How to clean your seashells

OK, so you’ve taken our advice, gone shelling and scooped up some sensational keeper shells. Shells that can be centerpieces, shells that can be used for crafts and shells that you’ll most certainly remember for years to come. But now what?

Well, now’s the time to help those shells really come back to life by cleaning them and getting as much shine as possible. Today, we’re going to share a few tips as to how you can clean your shells and make them look as radiant and beautiful as possible. Let’s jump right in!

Vinegar

Using vinegar is easy, it’s simple and it’s cheap. Use a small amount of vinegar into a bowl or cup and use a toothbrush to gently scrub the shell. You might have to do this a few times to get the desired effect. Once you’re done, simply wash the shell with soap and water. That being said – be sure to NOT soak your shell in vinegar as it’ll have a corrosive effect. Simply using the acidic nature of the substance to clean out the dirt and then cleaning it out should do the trick. 

Hydrogen peroxide

HP is always a winner. Simply place the shells in a small bowl and use just enough HP to cover the shells. Let it soak for a few hours until you notice a small film at the top. HP has invasive properties that make quick work of bacteria. Then simply rinse your shells and set them aside. 

Bleach/Water combo

While this isn’t the most natural way to clean your shells, it’s most definitely effective. That being said, don’t leave them soaking in this solution for long as the bleach can fade the color and also leave that not-so-pleasant odor behind. That being said – if you’re looking for a quick solution that will work – this one might be for you. 

One to avoid

There are a lot of blogs out there that will recommend Muriatic acid as a method to clean shells. We recommend that you stay away. Does it work? Absolutely. Does it produce spectacular results? You bet. Is it totally and unnecessarily dangerous? You bet. Acid can burn your skin and if you get any on you, you have to neutralize it with other chemicals and well, you get the picture. Don’t do it. Shelling is fun but that’s a little too hardcore for our tastes. While it’s not a solution like these other mentions, it’s certainly a tip that we hope you abide by. Just stay away. 

There are millions of ways to clean seashells and these are just a few. Some folks boil shells, some bury them, freeze them, put them in the dishwasher – it can get wild! But stick to these three primary methods and we can guarantee gorgeous, radiant shells. Good luck!

How to find the best shells on the beach

Summer means a lot to many, but for us shellers – it’s time for the prime shelling season to begin! Shelling is a relaxing, fulfilling hobby for many, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy a little competition now and then and that’s what today’s blog is going to be all about. 

Today, we’re going to be talking about some of the things you can do to find the very BEST shells out on the beach. Not nice ones, not shells in abundance – but the best possible shells. Here’s what you can do to beat the rush and add a shell to your collection that you’ll never forget. Let’s jump right in!

Jump into ‘the wrack’

Sounds dangerous, right? Well, it’s not! The ‘wrack’ is shell hunting lingo for the area just above the high tideline. That’s the place that you’re most likely to find the best shells. Depending on what kind of beach you’re on, you’ll find just about everything there – from seaweed and a foot of sponges to fans, boat parts and even jellyfish (ok, so it’s a little dangerous). But you’ll also find the very best possible shells that so happen to be in the very best possible condition. 

Take a little adventure

The summer is the best time for shell hunting, but talk to the hardcore shelling community and they’ll insist that the best time to find shells is actually in the winter right after storms. The churn of the ocean usually dishes out all sorts of goodies onto the beach and once the storm has subsided – it might be your best bet to score something special. 

Others recommend keeping an eye on the moon cycle. Why? Because it’s the time where you’ll see the greatest variance between high and low tides. And while we all get superstitious about things like a full moon, there’s nothing left to chance, here. Full moons and higher tides mean you’ll find the best shells. 

Mixing it up

Most of us like to more or less mix in our shelling patterns with a day at the beach – but ‘the day’ really isn’t the best time to go shelling. If you want to find the best shells – head out early in the morning, while it’s still a little cool out and the beach hasn’t been picked dry by casual beach goers. There, alone in your solitude – you’ll find the very best shells and even some exotic items that can become memorable staples of your collection. Don’t be afraid to go out during off-peak hours!

