Alys Beach, Florida | City Guide | 30A

This post is the first in a series featuring several towns along Florida’s famous Highway 30A. This post: Alys Beach, Florida. Next up: Rosemary Beach. 
City Guide to Alys Beach Florida 30A - Places to eat Where to Shop BrendaDaltoncom
When it time for gettin’ a little fancy on 30A, head to Alys Beach (pronounced like Alice!). Alys Beach is one of the newest communities along 30A and is coming along nicely over the last five years – new shops and quick eats are popping up all the time, plus they host a number of fabulous festivals and events.
Stop by the Alys Shoppe to pick up Alys Beach-branded tees, Tervis cups, beach towels and more, plus unique boutique items for men, women and children. A number of parks, pools and green spaces are thoughtfully placed throughout the community and while you need a code to access the beach and pools, the stunning New Urbanism plan in the community encourages you to wander and admire.
Fonville Press is the perfect way to start and end your day in Alys Beach. This multi-purpose storefront serves coffee and newspapers in the morning and cocktails, iced tea and lunch bites in the afternoon, and cocktails and conversation in the evenings. With charming little tables outside to enjoy the gulf breeze, it’s hard to be in a rush in this quiet, luxurious community.
Alys Beach City Guide | 30A Florida City Guide by brendadalton.com
George’s at Alys Beach‘s gluten-free selection has been raved about, especially for GF fine dining. Disclaimer: Fine dining on the beach is not the same as the rest of the world. Yes, the food is beautiful and delicious, but a sundress, capris or a nice top will do you just dandy. After all, we made our way to Alys Beach from Rosemary Beach on bikes for dinner!
George’s hosts a great number of indoor, covered and outdoor seating. With an expansive covered deck, you can duck out of the sun on those hot days or get a front row seat to the sunset on their patio.
This Alys Beach gem is the perfect spot for gluten-free diners. With half the menu with that lovely “GF” next to the items, there are plenty of options to choose from. Keep in mind their menu changes seasonally, so what might be mentioned here in the blog might not be what’s currently on the menu. Either way, don’t fret because it is alllllll delicious.

George's at Alys Beach offers great options for gluten-free dining to please every palate.

George’s at Alys Beach gluten-free musts: Jerk-crusted gulf snapper with forbidden black rice, pineapple salsa, plantains, and a coconut rum molasses

Last minute tips for a perfect stay on 30A in Alys Beach:

  • Arrive at George’s soon after they open for prime seating: They don’t take reservations
  • Rent a vacation home for a night or two to enjoy the pools, fitness center, and beach access
  • Stop for ice cream or a quick, casual bite to eat at one of the many food trucks and trailers situated near the amphitheater and Town Center

Disclaimer: Always contact restaurants in advance for their current gluten-free options and alert the restaurants you’re dining at if you have a gluten allergy or celiac disease. Reviews on brendadalton.com do not guarantee a cross contamination-free zone and complete safety from gluten or wheat.

2017 Father’s Day Gift Guide

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.


Let’s be honest: Your dad doesn’t really want a new necktie for Father’s Day. Does he ever wear neckties? Probably not anymore. Think outside the box of ties and wallets this Father’s Day and find the perfect gift to suit dads across the board, no matter his favorite hobby.

Gift for the Always Prepared Dad

Eton American Red Cross, Multi-Powered, Smartphone Charger, Weather Alert Radio and Flashlight in One
This gift covers several categories: The camper, the boy scout, the weather-wise dad… and many more! This multi-powered smartphone charger, weather alert radio and flashlight in one covers all the bases for being in the outdoors, dealing with weather emergencies or for the dad that just likes to put a little man-power into charging his phone. While it charges via USB, the cool thing about this all-in-one is that you can charge it by cranking the handle in case you lose access to power.

Gift for the Craft Beer Dad

Wooden Beer Caddy & Handcrafted Carrier
Treat dad to his favorite beers for Father’s Day, stored in a sturdy wooden six-pack holder with metal bottle opener. It features a clean, vintage design that fits in with any decor – whether it finds a place in the kitchen, on the porch, in the garage or displayed proudly in the man cave. Tip: You can mix and match bottled beer at most liquor stores – don’t forget to include a local brew, too.

