Preparing for a weird spring

For those of you who haven’t heard, this is kind of the time everything changes for us, military-wise. Jake will be traveling on and off for the remainder of 2018, and I will be staying at home where I can immerse myself in work. I’m simultaneously preparing myself for intense loneliness while also feeling extremely grateful we have experience doing long-distance already. If one thing’s for sure, it’s that we can do this.

Even still, it’s going to be hard! I got a little weepy while he was packing and then kind of lost it when he finally left. I’m always a little caught off-guard by how emotional I get with the goodbyes. So I’m brainstorming a few more creative ways to stay sane and busy from now until he returns. (And, ok, I spent the day in pajamas and moped a little bit).

  1. Working out more. I’m a member at the Equinox in Bethesda, which is on my way to/from work and extremely close to my apartment. Since I won’t be rushing home for dinner together anymore or trying to cram in more time together before Jake leaves, I’m hoping to spend more time getting whipped into shape.
  2. Practicing my Spanish. For some reason, I am extremely shy and self-conscious about my Spanish and basically refuse to speak it in front of Jake who is a million times better. I’ll be re-downloading Duolingo for some out-loud conversation in the privacy of my empty home.
  3. Learning how to cook. I’ve been saying this for months — literally since the first time Jake left in January — but now I have no choice since the absences are only getting longer. I’ve purchased How To Cook Everything, Smitten Kitchen’s Triumphant and Unfussy cookbook (though the recipes in it are decidedly not unfussy), and bookmarked the New York Times Cooking website. Open to favorite recipes, if anyone has any!
  4. Checking things off my to-do list. Anyone who knows me has heard me evangelize Wunderlist. I have a running list — several, actually — of various errands I need to run, groceries I need to pick up, cards I need to mail, people I need to call, etc. Wunderlist helps me keep track of it all and feeds my compulsion to stay occupied.
  5. Enjoying the silver linings. Being away from your spouse sucks, full stop. But there are a few upsides to living alone, particularly when it’s only temporary. My favorites: having the queen bed to myself, feeling free to work late, eating on my own schedule, and catching up on my favorite trashy shows. Also, having time do a little extra freelance writing on the side. My latest piece all about being a sucker to trends is here.
  6. Spending time with friends! It sounds so cliche, but I really, really missed having girlfriends. The women I’ve become close with here are primarily military spouses, but also a couple of women through work and one or two that I knew from college. Feels like I’m finally finding my people, and it is a dream. I’m also relishing the opportunity to call friends in different cities and plan trips to see them.

For those of you in long-distance relationships, or for other military spouses, I’d love to hear about your guilty pleasures and indulgences that you take advantage of when your partner is out of town. I am also definitely here as a resource for anyone who has questions about Navy wife life, being in a long-distance relationship, etc.

As for me, I’m off to spend the evening running errands, followed by a face mask and some red wine. Cheers!

Getting engaged in the Adirondacks

Now that it’s Valentine’s Day, I realized that I never said much about how Jake and I got engaged. It’s just that, when it happened, I told the story so many times out loud that I got lazy about putting it into writing. But, it’s also one of my favorite memories of all time, and I’m feeling nostalgic. So here goes.

Jake and I started looking at rings in late 2015 / early 2016. I remember it being winter, and we were home in Connecticut, so it was probably around the holidays. We went one time to Dunstan Jewelers in Avon, CT (now permanently closed), tried on a few different shapes and sizes, and then left. And then Jake never said another word about it.

A few months came and went, and in May we planned a tenth anniversary, long-weekend trip to the Adirondacks. We had just taken a 9-day trip to Europe, which I had planned and book almost completely on my own, so allegedly “as a thank you” Jake insisted on doing all of the planning for the anniversary — down to researching different restaurants, hikes, and Airbnb options.

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This is me, before I knew what was coming.

I had hoped this meant a ring was coming — it was our tenth anniversary, after all. And, we would have seclusion and privacy, which was something I had expressed a preference towards if there would ever be a proposal. Not to mention the fact that we share a mutual love of being outside, and everything about the trip felt perfect. Until, within literally minutes of arriving at our Airbnb, we lost the keys.

Luckily, the owners had a spare set, but we spent a while searching the front walk and digging through our bags. At one point, I asked, “Hey babe, do you mind if I check your duffel one more time?” And Jake said, “No prob, go ahead.” Which meant there was not a ring in there. And that kind of freaked me out.

This freakout spiraled a bit, and by the end of the evening I was crying in a grocery store parking lot because Jake had so thoroughly convinced me that I had been terribly mistaken, and there was no ring coming after all. In fact, I believed this so thoroughly that I didn’t think twice when Jake gently nudged me to go on a hike the next morning even though I didn’t feel well. And I didn’t think twice when he wheezed his way up the mountain, lagging behind me and constantly stopping to pee even though he has much longer legs and is in much better shape. Nor did I think twice when he started waxing poetic at the peak, talking about “the last 10 years” and having a future together. Until he got down on one knee.