Hopefully these tips make it a little bit easier for you to find the best shells. Shelling is a wonderful activity that will provide you with lots to do and bring plenty of fulfillment. Most important, it’s a great activity to be shared in the company of others. Good luck out on the beach this summer!

How to get the most out of your next shelling expedition

Springtime is the prime shelling season! Not only are they washing up on beaches everywhere, but right about now is peak Spring vacation season as well, which means it’s a great opportunity to take your family on a little shelling expedition. 

In order to set you and yours up for the most shelling success possible, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind as you prowl the beach. Today, we’re going to share out a few tips to help you find the best possible shells. Let’s jump right in!

Go early in the morning

If you can, try to get to the beach nice and early. For one, the beaches will be untouched by the tourists, meaning you’ll have the proverbial pick of the litter when it comes to shells. Second, the sun isn’t too hot, which means you can take your time and not have to worry about missing out on any treasures. Third, the tides are usually low and lots of shells will be washed up on the shore. Get there early and you’ll find plenty of amazing shells. 

Look in the places you wouldn’t

Always take a look in the nooks and crannies of your beach. Check behind boulders, look in logs and comb in places where you see lots of shells. You never know where a great shell might be hiding that hundreds of other people might have overlooked. 

Go where the sand is wet

In order to find the best shells, look along or below the wrack line. This is going to be the place where shells will wash up during high tide overnight. In addition – those shells are likely to be in better condition, too. Most shells that get trapped above the wrack line tend to be bleached and sun bleached. The ones below will be fresh out of the water. 

Clean your shells when you’re done

When you get home, soak your shells in water for up to a week. After that, take a paper towel or brush (a shell-exclusive tooth brush works best) to scrub out all the excess sand and debris. Lastly, use some shine and buff your shells with a food safe mineral oil. This will give your shells an extreme shine and sparkle and make them ripe for display or for use in crafts. 

Shelling is one of the best activities you can enjoy with your family. Hopefully these tips will lead to an even better experience for all involved. Good luck and enjoy the beach!

Ways you can save money on your next beach vacation

While there are certainly package deals that might save you a buck or two, the reality is that big beach vacations aren’t cheap! If you are looking to escape to the beach with your family and not melt your budget, there are ways that you can enjoy a beach front vacation without burning a hole in your pocket. 

Here are some tips that will help you have fun while not overspending yourself into a problem place during your next beach vacation. Let’s jump right in.

Get off the beach

Well, we don’t mean that literally, but then again we kind of do! Yes, you can spend lots of time on the beach but you don’t need to stay in a home or hotel directly ON it. Instead, choose a home or AirBNB a little farther away or a little further inland. 

One of your most significant expenses will be accommodations, so adding a little to your walk or staying in a slightly quieter area of town will help trim some of that expense. Do that, and you’ll save a significant amount of money. 

Tourist traps – avoid ‘em

Are you thinking of heading to Miami or Key West this winter? Choose Tampa instead. The beaches are just as nice but the hotels and, well… everything else – will cost you about ⅔’s of what you’d pay at the other two. We’re not telling you that you MUST vacation in Tampa, but take the principal of this and apply it to your trip. 

Stay away from the areas that are a little bit TOO popular. There are always comparables and things to do that are just as fun, if not altogether more authentic – in other areas of town that won’t melt a hole in your pocket. Sometimes alternatives can be just as good. 

Go off calendar

When we say ‘off calendar’ we don’t necessarily mean ‘offseason.’ We mean off Calendar. Baseball fans like going to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown during induction – but if you go right at the beginning of the season in April? You’ll spend ⅓ of the money and not have to deal with the crowds. While you won’t have super warm weather, it won’t be non-baseball weather and while you won’t get the buzz of induction weekend – all the usual vendors and shops are fully open and functional. Minus some bells and whistles – you’ll get the whole package for the most part.