Gift for the Zombie Apocalypse Dad

Zombie Preparedness Man Crate
Not only is this the perfect gift for a Walking Dead fan, this supply-filled crate can only be opened with a crowbar. Talk about a manly man gift! Complete with a Zombie Survival Guide, flashlight, first aid kit, duct tape, Spam and weapons (yes, weapons – how else will you rid the world of zombies?), you can upgrade each crate for more food and supplies like shovels and fire starters.

Gift for the Sky’s the Limit Dad

Flying Lessons or Flight Experience
If your dad loves the clear skies, is a history buff or generally loves the feeling of the wind beneath his wings, flying lessons are the perfect gift! Check out your local flight school or aviation museum for options. Many flight museums offer some of their historic aircraft for one-time flights or purchase a set number of lessons for dad to get his wheels off the ground and learn to pilot small aircraft.

Gift for the Fashion-Forward Dad

Your dad is always on time, but never responds to your messages? The Fossil Q Smartwatch is a stylish watch that can be dressed up or down and looks a bit more natural than the other smartwatch competitors. This watch can be set up for iPhone or Android, tracks your steps and can connect to texts, emails, calendar alerts and a number of different apps. Looking for a watch that’s a bit more classic and budget-friendly? Leather watches are always on trend.

Gift for the Tech-Savvy Dad

The technology on Amazon’s Echo has made leaps and bounds since it was released in 2014. Whether dad’s busting out the jams, ordering pantry items or catching up on the news that matters to him in the mornings, the Echo pairs with the most popular websites and apps for seamless information. For the father’s that’s really, really into technology, pair it with the Philips Hue Color Starter Kit and pair to with WeMo, Nest and other smart home technology for an all-in-one technology homebase. For a more budget-friendly option, check out the Echo Dot.

Gift for the Fitness Fanatic Dad

Fitbit Charge 2
Does your dad spend his weekends blazing new trails on his bike, collecting half-marathon medals or can’t go a Saturday morning without his Crossfit? No matter what workout suits his fancy, the Fitbit Charge 2 tracks sleep patterns, heart rate and displays calls and texts – perfect for when you want to remind him who his favorite child is, right? This Fitbit goes well beyond counting steps and alerts you to when you’re working within your ideal heart rate zone for fat burn, cardio and peak performance, whether he’s running, biking or weight lifting. The silent vibrating alarm is also a great feature so he doesn’t wake his better half for those 5 a.m. workouts.

Gift for the Jet-Setting Dad

Upgrade dad’s beat up suitcase with this modern, sturdy duffel. Perfect for weekend trips or business travel, this canvas and leather bag is carry-on friendly for flights and small enough for the car. Pair this bag with a gift card for and airline or his favorite out-of-town restaurant and you’ve given him the perfect excuse to put this bag to use!

What is on your dad’s wishlist this Father’s Day? 

Seaside, Florida | City Guide | 30A

This post is the first in a series featuring several towns along Florida’s famous Highway 30A. This post: Seaside, Florida. Next post: Alys Beach. 
City Guide to Seaside Florida 30A - Places to eat Where to Shop from BrendaDaltoncom
Seaside, Florida is a sweet little town on Florida’s famous Highway 30A. You may recognize it from The Truman Show. Remember how that little town Jim Carrey’s character lived in seemed a little TOO perfect? Well, it exists. In real life. And people actually live and play here. And it’s amazing.
In Seaside, you’ll find adorable boutiques like Willow + Woods, Bump & Baby for the littles and the family-owned Sundog Books. It also has the most charming little grocery and deli – with gluten-free desserts! – a row of food trailers, and a number of events at the Seaside Amphitheater like story time, farmers markets and concerts.
Seaside Beach Pavilion - Visiting Seaside Florida 30A
It’s also home to a number of beautiful beach pavilions designed by world-famous architects. Those alone are worth a quick stop and walk around!

