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I'm Erika Ward

Over a decade ago, I exchanged my corporate life in building construction for an opportunity to enhance your personal home via decoration and renovation.  My mission? To help busy professionals make their homes their sanctuaries.

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have to admit I felt a little silly writing the headline for this post considering the whole purpose of going on vacation is of course to relax, but then to experience something new. I love an adventure, but when traveling with kids I can enjoy myself a lot more when we are all comfortable. Two of the last three years we’ve rented this lovely beach home in the Seacrest Beach Community. Seacrest Beach lies between two other communities, Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach, (both easily within walking distance) alongside South Walton Scenic Hwy 30A. Each of these vacation homes have a charming name, this one is appropriately named Comfort and Joy!

The main living area is an open concept that allows you to interact with anyone in the living room, breakfast area, and kitchen.

TIP #1: Rent a home that’s appropriate for your family size. There’s 7 of us and we all love being together in the same room. If it had rained while in Seacrest Beach we’d have plenty of room to stretch out and wouldn’t be packed like sardines. 

TIP #2: I’ll first start by saying this kitchen had EVERYTHING you could possibly need from pots and pans of all sizes to ample dishes, serve-ware, cooking utensils, and glasses. However, if  you have something specific to your style of cooking or for us, sippy cups, don’t forget to pack those.

TIP#3: It’s nice to have an extra hand with the kids when traveling with a large family. We didn’t bring anyone with us this time, but I can imagine a nanny or grandparents to share this private master bedroom with en suite bath located on the first floor.  

TIP#4: If you have wee ones who are still in the crib or transitioning out of the crib, be prepared to bring with you or rent a crib or bed rails to keep them safe in your new accommodations.

TIP#5: We’ve all heard horror stories on the news about little ones who awake while their parents were sleeping and walk out of the house. Terrifying when you think of it. Since one of the smaller kids slept downstairs, we pretty much barricaded the door just in case he got any ideas.

This is the largest of the two master suites. It includes a sitting area where we read our morning devotion or just took a quick snooze with our feet propped on an ottoman.

TIP#6: If you have neck or back issues that require a special pillow, bring it with you. We were quite comfortable with the bedding provided but one year I was pregnant and glad I brought my long body pillow!

TIP#7: We burn candles in our bedroom at home but are much too paranoid to do this in a rental. If it would make you more comfortable bring candles, linen spray, or room spray that will help you to further relax in your temporary home.

Lastly, it’s great to be within walking distance to a pool and the beach. There’s also a community tram here that’ll give you a lift to your destination.

As with anything, you get what you pay for so I recommend the longer the stay, the better the accommodations. Each time we stay here for seven days and the last day is the hardest because we hate to leave.

Did I miss anything? What else can you do to make your vacation rental feel like home? Please share with us in the comments below. 

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  1. Valerie says:

    I love your vacation photos and your beautiful family! I would add another safety tip: make sure all dressers, chests, armoire etc are stable and will not topple over onto small children. I have been seeing reports on the news about tyke ones standing on lower pulled-out drawers to reach something up top…with the while thing tipping and falling onto the child. Sometimes es it c as n be tragic. Ikea has some products that have been recalled, and there are others. At home they should be secured/bolted to the wall.

  2. Sherry hart says:

    That place looks awesome! Glad you enjoyed yourself…..now back to work!

  3. Erika Taylor Steeples says:

    This was great! Thanks for the advice… I will make mental notes, as we might be headed on vacation soon.

  4. […] 7 ways to make your vacation rental feel like a home. […]



Over a decade ago, I exchanged my corporate life in building construction for an opportunity to enhance your personal home via decoration and renovation. My mission? To help busy professionals make their homes their sanctuaries.

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