Beaches – especially down here in Florida – are the same thing. There’s peak times, there’s dead times – but then there’s those transition periods in-between. Choose that and you’ll save a solid 30% on your next vacation tab. 

Bring your own food

People always make the mistake of eating out constantly when they’re on vacation. Bring a little food with you – even if you just plan on eating a small breakfast and making a sandwich for yourself for lunch. Want to go out for dinner? Go for it. But you don’t need to eat out every, single meal. You’ll be surprised at what $50-$75 in groceries can do for you in terms of saving a lot of money on a vacation. Try to eat on your own tab when you can.

Budget

Budget your money! Determine what you want to spend on lodgings and stick to it. Set a budget for the spontaneous and fun things you know will pop up. Set a budget for eating out. By simply budgeting, you’ll have a clearer idea of what you want to do, can afford to do and what you probably should do. And when you know what you should do and your goal is saving money, then, well – you’ll likely save yourself some coin.

Going to the beach doesn’t have to be expensive. Stick to the tips above and you’ll have a great time without the guilt afterwards that you went a little overboard. Get organized, stay disciplined and good luck!

The four pillars of a great beachfront vacation

Sure, it’s January, but it’s that time of year when everyone is getting ready to go on vacation again and for many of you – that vacation is going to be spent at the beach. There’s nothing quite like the sand, the sun and the sea! To help you and your family get ready for your next big adventure, we’ve put together a blog of some fun beach hacks that will help you have more fun and get more out of your next prolonged trip to the beach. Let’s jump right in!

Choose a beach that’s right for your family

Beaches come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and yes – surfaces, too. You should be spending your time thinking about which one will work best for your family. Shell and sea glass beaches are lots of fun for the curious, adventurous and collectors out there. Pebble beaches are beautiful but require some water shoes to protect those sensitive feet. And then of course, there’s everyone’s favorite – the sandy beach – which are great for splashing, swimming and playing sports. Whatever your family’s interests or tastes might be – should dictate what beach you choose. 

Scout out fun away from the beach

Beachfront destinations are almost always sunny and warm, but the odds are that one of those days, it won’t be sunny and warm. In fact, it could be downright nasty. And even if the weather doesn’t go south, you and your kids might get a little bored of the same thing every day. There’s nothing wrong with mixing things up! Find a cozy movie theater, perhaps a boardwalk with lots of thrift shops, bowling, travel games and the like – are all great beach vacation activities that don’t involve the beach. Be sure to mix them in!

Pack accordingly

When you head to the beach, make sure you’re prepared. That means lots of fun snacks, lots of swim trunks, floatees, beach toys, sunscreen and plenty of changes of clothes. We’re big fans of inflatables, largely because they’re both cheap and easy to pack. And hey – if they break or pop, it’s no sweat off your shoulders. But make sure you not only bring plenty of clothes, but plenty of things, activities and toys for the little ones to enjoy and keep them occupied. 

Safety first

If you’re going to the beach then it’s time to have a conversation with everyone about safety. Make sure everyone understands that if there’s no sunscreen, then there’s no beach. Bring plenty of water and drinks to keep folks hydrated and fruits high in potassium like coconut and bananas. Also make sure the kids know what their boundaries are when they’re at the beach from where they can walk and explore how deep into the water they can go without your supervision. Remember, everyone’s here for a good time and so long as everyone knows the rules, you can rest assured that your vacation will be just that – a good time. 

Hopefully these tips help make planning that next beach vacation a little easier! Have fun, stay safe and enjoy the time off! You’ve earned it!

How the beach is the perfect place to make your New Year’s Resolutions a reality

So everyone has all sorts of New Year’s Resolutions every year. Some folks want to lose weight and get healthy. Some folks want to get a new job and learn a new skill. Others just want to read more. Whatever you feel like your resolutions are, we know they’re important to you and here’s to hoping you accomplish exactly what you’re hoping to achieve in 2021. 

