What I liked in New Orleans

I imagine you know this already because most of you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, but Jake and I recently spend a weekend together for a 24-hour whirlwind in New Orleans. He drove from the Pensacola, FL, Navy base where he was doing an aerospace medicine rotation, and I flew in from Bethesda.

Of course, it was so amazing to be back together after nearly a month, but, a minor confession, I did not love New Orleans itself! I liked New Orleans — particularly a few specific experiences that I’ll detail below — but generally I found myself kind of lukewarm. The highlights:

  • The Henry Howard Hotel. For some reason, the prices were sky high while we were in town — and no, we weren’t there during Jazz Fest or Mardi Gras — but we splurged anyway and loved the ambiance and neighborhood surrounding the Henry Howard. It definitely felt like a much-needed respite from the party vibe. Plus, they leave out warm chocolate chip cookies as part of their evening turn-down service.
  • The beignets at Cafe Du Monde. I am sure there are other amazing beignets in New Orleans, and you probably don’t have to wait as long for them, but since we were short on time and happened to be nearby, I am so glad we stopped and tried them here. They were every bit as amazing as everyone made them sound. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t care about sweets.

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  • The jazz show at Preservation Hall. Full disclosure: you have to get in line like 45 minutes before it starts to buy tickets, but it is totally worth it — even if, like me, you hate being surrounded by drunk people somewhere like Bourbon Street. The show itself runs less than an hour and is truly extraordinary and fun. I had a blast despite it being hours past my bedtime.
  • Courtyard Brewery. Obviously this one was Jake’s discovery, but I really loved it! It smells strongly of boiling hops and they’ve got an adorable little tent out front where they make $3 tacos. You can also bring your own food, which I learned from the people who had a pizza delivered while they sat outside enjoying the beer. A great way to end our weekend.
  • We also ended up eating dinner one night at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen. It wasn’t our first choice, but an extreme lack of planning meant that we hadn’t made a dinner reservation anywhere and spent like an hour trying to find a spot we agreed on. K-Paul’s was cute, the portions were huge, and the pours were generous which means I was happily full of seafood pasta and wine.

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So that was that! A quick pit stop before heading back to Pensacola, which was followed by a week in wine country with Jake’s parents. Hoping to have at least one (if not two!) posts on that coming soon — though, frankly, there were a few aspects of the trip that deserve their own writeup entirely. If you saw something on my Instagram that you’d like to hear about, let me know.

Love, me

I am so glad I bought these stupid pajamas

To be honest, I am not totally sure how I ended up as a person who cares about matching pajamas. Maybe it’s the fact that they make me feel grown-up, maybe it’s the fact that I like feeling put-together, but at the end of the day there is nothing I enjoy more than climbing into bed in my top-and-bottom sets. (Yes, I would like my Neurotic Mess Award now).

I currently own at least four pairs…or at least four pairs that are visible on the shelf from where I’m typing. One is pink gingham (similar pair here), one is blue with orange bicycles, one is blue and white striped, and my most recent pair — the pair about which I felt the need to write this post — is red plaid from J.Crew.

I will not bore you with the fucking nightmare I went through to get the pajamas — a perfect storm of sloppy ordering, delayed and lost holiday shipping, miscommunications, and strange sizing. I will just say that it was terrible and yet also somehow totally worth it.

These pajamas are:

  1. Comfortable! They are flannel and warm and cozy and it feels like Christmas every time I wear them.
  2. Adorable. I love having an excuse to be seen wearing these, so I bring them to every family gathering, vacation, and sleepover.
  3. Warm. Those aforementioned family gatherings are often in Connecticut, which gets much colder than Maryland, so it’s nice to have something cozy.
  4. Also owned by Alaina Kaczmarski of The Everygirl, whose style is very much the kind I aspire to have.

Finally, and this doesn’t really fit into a bullet, they honestly feel like an exhale at the end of a long day. I look forward to walking in the door of my apartment, putting them on, and snuggling up on the couch with Jake and a glass of wine. I associate them with home and happiness.

I think they are sold out for the season, but they seem to be the kind of thing they restock every fall. Do NOT pay full price for them; instead, wait for one of J.Crew’s Black Friday or Friends & Family sales.

Anyway, long live plaid flannel pajamas, long live matching sets, and long live New England Christmas fashion. I will wear these until I die.

Love, me.

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!