Life Lately: An Update on All Fronts

Scottish Sunrise | St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland | The Gallivant

Happy Wednesday Everyone! The past few weeks have been pretty wild, and I never had a chance to post our Month 11 Marriage update so I thought that I would just give a few quick life updates today. I write a lot about things we are doingbut I also love to share occasionally about how we are doing because I feel that that is more authentic and authenticity is of the utmost importance here. This post is a little bit of both :-)

Life lately:

John soloed and started the Aerobatics portion of Primary, which he has been loving. Typically once students complete their solos they gain "cred" with their instructors, and the rapport is a little more relaxed. Aero is fast paced, (he will hopefully solo on Friday, only a week after his last solo) but John has been enjoying flying everyday and learning the maneuvers. Check out this and this for a better idea of the type of stuff he has been working on.  (Total adrenaline junkie..)

He also flew his first night flight on Monday night, which he said was nerve wracking and awesome all at once.  While he was flying I had a movie night with some girlfriends (Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason-never gets old..) and when I got home I looked up into the sky and was  amazed that one of those tiny moving lights could be my husband. Wild. It's sort of hard to explain, but when I listen to him talk about flying ie. actually being able to fly a plane I feel so awestruck at the fact that that is what he does everyday when he goes to work. It's hard to articulate, and that is just one of the many reasons I am proud of John, but it  reminds me of what a blessing it is to be married to a man that I so strongly admire. 

Our best friends moved away, and it is tough. Our friends Haley and Travis moved to Kingsville, Texas, last Friday, where Travis will start advanced training for Jets. While we are so excited for them as he moves forward in his career, we were also so sad to see them go. They were like family to us, and we will miss them so much. I have lived in a few different  places over the past decade, (Boarding school, Scotland, Massachusetts, Virginia) and said my fair share of goodbyes. Leaving Fredericksburg (My college town) and all of the incredible friends I made there was probably one of the hardest transitions I have made so far, but I would say that this goodbye was a close second. In many ways it seems like a milestone in our Navy career, because this was the just the first of many times that we will say goodbye to sweet friends that we have made in the places the Navy sends us, whether because they are moving or because we are moving. So begins the process of finding the balance between letting myself be a little sad and the "get used to it" attitude. The truth I will cling to is that just because we don't know exactly how long people will be in our immediate lives there is no excuse not to pursue deep and meaningful friendships.  The good news is that we have so many amazing friends still here with us in Pensy, so I know that we won't be lonely, and Haley and Trav are just a road trip away. 

One sweet outcome of Haley and Trav's move is that I have been so reminded of God's faithfulness over the past week. As I have thought back over the 11 months we spent together here in Pensacola, John and Travis supporting each other through flight school, Haley and I supporting each other as we learned to support our husbands, and all of us traversing new marriages together-- I realized that their friendship was the answer to a prayer that I, as well as many other people, prayed for months leading up to our move to Pensacola. Because of them, John and I know more of His goodness and His provision,  and are assured that He does hear our prayers and delights in answering them. We are nearing the part of Flight school where many of our friends will select and move away, (unless they get Helos) and I am so grateful for this perspective now, at the beginning. This is one the harder parts of Navy life, but I am comforted by the fact that we do not live our lives at the whim of the Navy, but rather in the hands of the Almighty. 

Finally, I started a new job (sort of)! For a few months now I have been baking homemade pound cakes and muffins for a boutique bed and breakfast in downtown Pensacola, The Lee House. I was filling in at the front desk occasionally for them, but I  just started working there consistently two days a week. It has been a blast, and I adore the awesome team I work with. I have a little bit of hospitality experience from my summer spent interning with FOCUS, but I am excited to learn way more about the industry. Lee House also hosts the most beautiful weddings and events, so I am pumped to get a little peek into the Events industry as well! I have been training there these past few weeks, so that plus my normal work hours at Bluetique along with baking and writing at home have kept me pretty busy the past few days, but I am loving every second of it. 

What's new with you?! Anything cool that you have been experiencing or learning about? I would love to hear!

xoxo,

Emily

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Anatomy of a Casual Get Together

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One of my favorite parts of getting married, and subsequently shacking up, has been entertaining in our home. Whether for dinner, or to celebrate a birthday, game night, or just hanging out, it is such a joy to have our friends in our apartment. John and I decided early on that we wanted to have the kind of home where our door is always open and we are ready to receive our friends at a moments notice, striving to always make them feel welcomed, cherished, and comfortable. We have been so blessed to have the space we have, and we want to share it. This means that often we invite people over spontaneously, and with little notice. I love impulsive and casual get togethers, but they don't leave me enough time to cook an elaborate meal or clean the house thoroughly. Because of this, I have established a little routine that I can manage with just 10 minutes notice, in order to pull the apartment together and set a fun and relaxed vibe. The anatomy of a casual get-together, if you will. 