That being said, we’re beach junkies. Shells, lifestyle, you name it. And no matter what it is – the beach can serve as a tremendous space to accomplish many of those common New Year’s Resolutions and goals. This month, we’re going to break down some of the more popular New Year’s Resolutions and show you how and why they’re easy to accomplish when you’re at the beach. Let’s jump right in!

Saving money

Perhaps the easiest way to save money is not blowing a ton of it on a vacation. And the best vacations (and sometimes the most cost-effective) are at the beach. Why’s that? Because most of the things you can do at the beach are free. Walks on the beach? Free. Coastal sunrises and sunsets? Free. Nature trails and parks? Free. Fishing, surfing, exercising, building sandcastles, collecting shells, kids entertainment? All those are free, too. You got it. 

Exercising more

There are a number of ways you can get yourself in shape on the beach. You can run, go for bike rides, do yoga, go for walks and play beach games like soccer, volleyball and frisbee. But in the water is where you’ll be likely to get the most benefit. Swimming is one of, if not THE most healthy full body workout your body can have. If you’re looking to whip your behind back into shape in 2021? Then hit the beach. 

Reading

Let’s be honest. Books and the beach go hand in hand. Whether you’re on vacation in your beautiful Air B&B rental or taking the edge off on the weekend, don’t forget to bring your book and catch up on some fun reading. Reading is food for the brain and it encourage you to slow down, unplug and get back into a simpler, more purposeful life. And that’s something all of us could use!

Reconnecting with friends

Maybe its because we’re more laid back while we’re there – or maybe we’re just happier at the beach – but making new friends happens quickly and easily at the beach. Just as important – it helps you reconnect with old friends. It’s cheap entertainment, so it’s great to go with friends and their families. And whether it’s being active or simply sitting back, sipping some suds and unpacking old, hilarious memories – the beach will provide you with the platform to do so. 

So what’s your New Year’s Resolution? We want to know! Share in the comments. If you don’t already have one, take the time to think about what’ll help make a better ‘you’ in 2021. Good luck and we’ll see you next month!

Why not spend the holidays at the beach?

Whenever we think of Christmas and the holidays we think of snow, fireplaces, Christmas trees and comfort food. After all – that’s the good stuff! But the holidays also come with some downside: crazy family, overwhelming shopping, wrapping, baking and preparation. Even with that though, it’s hard to break with a season that’s so tied to tradition. 

That being said, bringing Christmas to the beach might be easier than you think. This month, we’re going to give you a few reasons why you might want to consider doing things a little differently this year and escape the usual. If there ever was a year to do things differently, it’s this one. 

The holiday rush is…. A lot. 

You might be surprised to hear this, but experts have suggested that there’s more stress on people during the holidays than at any other point of the year. And this has been one stressful year! Emergency rooms see more people for stress related illnesses in November and December than they do in any other period of the year. Instead of stressing, why not allow yourself a little freedom to celebrate the holidays on the beach? How about just getting away from it all and clearing your mind?

Why not start a new tradition?

It’s hard to break from a routine you’ve had for years – but this year has shown us just how important it is to be able to adapt. Maybe this beach vacation includes the same rental home every year. Or includes a local, ‘can’t miss’ holiday festival. If you and your family are up for an adventure, maybe it includes visiting a new place each year. Whatever it is – it’s good to break from routine now and then. 

Memories are the best gifts

Presents and things come and go. It’s the memories we create and the time we spend with each other that matters the most. Instead of wandering through aisles looking for the perfect present, why not focus on spending quality time with your family? We guarantee – it’ll beat any gift you can find on a shelf. 

There’s lots of deals out there

Winter is an ideal time for finding great travel deals on accommodations and attractions. If you’re not one to plan too far in advance, you can most definitely find all sorts of deals right around now that are last minute, ‘getaway’ travel packages. 

