Back to School

Richardson, Apollo Junior High, Substitute

Back in the classroom!

I’ll tell you what – moving from your home in a foreign country back to America really throws your life into chaos and when you add wedding planning to that, there isn’t really time to think about much else. However, since the honeymoon ended and things have calmed down, we’ve thrown ourselves back into work.

While Matt and I prepare for another potential move (when will the madness end?!), I decided to head back to work as a substitute teacher in my alma mater school district – Richardson. It’s been three years since I stepped into a classroom, but I knew with the flexible schedule and my experience, it would be a great way to make some money while still taking freelance projects in between.

Substitute, Richardson, Apollo Junior High

Unbeknownst to me, Matt decided that he wanted to capture my “first day of school.”

Ironically, my first day was back at Apollo Junior High, and boy was that a trip! Many of the staff that I knew (including almost my entire Language Arts department) are no longer at the school, so there were many unfamiliar faces. However, among those faces there were also quite a few that remained, making it nice to catch up and hear how the last three years have been.

I will admit, though, I was a tiny bit nervous before my first class – three years is a long time! But when those kids starting streaming into the room, it was like riding a bicycle. I forgot how much I missed interacting with students and taking charge of the classroom. And after experiencing the “corporate culture” of working for a company, I am not ashamed to say that being in charge again doesn’t suck. 😉

So far, I’ve covered three classes and three different subjects. This week I’ll be at three other schools, one day substituting at Matt’s old junior high and another covering a high school French class, which should be interesting considering that I speak Spanish, not French…can I just show them pictures of my travels in France?!

So until we make our next move, I’ll continue pop in and out of classroom. It has certainly been a great way to start repatriating myself!

Categories: Musings, Travel | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

A Final Fling Before the Ring x 2

Spain, Estepona, PuroBeach, Laguna Village, Bachelorette, Marriage

A Spanish celebration before finally becoming a Mrs.!

Living in Europe and planning a wedding in America (and not even in my home city of Dallas!) was definitely a challenge, but with the challenges, there were also perks. With friends in both places, I was beyond lucky to get to celebrate my bachelorette party not once, but twice! My great friend Joannah planned my “European bachelorette” party during the summer in Spain and my maid-of-honor and sister, Melissa, planned a Dallas party following my move back to Dallas.

If you are ever wanting to plan a bachelorette party in Spain, on the beach, in the middle of the summer, talk to my friend Jo, because she did it up right! A bunch of my girlfriends from Gibraltar and my bridesmaid Lauren, who you’ve seen many times in my “visiting Dublin” posts, came out for a day of sunning and massages, followed by a fantastic dinner on the beach. Does it get any better than that?

Gibraltar, Spain, Dallas, Wedding, Marriage, Bachelorette, Estepona, PuroBeach

With my wonderful hostess, Jo!

We started the day at Laguna Village at the swanky PuroBeach Club. Jo reserved a cabana next to the pool that came complete with a bottle of rosé cava, mojitos, and a sushi lunch. Jo also booked us all either a facial or a massage – both were poolside, and I opted for the massage. We spent the day sipping cava and mojitos, dipping in and out of the pool, and soaking up the Spanish sun.

That evening we made our way back to PuroBeach for dinner next to the Mediterranean. The food was fantastic, the wine was never empty, and Jo prepared a fun questionnaire that kept us entertained throughout dinner. In true Spanish style, we enjoyed a long dinner and our festivities led us into the wee hours of the morning, at which time we wandered back down the beach to our hotel (the Kempinski Hotel Bahía) for some late night (early morning?) antics and room service (that €30 club sandwich was worth it!).

Dallas, Bachelorette, Wedding, Marriage, Spain, Estepona, Gibraltar

I wore this sweet gift while getting ready on my wedding day!