1. I love candle light, especially opposed to harsh over head lights. At night I love to shut off our over head lights in our living room, turn on our lamps, and light tons of pretty gold votive candles we have both on our coffee table and our mantle, as well as lovely scented one on the bar. 

2. Good background music is an essential in our house. We cast Pandora to our TV with our Chromecast, which we love, but my parents also have a Jambox back home in Boston and it rocks. I try to have the candles lit and the music playing first so that at the very least our friends walk into that if they come early.

3. Who doesn't love something to munch on? To me, snacks are essential. I am a complete sucker for a good cheese plate, like the one I made for this birthday party, but when I only have 5 seconds to figure out a snack I just put out a bowl of pistachios. When time allows, I also like to mix it up with this recipe.

4. I may not have time to clean the bathroom or vacuum, but at the very least--I always fluff the pillows. I know, such a random and anal habit, but there is just something about a nicely fluffed up couch with fluffed pillows that looks so inviting and spiffy. Seriously, It can take a room from slightly messy and forgotten to comfy yet pulled together in split seconds. Trust me on that. 

5. Beverages, duh. This is both the final touch of the prepping and the opening act of a well-mannered hostess or host. If I know our guests might like an alcoholic beverage I have a bottle of wine open and ready to go, the bar organized, or beers in the fridge. If I know they would rather not drink alcohol, I take stock of what juice/soda we have so that I am ready to offer it as soon as we have hugged hello. 

And that is it! Obviously, sometimes I fail at even this small routine, but those are the moments when I realize that we love our friends and they love us, and no matter what our house looks like it is just fun to be together. 

xoxo

Emily

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{Gallivant} New Orleans

Cat and Abbey outside Café Du Monde.

Cat and Abbey outside Café Du Monde.

Last week three of my best friends from college came to visit and we decided to take a spontaneous road trip to the Big Easy for a night. Since it was the week after Mardi Gras, we scored a sweet hotel deal, right on the corner of Bourbon and Canal St. 

I had never been to New Orleans, but since moving to Pensacola I have been dying to go since it is only a quick 3 hour drive. I have heard mixed things about the city, mostly that the european influence is cool and the food and jazz are incredible, but the late night scene can be pretty sketchy.  We did a ton of research and decided to just try and get local advice when we got there, and wing our itinerary accordingly. 

When we first arrived we went straight to the Garden District. I had read about the Garden District and was excited to check it out. It truly is beautiful. Although spring is not in full bloom yet here, we still got a sense of how beautiful the district must be when the trees and gardens are are in their prime. The old southern mansions were stunning, and the driving through the neighborhoods reminded me of a mixture of the Fan in Richmond, New Port RI, and Charleston SC. Lately I have been really inspired by Southern literature (To Kill a Mockingbird, The Sound and the Fury, The Helpand this area really evoked Kate Chopin's haunting novella The Awakening. I could imagine the dripping heat of summer and girls in white dresses sitting on the porches of the stately houses drinking iced tea, both smothered by heat and smothering their desires to rebel against society. 

After driving through the Garden District we parked on Magazine St, near the Whole Foods, and checked all the cute boutiques and shoppes. We grabbed a quick snack at Slice, which had delicious pizza and great happy hour deals. Definitely worth a visit for a good bang-for-your-buck bite to eat, as well as a fantastic bloody mary. 

Dani and I at Slice

Dani and I at Slice

One thing we noticed early on in our visit was that the people are so nice in New Orleans. Both the shop girls and our server gave us some awesome recommendations for dinner that night and fun places to go out. They all resoundingly told us to skip Bourbon St, and hit up Frenchmen St. for the local experience and the best jazz. We did see a bit of Bourbon because our hotel was right on the corner, and although it was an experience, it is definitely a huge tourist trap. 

We stayed at the Royal Crown Plaza, right on the corner of Canal and Bourbon St. We happened to score a great deal, and would highly recommend the hotel to anyone because the location is primo. Tip: Don't use RCP parking, instead park in the garage on the backside of the block. It is $10 cheaper for the night. 