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I was absolutely stunned. Turns out, Jake had intentionally hidden the ring elsewhere and was thrilled when I asked to look through his bag. He knew that I’d be obsessing over where it was and that I’d think the worst when I didn’t see it, just like he knew I’d feel better after getting some fresh air and going on the hike regardless of my upset stomach. And it turns out that he was lagging so far behind because his heart was pounding so hard he could barely walk. I don’t know about you, but all of that that is extremely endearing to me.

Maybe the cutest part, though, was that he arranged for our parents to meet us at dinner that night. On the walk back down the mountain, after the proposal, I was raving about how I couldn’t wait to get home to Connecticut to tell everyone. He insisted we stay for dinner because “the restaurant had promised champagne.” Which, like…fine, you’ve convinced me. We’ll stay for the champagne.

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Of course, the champagne was just a very successful ruse and our families were in on the surprise. I walked into the restaurant thinking we’d be heading for a table for two and literally looked past where everyone was sitting. By the time I realized what was going on, my legs had given out from shock and I burst into tears. Then Jake’s dad started crying, my dad started crying, and we all sort of stood around hugging and wiping our faces for a few minutes. It was, quite frankly, the best. (And yes, you read that right; the men cried first).

Now here we are almost two years later, and I sort of can’t believe he knew me so well. He knew the kind of place I’d want to stay, my thought process on where the ring would be — the lost key was not part of the plan, by the way. It’s gone forever and we still don’t know what happened to it — and the fact that once it was official I would want us to be with our in-laws-to-be. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

So anyway, that’s my mushy Valentine’s Day post. I feel incredibly lucky to be married to someone so thoughtful and creative and kind, and I am so excited for him to come home this weekend after 5 weeks away.

Some more practical takeaways for those of you who are here for the recommendations rather than the romance: the two particular items of clothing I was wearing during the hike which made the whole thing much more enjoyable since it was quite chilly.

  1. My EMS puffer jacket, which I bought at Jake’s mother’s urging shortly before our trip (because she knows I hate being cold and that Jake was planning on proposing). I still wear it all the time and I think about that weekend every time I pull it out of the closet. Thanks, Cathleen!
  2. My hiking boots. I wear these much less frequently than the jacket, but I’ve been grateful that I have them every time I need them. This particular pair is comfortable, durable, and — maybe most importantly — waterproof. I love wading through streams and mud in them becuase I feel untouchable.

Also, please stay at that Airbnb if you’re in the area; it’s absolute perfection. And I’d recommend the restaurant, too, but apparently it closed a few months after our dinner there.

Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope all of you are doing something really special.

Love, me.

 

What I’m loving on rainy days

Rainy days get a nasty reputation, but I’ve never understood why. What could possibly be better than having no choice but to snuggle up, watch TV, and enjoy lots of warm coffee? Admittedly, I’d probably be enjoying it more if Jake were here — ICYMI: he’s away on clinical rotations at military hospitals — but I’m definitely making the most of it regardless. Here are my rainy day favorite things:

  1. Netflix. Surprise, surprise, binge-watching TV is fun and very worth the $10 per month or whatever it costs. Right now, I am loving Riverdale for it’s social commentary, scandal, and cringeworthy acting. Sometimes those shows just hit the spot.
  2. My LL Bean pullover. I first saw this sweater on Carly the Prepster and couldn’t resist picking one up for myself. Also, not sure if you heard the news, but LL Bean is sunsetting its lifetime return policy, so now is either the best or worst time to buy a bunch of their products. Not to mention the fact that sale is currently an addition 25% off.
  3. Rain coat from The North Face. It’s a lot easier to make myself run errands when I know I’m not going to get soaking wet, and this jacket has never let me down. Also, it’s really cute! And rain gear is not something I get to wear often, so I kind of look forward to the opportunity. Is that weird? Which brings me to…
  4. Jeffrey Cambell rain boots. Best $60 I ever spent on shoes. I bought these in black a million years ago and wear them all. the. time. At 5’1, I need the extra height, but the block heel makes them super comfortable, even for all-day wear. Not sure what the negative reviews are all about.
  5. New York Edition candle. For those of you who don’t know, we stayed at the New York Edition for my best friend’s wedding last May, and I could not get over how great the place smelled. I bought a candle to bring home, but the aforementioned best friend just sent two more for my birthday and it makes my whole apartment so much better. (Thank you, Ashley!)
  6. Oribe’s masque for beautiful color. Indulgent, yes. Amazing? Also yes. I didn’t have color in my hair until recently, but I’ve been using it as a deep conditioner for years because the formula is so moisturizing and great for curls. And the smell. Heaven. Curse my internship with Oribe that got me hooked on it to begin with.
  7. Equinox fitness classes. It is hard to drag myself out of the house when it’s crummy outside, but knowing I’m going to an awesome class in a beautiful facility really helps. My favorites are Stacked, Barre, and Best Butt Ever (which maybe needs a more creative name).
  8. New York Magazine crossword puzzles. Jake got me into them, and they’ve been so great for lazy days at home, long flights, or my commute. Also, they’re a great alternative to the New York Times which, frankly, is a little out of my league.

 

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What did I miss? What do you do on your rainy days off? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Love, me.

PS: Please forgive the extremely amateur product spread. I’m still learning!