Check out the best spots to see, dine and shop in Seaside, Florida! Click To Tweet

Bud & Alley’s

Bud & Alleys - Seaside Florida - Gluten Free - Visitors Guide
Our first stop in Seaside was a visit to Bud & Alley’s for breakfast. If you’re looking for THE view of the beach, the gulf and the crystal clear waters while having a drink and a bite to eat… don’t go anywhere else but Bud & Alley’s.
While the gluten-free options were limited, I was still able to dine on a huuuuuge omelet with fresh veggies and a slightly spicy crumbled chicken sausage and fruit. Not kidding with the huuuuuge part. It could have easily been split between two people with room to spare!
Just stopping by for a drink? The bar has a clever little trick: Despite the bar’s facing away from the gorgeous views, they’ve installed a mirror that gives you – yes, those same ideal landscape that’s right behind you without making your turn around on your stool. After all, turning around too many times in a bar stool with a mojito in hand could end dangerously.
Bud & Alley’s gluten-free breakfast musts: Omelet of the day (check with your server for GF options!) and a killer view

Great Southern Cafe

Courtesy of Great Southern Cafe

Courtesy of Great Southern Cafe

 

Ah, Great Southern Cafe. This is one of my faaaaavorite joints on all of 30A – it’s a combination of amazing food, friendly, accommodating staff, a no-rush attitude and a cool breeze under a glorious covered patio. Oh, and the best mojitos on the planet don’t hurt, either.

These folks are pretty well-versed on gluten-free dining. Most of the fish dishes are a great call – the balsamic salmon salad is a home run and who can ever go wrong with gulf shrimp one block from the gulf? For those non-gluten-free diners, I’ve heard the Mahi sandwich, gumbo and fried green tomatoes are all a can’t miss.
However.
HOWEVER.
Let me introduce you to one of my favorite meals in the entire world: Grits à Ya Ya.
It’s a relatively simple shrimp and grits dish, but with melt-in-your-mouth smoked gouda added to the grits and a topping of applewood smoked bacon, spinach and mushrooms. You’d think this would be a heavier dish while traipsing on the beach, but somehow, the Great Southern Cafe makes it work.
Let your server know you have a gluten allergy and with a minor change, this dish is easily gluten-free! After three times dining here, I’ve never once gotten a photo of my shrimp and grits. Why? Because it smells so delicious, I dive in before I can even take a photo. No lie. Self-control is brutal and sometimes you have to just go for the grits.
Great Southern Cafe gluten-free musts: Caprese salad, Grits à Ya Ya, coconut mojito

Last minute tips for a perfect stay on 30A in Seaside:

  • Bring an umbrella: Pop-up showers are incredibly common.
  • Grab a postcard at Sundog Books: Mail it at one of the cutest post offices in the country
  • Leave your car in park: Seaside is incredibly walkable and you can make use of the bikes to get around
  • Get to the beach early: Seaside has several public beach access points, unlike many other towns along 30A

 

Disclaimer: Always contact restaurants in advance for their current gluten-free options and alert the restaurants you’re dining at if you have a gluten allergy or celiac disease. Reviews on brendadalton.com do not guarantee a cross contamination-free zone and complete safety from gluten or wheat.

Relaxed Dinner Party Playlist | Spotify Playlist

This dinner party playlist is part of our series of Spotify playlists for every occasion.
View the whole series here!

Relaxed Chill Dinner Party Playlist from Spotify - brendadaltoncom | Music

 

RSVPs counted. check.

Clean house. check.

Cocktails mixed. check.

Sound of crickets. wait, what?!

Before your first guest walks in the door, make sure you have a playlist ready to go! After all, what’s a party without a good Spotify playlist that sets the mood?

Download the relaxed dinner party playlist!

This dinner party playlist is perfect for those chill nights catching up with friends over drinks, especially for those summer patio parties.

Add this playlist to your faves and let the casual tunes run for the evening! This playlist has hints of blues, acoustic covers, hipster features, and off-the-beaten-path picks. Featuring the 1975, Hozier, HAIM, The Lumineers, Ray Lamontagne, Leon Bridges, The Civil Wars, and many more.

 

Sensitive Skin Beauty Products

Best Sensitive Skin Beauty Products

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.


The Best Sensitive Skin Beauty Products by brendadalton.com including The Honest Company, CeraVe, Caudalie and more! Visit brendadalton.com to read more.

 

One of the biggest battles for ladies with autoimmune diseases and sensitive skin is finding the best sensitive skin beauty products that don’t irritate!