Now, the Dallas party could not have been more different, but was equally as fabulous! Melissa planned a girls night out complete with a hotel suite at The Nylo in Dallas, dinner at The Cedars Social and then dancing at Winstons Supperclub with a performance by the Far East Movement. I may or may not have gotten on the stage during their performance…

No detail was missed by Melissa for the Dallas bash! The Nylo is a really neat hotel and the suite was perfect for us group of girls. We had pre-dinner drinks, a lingerie shower, and my friends and family were able to get to know each other before venturing out. I highly recommend dinner at The Cedars Social (in fact, I’ll most likely go back and take pictures for a nightlife piece) – the food was American-style tapas which were so delicious; think tapas-style mac-n-cheese, pork belly tacos, Parmesan fries, etc. And of course, if I got myself on stage at Winstons, then I definitely had a great time there! The final detail? Melissa arranged a party bus to take us from one spot to the next!

I am really so blessed to have such wonderful friends that celebrated my last single night in both countries. There were friends and family that even traveled to be there, which made both weekends so special. Both my hostesses should be professional bachelorette party planners, because these will be memories that I will always cherish!

Wedding, Marriage, Bachelorette, Dallas, Spain, Estepona, PuroBeach

My bridesmaid Lauren flew in from Dublin to help me celebrate!

Wedding, Marriage, Dallas, Nylo Hotel, The Cedars Social, Winstons Supper Club

With all of the girls at the Dallas bachelorette party.

Spain, Estepona, Bachelorette, Laguna Village, PuroBeach, Wedding

This is the closest thing I have to a full group picture at the Spanish party.

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Emily En America

America, Spain, Gibraltar, Ireland, Travel, Moving

My arrival in Texas! Inside that black bag is our gato – General McFluffybutt.

It has been an extremely long time since I have written, and for that, I am sorry. To my followers here that do not know me personally, I’m sure that what I am about to tell you is going to blow your mind (I’m feeling hyperbolic this morning, so bear with me).

I am no longer “Emily En Europe.” I am officially Emily back in America, married and looking for my next adventure.

That’s right folks. During my hiatus, much has changed. I promise to take you through all of the exciting parts, because that’s what this space is for – to show my family and friends (my every day friends and my Internet peeps) what life is like when you uproot your life and move to a foreign country. Or in this case, back from a foreign country.

To make a long story a little shorter, my husband (more on that in later posts!), along with a few others, worked hard over the past year to sell the company they were working for. It was an arduous process with lots of traveling – London, New York, Israel – and the end result meant that Matt and I were faced with the decision to come home. And I’ll tell you…that was not an easy decision.

If you’ve followed me from the very beginning, you will know how much I loved my time in Ireland. Our quaint apartment overlooking the farm (sheep!), the American Women’s Club of Dublin (philanthropic events and friends), the new culture (I had never traveled abroad before), and the many trips we were able to take throughout that time (Bruges, St. Moritz, Paris, Majorca, Nice). Ireland was the absolutely perfect location to set me up for a love affair with Europe, and when we were given the opportunity to stay, we jumped on it.

Married, Gibraltar, Ireland, Spain, Travel, Moving

I got married! But like I said, more on that later…

Spain and Gibraltar brought us a whole different way of life. Living on the Mediterranean Sea, traveling, crossing the border to Gibraltar every day (I won’t necessarily miss that), again making life-long friends, and our very special addition to the family – I will never regret our decision to extend our time in Europe.

However, I also won’t regret our decision to move back. Since we’ve been home, it’s been amazing catching up with friends, spending loads of time with family and we’ve even had our first European visitors – our wedding was a good reason to bring friends from Ireland and Spain to America! Only time will tell what our future has in store for us and I am very excited for what that may be.

In the coming weeks, there will be changes to this blog – it will need to take a new spin and the name will potentially change. However, I hope to bring you fun tales from America, many book and restaurant reviews, and I promise to continue my travels!

Categories: Musings, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Golf, Spain, Blanco, Beach, Beach Bar

I hit my best shot on this hole. I couldn’t have known that before taking this picture – quite the coincidence!

