you add flair to your resort wear in the cooler months. Share your style and flair withy us on Instagram and tag your pictures with #ResortGirl.