Yes, Christmas can be celebrated at the beach! You don’t have to ditch your traditions just because you’re on the coast. Pack those stockings, a book and some energy for a new experience and we promise you – Santa will find you! Hopefully, this blog gave you a little inspiration and something to think about this holiday season. Good luck and above all else – have a healthy, happy and safe holiday season!

Redesigning your living room with a coastal flair

With everyone more or less hunkered down right now, working in the comfort of our own homes; we know that winter is coming, but so are the holidays and then eventually the spring. And it’s those days that remind us all that we could all really use a getaway. And if you’re like us down here in sunny Florida, you’re dreaming of lazy days by the ocean and afternoons lounging around aimlessly in that coastal-style beach home of your dreams. 

While that real vacation has to wait, your tastes certainly don’t. And with all this time on our hands, why not think about doing a little redecorating? Why not bring a little of that coastal beach vibe to your home? If you can’t go there, bring it here!

Today, we’re going to talk specifically about your living room and some of the things that you can do to give it that perfect coastal flair. Everything we suggest in here is simple – and can be done by either getting something new or by simply using what you have a little bit better. Let’s jump right in!

First off…

You’re going to want to take into consideration exactly what you want versus what you actually need. There’s dozens and dozens of ways and styles you can go with – ranging from refined and sophisticated to eclectic and modern, so before you run into the ocean – think about what you want. 

Style and comfort

If your style leans to a more tailored and traditional look, then a Nantucket style, east coast look might be more for you. These spaces are dynamic in that they’re built for comfort and relaxation but bring with them an air of classic and sophisticated furnishings, symmetrical layouts and elegant nautical motifs. It all adds up to a chic, composed – but relaxing and welcoming space. 

Key elements

To pull together this kind of a living room, you’ll have to do the following:

A more formal layout – When it comes to these sorts of rooms, symmetry and balance are the name of the game. Chaos does not reign! The shape is what gives it its formal and elegant look and you’ll see many things within them that mirror each other – so for example two couches, matching mirrors and the like. It’s a great way to establish some sort of sense of order in your space. 

Classic and crisp – Coastal design all revolves around the concept of weaving blues, white tones and light natural hughes into your color palette. What you’ll want to go for is bold contrast- so for example, mix in that very blue sofa with creamy white pillows. Less blending, more contrasting. 

Natural material – The great thing about coastal living rooms is that you can use a whole range of natural materials you’ve found at the beach within the space to really give it a character unto itself. Driftwood, seashells, beach-themes accessories, woven rugs – you name it, it’ll fit. Don’t be shy! These are the sorts of things that giver authenticity to your space. 

It’s perfect for you if…

  • You enjoy an elegant look without elegant stuffiness
  • You want a space for conversations that can moonlight as a formal space, but mostly functions without overt grandeur.
  • Appreciate large-scale, open and versatile spaces
  • A look that’s timeless and can last for years. 

With all that downtime, you might as well have something to do, right? Hopefully these ideas gave you a little inspiration! If you’re looking for the perfect accent pieces for your space, feel free to browse our website or give us a call. Until then, stay safe, happy designing and good luck!

Shell decor that will leave you thinking of the beach year-round

Obviously, our favorite activity at the beach is collecting shells. The variety – not only in terms of the colors, but also the shapes and texture – of shells, is what makes these natural wonders such an amazing gift to use with crafts. Every time we go to the beach, there’s always a few ziplock bags full.

That being said – if you’re not like us down here in the Clearwater, FL area; you don’t always get to enjoy the beach year-round and even those that do can’t be there all the time. Today, we’re going to share a few seashell decorations that can happily remind you of the beach year-round and keep you oh-so closer to a place we all love. Let’s jump right in!