Last weekend, Matt and I decided to hang around our neighborhood and truly appreciate what the urbanization of La Alcaidesa has to offer. Sure, we eat at La Finca often, but it’s been forever since we’ve played a round of golf and after taking my friends to the beach bar, I thought it was such a shame that Matt and I had never eaten there. Therefore, we decided to get out of the house while staying in the neighborhood…

On Saturday we woke up slowly and lazily. My friend Merlinda was such a pal to leave me a book she was travelling with, since getting an English language novel is more difficult for me over here. Did I mention that she hadn’t even read it yet? (Mer, I promise to bring the book back next time I’m home.) So, instead of the usual Saturday morning check the email, check the Facebook, etc., I woke up, disconnected from the world and dove into another one. The General seemed to be a fan of our laziness since he also spent the morning in bed, purring and letting us cuddle to our heart’s delight.

Golf, Beach, Beach Bar, Blanco,

Teeing off on a par 3.

Following this particularly lazy morning, we decided to head up to the Alcaidesa Golf Club to see about playing a round of golf. Lucky for us, the July rates were much lower than the usual rate, and as Alcaidesa residents, they were even better for us. Since we’d played the ocean-side Links course, we decided to take on Heathland, their other course. The course took us through the hills of Alcaidesa and was surprisingly pretty empty, though we couldn’t complain about that. We’d had good foresight and brought a cooler filled with drinks and granola bars, and just took our time from hole to hole. I was pleasantly surprised by my game, considering I haven’t played for a year (though my putting stunk). However, there is still so much to improve on and we had such a great time, that I think another round is in our future for the coming weekend. The course is to be determined, but with summer green fees so low, I love spending a morning or afternoon golfing.

Beach Bar, Beach, Golf, Spain

Our view from our delicious lunch. We will be going back again for sure!

Following our round of golf, we hit up La Finca for dinner for two. We were exhausted, so we didn’t stick around to have drinks at the bar following dinner like we usually do. We did, however, have another fantastic meal. On special was their lobster pad Thai, which Matt didn’t hesitate to order. I’ll tell you what – this pad Thai came out with the full lobster, cut just right so that Matt could get at the meat. Perfect presentation, great flavour – it was a home run!

On Sunday, we decided to hit up the beach bar for lunch. We’ve been to Blanco a bunch of times for drinks, but have never ordered anything off of their menu to eat. And boy were we more than pleasantly surprised! We ordered three different types of empanadas to start, because naturally, we must see what we like! We ordered the chicken and pear, the Roquefort, and the ham and cheese. The Roquefort was a little too strong, but man were the other two fantastic! Then, we shared a salad of large tomatoes covered in feta and black olive, and a cheeseburger. Our experience with hamburgers in Spain have been pretty hit or miss, so we were delighted when we took our first bite and it was great. All in all, it was a wonderful lunch with a view that couldn’t be beat!

After spending the afternoon digesting our food in the sand, we made our way home to end the weekend. It is really neat that we are able to do so much without ever having to leave our neighborhood. It really was perfect for the type of weekend we were looking for – relaxing, close to home, but with just the right amount of activity.

La Alcaidesa, Golf, Beach, Beach Bar, Spain

I think this little guy was a fan of us staying around the neighborhood.

Golf, Spain, Beach, Beach Bar, The General

Matt taking to the tee. He claims his round wasn’t as good as the week before with the guys, but I thought he played great.

Spain, Golf, La Alcaidesa, Beach, Beach Bar

Sorry, another one! I’m telling you, he’s the perfect cuddle buddy!

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Beautiful Barcelona and My First Grand Prix

Back in May, Matt and I took a trip with our friends, the F1 fanatics (more commonly known as Damon and Jo), to Barcelona to go to the Barcelona Grand Prix. Being an Indianapolis 500 fan myself, I was quite excited to attend a live racing event. Include a trip to a city I’ve never seen and you’ve got the full package! However, I think this tale is best told visually…

Barcelona, Gaudi, Grand Prix, F1, Spain

The beautiful Gaudi park. That guy must have been a nut – his architecture is unbelievable!

Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, F1, Grand Prix, Las Ramblas

An ugly, cloudy day, but still a brilliant view of the city and the sea.

Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, F1, Grand Prix, Las Ramblas

Me and my beau in the Gaudi park, rain jackets in tow!

Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, F1, Grand Prix, Las Ramblas

The famous lizard – we actually thought it was going to be much, much larger than this. Slight disappointment.

Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, F1, Grand Prix, Las Ramblas

The Sagrada Família, the cathedral in Barcelona. Unfortunately, it is still heavily under construction, so much of it was covered. Really take a second and look at the details. Amazing.

Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, F1, Grand Prix, Las Ramblas

A look at La Rambla, the famous tree-lined pedestrian mall, and the cite of our first day of escapades!

Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, F1, Grand Prix, Las Ramblas

Escapades proven – look at the size of those!!! And meet Jo, one half of the F1 fanatics.

Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, F1, Grand Prix, Las Ramblas

Drivers, start your engines! I had the best time at my very first F1 race.

Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, F1, Grand Prix, Las Ramblas

Meet Damon, the other half of the F1 fanatics. And I’m wearing my new Nico Rosberg shirt – officially my favorite driver – cause he’s cute!

Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, F1, Grand Prix, Las Ramblas

This guy was a legend. Probably Kimi Räikkönen’s biggest fan – he stood up and waved his flag EVERY SINGLE TIME Kimi came around.

And there you have it! Barcelona in a nutshell. An absolutely beautiful city (despite our unfortunate weather) and a great place to watch your very first F1 race live! Unfortunately, my purse was stolen the first day (tourists be warned – Barcelona is notorious for its theft), but that’s another story for another time…not really – I’d rather forget that part. 😉

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Bingo Isn’t Just for the Elderly…

Gibraltar, Spain, Casino, Poker, Blackjack

I am SO EXCITED to play bingo!

A couple of weekends ago, Matt and I were contemplating what we wanted to do for date night. We wanted to celebrate his months of hard work leading into the successful sale of his company and we wanted to do something new, or that we hadn’t done in awhile. That’s when I came up with the brilliant idea to take a taxi to Gibraltar and partake in an evening of dinner in the marina and bingo at the casino, possibly followed by a few table games.

Now, you may be reading this thinking, “bingo isn’t exactly what I’d call a rousing activity for a young couple on date night.” I’m sorry, but you would be wrong – Matt and I love it! Especially here in Gibraltar/Spain where they call the numbers in both English and Spanish. We have yet to win, which I think is one of the reasons we keep coming back for more.

Gibraltar, Spain, Casino, Bingo, Blackjack, Poker

Crowds of people celebrating summer.

As we made our way into Gibraltar that evening, we learned that we had decided to do date night on one of Gib’s biggest party days of the year – the summer island party. Once upon a time, I would have lived for an event like this – live (DJ) music on-stage, fountains of spraying water, beer stands, etc. However, I am at a point in my life where I consider watching the revelries of the island party from a balcony with the other older patrons in the casino just as fun. *Sigh*

So, that’s exactly what Matt and I did. We grabbed a celebratory bottle of champagne and hunkered down on the balcony of the casino to watch the antics of the younger crowd below. And I’ll tell you what – it was extremely entertaining. The whole lot of us on the balcony could not stop laughing. Needless to say, some of the “activities” do not need to be shared on this blog, which just proves my point further that I was better off out of the fray!

Proof that we stayed safe on the balcony with an older generation...

Proof that we stayed safe on the balcony with an older generation…

After enjoying the show, we took our champagne into the bingo hall with hopes of winning the big pot. As always, the mood in the room was intense; it never ceases to amaze me how into bingo people are. If you aren’t quiet when the first number is called, they will shush you. When someone wins, everyone outwardly groans. And I’m not exaggerating when I say that Matt and I were the youngest folks there. It certainly perpetuates the stereotype that older people love bingo. While Matt and I may not have won anything, we loved the atmosphere and were excited each round when we only had one or two numbers to go.

Following bingo, we made our way out into the casino to try our luck at some other games. Neither Matt nor I are huge gamblers, but we have fun playing the occasional Blackjack or Texas Hold’em. So this is exactly what we did. I usually have the best luck at the Blackjack table, but this trip to the casino proved not to be my lucky night. I just couldn’t catch a break! Matt was playing pretty well, so he made up for my losses. Then he really made up for my poor play when he sat down at a poker table and played really well. All in all, even with my losses, we ended up positive on the evening.