As I’ve probably mentioned once or twice or a thousand times here on the blog, I have a gluten allergy. The thing is, for the longest time I didn’t realize that beauty products that had some sort of wheat or gluten had a negative effect on my skin, too.

I was all about the oatmeal scrubs and shampoos for their sweet smell, even if they were approved for sensitive skin, no parabens and other nasty stuff, or even products marketed as safe for babies, yet… I was always breaking out. Soon enough came the epiphany: duh, gluten was in my hair products!

When looking for the best beauty products for sensitive skin, always keep an eye out for sulfates, parabens and gluten (the latter only if you are, in fact, sensitive/allergic to gluten, of course!). Reach for those hypoallergenic brands. Here’s a rundown of my top five favorite sensitive skin beauty products:

TONYMOLY I’m Real Sheet Masks

When I pair these heavenly smelling sheet masks with an epsom salt bath in my jacuzzi tub, everything is right in the world. Sure, you look a little scary when the sheet mask is on, but I use these 1-2 times per week to add a little extra moisture, soothe and rejuvenate my skin.

It also doesn’t hurt that these smell heavenly! My favorites of the TONYMOLY I’m Real Sheet Masks are the red wine, tea tree, and rice. They each have a specific purpose and even the more strange scents like tomato are surprisingly relaxing and lovely to smell.

Caudalie Micellar Water

I wasn’t sure what to think of the Micellar Water trend when it first hit. What happened to soap and water? Why do they call it water? How is it even going to clean my skin? Y’all. This little product is now in my nightly and morning routine. I have combination skin, so I never know when I’m going to wake up oily or dry.

As long as I use this micellar water, I have no issues. It’s gentle on my super sensitive skin, yet is still powerful enough to take off waterproof mascara at the end of the day with two cotton swabs. It has a very light, soothing scent and as a bonus, it boasts toning properties as well.

Baebody Eye Gel

I’ll be real: I have a little bit of a love-hate relationship with the Baebody Eye Gel. I’m 30. I know I need to use some sort of eye moisturizer on a daily basis, but there’s something about putting more things on my face after I cleanse. But, I notice a massive difference on the mornings after I use this Eye Gel. It’s a little sticky when you first put it on, but after about 5-10 minutes, you don’t feel a thing. It is tremendous in clearing up puffiness and under-eye circles.

My eye wrinkles are hardly existent (thanks, Ray Bans), but I do think this eye gel has played a massive part in it over the last year, too! I’ve tried dozens of different brands of eye moisturizers and this is the only one I’ve encountered that doesn’t sting or break me out — and breaking out on the sensitive skin around your eye is the worst!

Honest Company Orange Blossom Shampoo & Body Wash and Orange Blossom Conditioner

Not only did I find a gluten-free shampoo and conditioner duo from The Honest Company, but it’s made without silicones, parabens, synthetic fragrances, dyes, formaldehyde carriers, ethoxylates or PEGs. And it’s vegan! They now have a scent-free version if your skin is sensitive to any type of fragrance, but the orange blossom is my all-time favorite since it leaves a subtle scent in your hair that isn’t overpowering one bit. I just love this stuff.

Pssst, you can get 30% and free shipping on your first bundle from The Honest Company through this link! I set mine up to deliver every 6-8 weeks with shampoo, body wash, and sunscreen!

CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion

This one is a beauty staple for anyone with sensitive skin. It’s mild, no fragrance and doesn’t leave your skin feeling gooey like a lot of lotions. My routine is jump out of the shower, CeraVe it up, and within just a few minutes, my skin is dry and smooth and ready to get dressed. In my opinion, trying to put clothes on when your lotion is still wet and hasn’t soaked in is the absolute worst, especially if they leave streaks on your clothes. None of that with CeraVe lotion. I even keep the travel sizes in my purse!

Sensitive skin beauty products honorable mentions:


Disclaimer: Not all beauty products may be a good fit for your skin, despite claims of hypoallergenic, sensitive-skin safe, etc. These recommendations are an opinion only and brendadalton.com is not liable for any reactions or outcomes by purchasing products listed. Always test on a small portion of skin and check with your doctor for professional advice!