Fried Oyster and Grits at 3 Muses

We grabbed a cab and headed to 3 Muses on Frenchmen St. for dinner after a friend recommended it. (Thanks Katie!) The place was packed when we arrived around 8:00, and the music was already in full swing. We put our name in and decided to walk down the street and check out the scene. New Orleans is fun because you can drink in the street, so we popped into a bar down a few blocks to check out their band (which was awesome) and then took our drinks on the road. There was live jazz in every bar or restaurant that we passed, and some fun stuff happening in the streets two. Some of the best advice we got was that "the music is always worth the cover charge in NOLA." Our advice would be to hit up one or two places, and then pick one and stay put for a while. When we got back to the 3 Muses the place was hopping and the food was insane. Definitely worth the cover and one drink per set. 

After a couple sets it was getting late so we moved on to One Eyed Jack's, a club across the French Quarter. We decided to walk and check out the quarter along the way. There were definitely moments and blocks where, with the cobbled streets and shuttered windows, we could have been in France, except the townhouses and flats were all painted in fun pastels. We arrived at One Eyed Jacks to discover that it was 80's night, complete with a theatre screen playing 80's classics and dancers. It ended up being a fun surprise, even though they played such obscure 80's songs for the first half of the time we were there. (Disclaimer: I was not born in the 80s. I do not know what I am talking about.)

The next morning before we left we did some exploring and grabbed breakfast at Café Du MondeGotta do it once, right?

Overall, given that we had less than 24 hours, we felt like we got a great taste of New Orleans. Next time I would love to see some more of the parks and sights, but being able to just enjoy the jazz and food was a blast. Sometimes when traveling it's fun to just skip all the touristy stuff , relax, and take it all in. We totally fell in love with the city and would love to go back, and we din't feel like we missed out at all by skipping Bourbon St. Below is our blitz in a nutshell, incase any of you find yourselves taking a spontaneous trip to the Big Easy anytime soon!

New Orleans Blitz:

Areas to Hit up:

  • Garden District: Beautiful historic area, mostly residential, with lovely southern houses and gardens.
  • Magazine St: Fun street in the Garden District with great shoppes and cafés. Fun place to stop for lunch and window shopping. 
  • French Quarter: Another historic district, home to the famous Bourbon St. Known for its french architecture and food, nightlife, jazz scene, and historical significance.
  • Frenchmen St: Located off of the French Quarter, know for its authentic jazz and local scene. Great restaurants and night life. 

Places to Eat:

  • Slice: Small pizzeria with multiple locations. We ate at the one Magazine St. Great pizza, salads, and drinks, with awesome slice and drink deals. Very reasonable prices. 
  • 3 Muses: Fantastic restaurant and jazz bar. Food is small plates, service is quick and excellent. Mix of Southern, Creole, and French fusion. Highly recommend the Fried Oysters and Grits with Bloody Mary Sauce, as well as the Coconut Shrimp and Lamb Sliders. 
  • Café Du Monde: Probably one of the most famous places in New Orleans, located in the heart of the French Quarter. Totally touristy, but the Beignets really are great, and it's open 24 hours! Don't be afraid of the line--it moves fast. 

Late Night:

xoxo

Emily

P.S. Have any of you been to New Orleans? What were your favorite parts/spots? I would love to take notes for my next trip!

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Handwritten Notes

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My friend Allison told me last spring that she wants to become one of those people who sends lovely cards to their friends and family to mark special occasions or events, and when she said that I realized that I did to! My mom also gave me this lovely little book, which have been motivating me to take more time to for handwritten notes.  So, my New Years resolutions this year was to write a letter a week to someone I care about, and I am finally getting started this week. 

Not only are notes classy, but in this day and age of technology and email, taking the time to sit down and write a note to someone with a pen in your hand says wonders about how much you actually care or appreciate that person. And of course, who doesn't love to receive mail? I know I do! I have a beautiful blue box where I keep all of the wonderful notes and mail from my friends and family that have moved me and made me feel loved over the years. I also have all of the letters that John has written me since we first started dating, tied up in a lovely bundle with navy ribbon, that I keep in my bedside drawer. I think they are so romantic...

What about you? Do you like to write letters? Flynn and I are off to pop my most recent note into the mail, but here is some inspiration if you feel inclined to write a letter after reading this post. Pretty stationary also makes a lovely gift! 

xoxo,

Emily