So, while this may not sound like a typical date night, it was perfect for us. Sure, in the future we’ll probably do dinner in Marbella or hit up our beach bar, but for one night, we had the best time playing bingo.

Gibraltar, Spain, Casino, Bingo, Poker, Blackjack

Moet at sunset while the antics proceed below.

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The American Invasion

Spain, Europe, Travel, La Fina, Pura Tapa, Alcaidesa

My girlfriends made it! A pre-dinner picture in my backyard.

This past week the best thing happened – Matt and I had a group of our American friends come to visit us in Spain! It was a wonderful visit, and we had an amazing time showing our friends the area that we live in and the Spanish/Gibraltarian culture.

On the day they arrived, Monday, they were pretty exhausted, so after a nap we all decided to stay pool-side soaking up some rays. That gave us a great opportunity to catch-up and for them to tell me all about their time in Greece, their first stop on their European tour.

Following a relaxing day by the pool, we got dressed up to head to our favorite local spot, La Finca. We wanted our friends to enjoy the Thai Fusion that we’re constantly raving about, and the atmosphere couldn’t have been better. We had a nice big table out on their beautiful patio, it was a lovely evening and as always, the food was fantastic. I think every single one in our group raved about their dish and the owners, Chris and Syrie, with whom we’ve become good friends, stopped by during an extremely busy evening to say hello. We then continued the evening back at our house on the patio – we lit the tiki torches and candles around our yard, turned on some tunes and kept the drinks (and cigars for the guys) flowing. It was a perfect evening.

Gibraltar, Apes, Spain, Europe, La Finca, Alcaidesa, Pura Tapa

Poor Lenore and the series of events leading up to and after the ape attack.

On Tuesday, Matt and the guys ventured out for a round of golf in Sotogrande while us gals made our way down to the Alcaidesa beach. It was packed with people and colorful umbrellas, so we joined right in. We relaxed in the sand, enjoyed a snack at the Alcaidesa beach bar, Blanco, and just had a quiet day.

When the boys finished their round of golf, we made our way into La Linea for the fair, or la feria! Talk about a perfect week for the fair to come to La Linea. We gorged ourselves on kebabs (very similar to a gyro), buñuelos (fried dough balls covered with powered sugar or chocolate), and mojitos. Only a few of us were brave enough to jump on the rides – I loved one that reminds me of the Crazy Mouse, while I passed on another that included a lot of upside down flipping. My friends got to experience some Spanish culture – we found that at the fair, the little girls often come dressed like flamenco dancers. We’re not sure why, but it certainly added to the Spanish atmosphere!

On Wednesday, we woke up earlier and made our way to Gibraltar. No trip would be complete without a trip to the top of the rock to see the apes! And boy were the apes out in full force. One of the baby apes sitting on a railing became mesmerized with my sunglasses and kept touching my face, which is definitely a first for me! The rest of the group definitely got their up close and personal encounter with these creatures, until one became a little too close for comfort. My poor friend Lenore, sitting innocently on the stairs, was bitten by one of the apes. Luckily it wasn’t too hard, so it didn’t break skin. However, after that, we decided our adventure was over. We took her to the fire brigade located just at the bottom of the cable car to have it checked out and after disinfecting her shoulder, the firemen declared her safe from harm.

Spain, Gibraltar, Apes, Europe, La Finca, Pura Tapa

My new bestie! I didn’t know Andrea prior to this trip, but had the best time getting to know her!

That evening, their last one in town, we took the group to Pura Tapa, another one of our favorites. We enjoyed a full array of tapas like tuna tartar, mejillones (mussels), cuernos de langostino, patatas bravas (a Spanish favorite), mini hamburguesas, and more. After stuffing ourselves to the brim, we relocated to the nearby beach bar, Chambao, where we enjoyed drinks and the atmosphere until the wee hours of the morning. I’ll tell you what, it may have been a Wednesday night, but the Spanish sure do love to party! Chambao was packed all night.

