Posts Tagged With: America

Your Favorites of 2013

It has been a crazy and wonderful year! Who knew that a year that started in Spain would end permanently back in America? It has also been one of the best yet – I married my best friend this year! This post isn’t about what I loved in 2013 though. I took at look at my site stats and thought I would share your top 10 favorite posts of the year.

10. One Month and Counting…¬†– It was a simple post, but it was wonderful to be able to acknowledge one month of marriage and how different life would now be after things settled down.

Clyde Brown Productions, Christina Littleton Photography, Cincinnati, Earth Tones

9. Back to School – Back in America, back in the classroom! It’s been a whirlwind, but doing something that comes so naturally while we get ready for the next step in our future has been a comfort.

8. Spanish Culture – I wrote this one a long time ago…May 15, 2012 in fact! However, you seem to love it and you kept it as a favorite in 2013. What’s not to love about Spain and their culture?

Sevilla, Spain

7. October 19, 2013 – Best day of my life! The rest of our photos became available recently, and I just cannot stop looking at them. This has to be one of my favorites though. ūüôā

Clyde Brown Productions, Christina Littleton Photography, Cincinnati, Earth Tones

6. Entering Gibraltar – Avoid the Airplanes! – You were just as enthralled in the process of crossing the airport runway every single time Matt and I entered and exited Gibraltar as we were. This one was written way back in January 2012, but the craziness of it never got old. I can’t say that I miss crossing the border every day to go to work, nor do I miss waiting for the airplanes to take off to get there!

I stole the following picture from my friends Kaitlyn and Chris, who came to visit us while we were living in Spain. It is a fantastic look at how the runway divides the two countries. They are taking the photo from atop the Rock of Gibraltar and you can see the long runway strip with traffic driving right across it in the middle! On the other side is the city of La Línea de la Concepción, Spain.Spain, Runway, Airplanes

5. Why I Went Missing – Blame it on tradimo… – I’d gone on a long blogging hiatus and in this post, I told you why! It was the first time I gave a glimpse of my work life in Gibraltar.

4. The 4th of July – European Style – Ah, the epic 4th of July party in which we drew upon American customs to entertain our European friends! They absolutely loved the games of beer pong, the greased-up watermelon fight, and of course, the American cuisine.

Party, Independence Day, Europe, Spain

Our house, all decked out in red, white and blue. I miss this place.

3. A Final Fling Before the Ring x 2 РIn preparation for my nuptials, I was lucky to have not one, but two bachelorette parties! One in Spain and one in Dallas. Both of my hostesses were absolutely amazing and I had the best time.

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

A celebration before finally becoming a Mrs.!

2. The American Invasion – I don’t blame you guys for loving this post. Having my friends come to visit us was such a fun time – from dinners at La Finca and Pura Tapa, to the Spanish fair, and of course, a trip up the Rock of Gibraltar that ended in an ape bite. It was a visit I’ll never forget.

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

1. Drumroll please!!!! Your favorite post in 2013 – Emily En America!!! After all of my traveling blog posts, the countries visited, the cultures chronicled, it really means a lot to have my move back to America come in first place. Matt and I are so very excited to be home, though we definitely miss life abroad.

This year has brought so many changes to our life and I’m so glad to be able to continue my writing and to have you as loyal followers! Thank you for giving me a reason to write this blog and I hope you have the best New Year! Here’s to what 2014 has to offer!



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

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

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!

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

I Guess This Means Summer is Over

Rain, Europe, America, US, Ireland, Gibraltar, Spain, Rock of Gibraltar

The view from our bedroom patio. Usually you can see Gibraltar clearly from this vantage point. Not today…

I am one happy girl today – it’s raining! When I woke up this morning, it felt unnaturally dark, or at least darker than it usually is at that time in the morning. As I stumbled to the bathroom for my shower, I noticed the sound of water hitting pavement. Though I was confused for a second in my morning haze, wondering how the shower started without me, it only took a moment to realize the sounds were coming from outside. I rushed to our upstairs patio – lo and behold, the first, hard rain since spring. I couldn’t see the Rock of Gibraltar through the thick downpour.¬†I am officially the crazy one that craves drizzle, or thunder, or a hard downpour.

However, I think this brings a great opportunity to explain something to my American friends. In the US (for the most part), rain doesn’t hinder your day-to-day comings and goings like it would if you lived in Europe. I know that if I were still living in Texas, I would simply cover my head or use an umbrella for the brief run to my car, and then from my car to my place of employment. Many places have parking garages that allow you to stay dry. There are¬†sky-walks in major cities that connect hotels and hospitals to huge shopping centers.