Canning Jar

Want to give your coastal kitchen a little extra kick? The old sea shells in the mason jar craft is an outstanding (and surprisingly versatile) decoration. They probably work best with stand dollars, but other types of shells can work as well. They look best in groupings of two or three and serve as a perfect rough-around-the-edges compliment.

And don’t kid yourself – this decoration can work in any kind of kitchen – even more rustic design schemes. 

Flower bed decorations 

We’ve actually mentioned this one in past blogs about a year or so ago. Sea shells can work as an interesting decorative compliment to your garden growth or can even serve as a focal point – especially in some of those extra ‘bare’ areas in and around your backyard that might need some covering up. Just a few concks or several smaller sand dollars can really add some depth and drama to your yard. 

Shell wreaths

This one is great – especially as something you can do with your kids. Especially when we’re longing for the beach during those long winters, this nice holiday accent can be a friendly reminder of warmer days ahead. You can decorate them however you like as well – whether singularly colored or multicolored and a bit busier. Either way, it’s a piece of decor that you can use year-round in your home. 

Shell magnets

If you’re like the majority of Americans, the front of your fridge is probably a mess and a few new magnets might be in order anyway. And for some of those shells you’ve never gotten around to using; shell magnets can be the perfect way to use them. And just like with shell wreaths it’s a great way to include your kids in the process. Let them make their own magnets for their own schedules, projects and artwork. You can’t go wrong!

Hopefully these ideas gave you a little inspiration about how you can use shells to help keep that beach feeling in your home year-round. Good luck and we’ll see you next month!

ON finding the best shells

Without a doubt – the best part of shelling is the hunt for great shells, itself. It’s both exciting and relaxing at the same time – which isn’t something you can say about most hobbies. Today, we’re going to let you in on a few of our trade secrets so to speak; and share our strategies and tips for not only finding the best shells; but finding them in abundance and also – how you can get the most out of your experience. 

Here’s how you can find the best shells out on the beach. Let’s jump right in!

Go early in the morning

Like they say in life ‘timing is everything’ and when it comes to shelling, the same rule holds true. Low tide is almost always the best time to go in search of shells. And even more specific than that – low tides in the spring during a full or new moon are even better. 

Not only will you find hordes of shells washed up in the sand, but you’ll be beating the crowds by being on the beach earlier. And if you’re someone who doesn’t like the heat, it’s generally cooler in the morning and the sun isn’t as bright – so overall, it’s a more comfortable experience. 

Go where others won’t

Now before we say anything – the #1 rule as always is to stay safe. No shell is worth getting hurt over, ever. That being said, there’s a lot to be said for moving to the spaces where people don’t want to – or don’t often go to. Check out the large boulders by the jetty and peak behind rocks. Turn over that piece of driftwood that washed up overnight and see what’s underneath. Climb into the mangrove clump. Be adventurous and look in less obvious places. You never know what you’ll find!

Try to stay where the sand is wet

Generally speaking, you’ll find the best (and most) shells right in or below the wrack line. The wrack line is where the tide came in the night before. You’ll most definitely find shells in the dry part of the stand, but they’ll be sun bleached and worn out a bit. The best and newer shells will be in the wet stuff. Especially when you’re dealing with things like mangrove clumps, you’ll notice they tend to hold their shells right at about the wrack line, so try to stay in that area. 

Take your time

We’ve been doing this a long time and when we think about the best pieces we’ve ever found – well, we didn’t really find them. They found us. And taking your time and not rushing is key to that. Sure, there’s an element of the hunt that’s fun! We all like the pursuit, after all. But shelling is one of those things where the best shells run into you. And the best results and experiences come from just getting lost in a little piece of real estate on the shoreline and combing through a pile of shells. And then there you have it- that all elusive Junonia. Or a laced murex, wentletrap or a gaudy natica that you just watched 15 people walk past. The joy of shelling is getting lost in it, so take your time and let yourself get lost!

Hopefully these tips will help you become better shellers. Let those waves wash away your cares and enjoy the ocean and all it has to offer!

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