Sadly, on Thursday, their trip came to an end and they were off to the last stop on their adventure in Barcelona. It was so wonderful to have the whole gang in Spain experiencing what Matt and I get to enjoy every day and we had the best time catching up with them. It really has been the year for visitors and I’m so glad this group was able to make it over. Thank you so much for coming and I can’t wait to see you all in September and October!!!

Categories: Nightlife, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The 4th of July – European Style

Over the weekend, Matt and I hosted a 4th of July party at our home here in Spain. We invited all of our European friends to celebrate America’s birthday with true American traditions. We decorated the house in all kinds of red, white and blue – small American flags lined our yard; we hung bent flags from our railings and our main flag from the upstairs balcony; we put out red and white flowers with small American flags in the middle; and there were red/white/blue candles and lanterns, as well as red/white/blue cushions for our outdoor chairs.

As for food, we followed the rules of an American BBQ. We did hot dogs and burgers on the grill, and I made my Mom’s potato salad, fruit salad, Hanky Panky’s, and best of all, queso in the crockpot (which is always a crowd-pleaser). We played games like beer pong and flip cup. And in the middle of the day, there was an epic water polo fight with a greased-up watermelon.

Honestly, I think the story of this party is better told in pictures, so I’ve included my favorite ones below. What I do want to say is how amazing it was to have all of our European friends support our wonderful holiday. They really rolled out their red, white and blue, and were game to take on American traditions. Based on the current state of our house, I think it’s safe to say we won’t be having another party for a long while. However, I think this one goes down in the books as the best one we’ve had yet.

Party, Independence Day, Europe, Spain

Our house, all decked out in red, white and blue.

Party, Independence Day, Europe, Spain

. In case anyone got thirsty…

Party, Independence Day, Europe, Spain

…in case anyone got hungry! Cheese balls, fruit and potato salad, snacks, etc.

Party, 4th of July, Independence Day, Europe, Spain

Slippery watermelon polo – it was an intense and epic game!

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The Perfect English Muffin

Marbella, Spain, cafe con leche, eggs benedict, breakfast, brunch, English muffin

Enjoying a cafe con leche at Pan & Mermelada in Marbella.

My hiatus is officially over. I wish I had a really cool reason as to why I haven’t been blogging…like, I’ve been on an African safari or jet-setting around the world writing for a travel magazine. Alas, I’ve just been very busy at work and planning the wedding, so I let some of my extracurricular activities slip.

However, with the Spanish summer officially upon us and some fun things happening in our area, I figured now was a better time than any to do what I love doing the most – sharing some of our cultural experiences that make living over here so unique! What a better way to start that than to tell you about a little gem we found in Marbella over the weekend…

I wish I could take credit for finding this amazing spot on my own. However, the discovery was made by a co-worker and relayed to some of the other foodies in the office (ironically, the details were shared over lunch), which really, is an even better way to discover amazing restaurants – word of mouth. Pan & Mermelada is a Canadian-owned restaurant, located about 45 minutes up the coast in Marbella, and on Sunday, I dragged Matt there upon rumours of eggs Benedict with real English muffins! Be still my heart.

Marbella, Spain, cafe con leche, eggs benedict, breakfast, brunch, English muffin

Just a little peek at the quaint atmosphere.

See, one of my favorite breakfast meals is eggs Benedict. The problem over here is that I can rarely find it on a brunch menu and when I do, it is not served over an English muffin, my favorite breakfast “grain.” If you are able to find eggs Benedict on a menu, it is often served on a “bap,” which is really just another word for hamburger bun. Bleh. So you can imagine my glee when I heard that this restaurant made eggs Benedict the proper way.

And boy were they worth the drive! I ordered mine with bacon instead of their usual ham or salmon, to which the owner declared, “great choice!” Served with potatoes and a salad, these eggs Benedict really hit the spot. Salty, creamy, with runny yolk and the most wonderfully toasted English muffin on the bottom. Matt enjoyed a breakfast burrito complete with scrambled eggs, bacon, avocado, Monterey Jack cheese, fresh lime, tomato and sour cream. He devoured that burrito in minutes. And because they are Canadian, the buttermilk pancakes are served with traditional maple syrup – enticing enough to go back next Sunday!

The food isn’t just wonderful at Pan & Mermelada – the setting is delightful as well. An eclectic taste prevails with interesting art, rustic birdcages and lanterns, smooth wood finishing and large open windows that let you enjoy an outdoor atmosphere even if you are at a table inside. We spoke a bit with the owner (it is refreshing to hear an accent so similar to ours) and she encouraged us to come back on Friday evening when there would be live music. Based on the photos I’ve seen on their Facebook page, I’m pretty sure reservations are required to secure a spot to enjoy what looks like an equally delightful dinner menu and the cool music.

I highly recommend this spot to anyone in the Marbella area. With outdoor seating, the perfect breakfast menu (I’ll keep you posted once we’ve done dinner!) and a wonderful atmosphere, I know we’ll be back.

Marbella, Spain, cafe con leche, eggs benedict, breakfast, brunch, English muffin

Trust me – they tasted as good as they look.

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How to Pass the Time for 7 Solo Days

My protector. :)

My protector.

Matt went out of town last week to head up to a conference in London, leaving me for 7 days. It always bums me out when he goes out of town for longer than a couple days, because let’s face it, I’m marrying the guy so I must enjoy his company! I find it easy to be on my own, though, since I did live by myself for quite some time following college. There’s something nice about cooking whatever you want, whenever you want, and coming and going on your own time; sharing a car down here has produced its fair share of difficulties.

So what does a gal do for a week while her significant other is out of town? Well, for one, the little fur ball and I became the best of friends. I’d always said I would never let a pet sleep in my bed with me, but for a full seven days, the two of us snoozed at night side-by-side. Over the weekend, I also let him play outside quite a bit. At one point, I was in the kitchen making myself breakfast, the sliding door open to the beautiful day, while the kitten stretched out on the patio in the sun just outside of the door. It’s like he knew that while Matt was gone he was supposed to look after me, because he never ventured far from the house during “play time.”

Photo courtesy of {how sweet it is}

I also cooked some food I’ve been interested in trying, but couldn’t because I knew Matt wouldn’t like it. The crazy guy hates fish, but I love all kinds of fish, shrimp especially as of late. I know it’s not difficult to prepare two different meals, especially if the sides are the same, but I just find it so much easier to eat the same thing – call me lazy. That’s why while he was gone, I finally made a recipe I’ve been interested in trying – Spicy Parmesan Shrimp Skillet, courtesy of a food blog called “how sweet it is.” Not only was the preparation quick and perfect for a weeknight meal, it was tasty and I got my shrimp fix! I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite shrimp dish, though – I still think the shrimp taco recipe I recently  found takes the top spot.

In addition to my time with the General and the modified menu choices catered to my taste buds only, I caught up on some “girly” movies that Matt isn’t really interested in, but that I’ve been wanting to see. My favorite of the bunch? Pitch Perfect. Now, I had my doubts about this movie. It seemed a bit corny and as singing movies/shows go, I’m more of a serious musical fan and less into the “Glee” craze. However, this movie was so entertaining! While it definitely poked fun at the genre, the music was great and the cast was delightful.

Saturday was a particularly gorgeous day, so I went for a run around the neighborhood, read a book on the patio and then grabbed dinner with some friends. Team activities after work kept me busy on a couple evenings, and a lovely lunch was spent with a girlfriend – we had a great time gabbing and catching up. I have to say, I really appreciate my friends who keep me busy while Matt is away. Otherwise, it would be a long week. And as always, I got a great Skype call in with my family, which always fills a lonely night – it’s as though they are there on the couch with me.

All in all, there was nothing extraordinary about being alone for seven days, however, there were some nice changes to the normal routine. However, even though I was able to keep myself entertained, there was nothing better than seeing Matt’s face in the crowd when I’m picked him at the border on Sunday evening. 🙂

Categories: Musings | 1 Comment

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