Over here, it is a much different experience. Take today for example: Matt and I drove to the border as we always do. The queue to drive into Gibraltar was far too long to wait in, especially since Matt had a meeting to make. Therefore, we had to go with our daily routine of parking in the dirt parking lot on the Spanish side of the border. Because of the downpour, the dirt parking lot was now a mud parking lot, scattered with puddles the size of small ponds. We parked in the rockiest area we could find and prepared ourselves for the long walk to the border. We zipped up our¬†wind breakers and I tied the¬†hooded¬†part tight to my neck. For good measure, I wrapped a scarf around my head as well – I wasn’t going to let the rain ruin my hair. We then trudged through the mud and water to the border.

Rain, Europe, America, US, Ireland, Gibraltar, Spain, Rock of Gibraltar

He gets me.

By the time we made it, our shoes were already soaked through. Sure, I have boots I could have worn (we did live in Ireland after all), however we were caught off guard by the downpour this morning and didn’t have time to search through our winter/Dublin stash. I’d thought ahead, though, and threw a second pair of shoes into my bag for the office before leaving.

At the border we had to walk with the traffic, because a menacing pool of water had formed in the narrow stretch of pedestrian walkway, making the path impassable.¬†Once on the Gibraltar side, we still had at least a twenty minute walk, or we could wait for a cab or take the bus. Waiting for a cab would mean standing in line in the rain. Taking the bus would mean walking a bit further in the downpour, but we’d be drier faster once on the bus. We chose taxi, because the line wasn’t very long, and we were sharing a small umbrella. When we finally made it to the office, I swapped out my shoes, took off my¬†wind breaker, and was happy to find that my hair was still in order and most of me was dry.

Keep in mind that while I was living in Dublin, this was more of a daily¬†occurrence, but there were some differences. Add whipping wind that doesn’t allow you to use an umbrella. Add a walk to the tram, then a twenty minute walk through the city to the office. Add cold and frigid temperatures. In Europe, it’s not so easy. You cannot simply hop in your car and drive door to door. I am a huge proponent of public transportation, however days like these remind me that life is quite different over here. I am by no means complaining – take the first sentence of this post as proof! However, I thought it would be fun to share how different something as minor as going to work can be when the culture doesn’t allow for the ease or preference of staying dry.

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Independence Day

4th of July, Independence Day, American Flag, Barbeque, Fireworks

With Matt gone, I had to take this myself, and let’s just say I’m not too skilled at self-portraits! You get the idea though…

I may be a day late, but a belated Happy 4th of July to all of my American friends and family! I celebrated here as best as I could. Unfortunately, my American partner-in-crime (read: boyfriend) was out of town for meetings, so I was the sole and lonesome American in this neck of the woods. Never fear, though, because my European friends rallied and did their best to show their support! On the 3rd, we had a company gathering at the offices and luckily for me, the balloons were red, white and blue to represent the colors of our new brand. Well, at the end of the party I stole a couple and tied them to my chair for the next day. However, when I arrived, they had doubled in quantity! My sneaky friends at the office made my desk more festive with extra balloons and left a “Happy 4th of July” note for me.

Dressed in my 4th of July best, people stopped by throughout the day to admire my decked out corner of the office. I matched my surroundings in a white and blue dress, white cardigan, and an American flag scarf (yes, I own an American flag scarf). That evening, a few friends invited me to join them at Gaucho’s for an Argentinian steak. They concluded that a steak at Gaucho’s was the closest I would get to an American barbeque, and they were right. We had a lovely time sitting outside, feasting on Gaucho’s amazing cuisine (I’ve mentioned this place on more than one occasion), and an American passerby even commented on my scarf. I guess Matt and I aren’t alone down here!

Though it would have been wonderful to have the day off to barbeque, shoot fireworks, and be with family and friends back home, I think this European twist had its own charm. I felt extremely patriotic all day and I never once forgot how thankful I am to the men and women who fight every day to keep America free. I am proud to be an American, and yesterday, not a single European could doubt that one bit.

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Endless Summer

4th of July, Independence Day, Summer, Spain, TexasHappy July! I cannot believe June is already over. It really went by so quickly and I wish I could get all of that time back. Summer in Spain is like nothing I’ve ever experienced: beach bar parties, late night tapas, tons of time spent in the pool, and comfortably sitting out on the patio in the evenings. After living in Texas for so long and dealing with the oppressive heat, it’s a nice change being able to sit outside without sweating! With the start of July, I suddenly panicked – I don’t want summer to end! I know we have a long way to go until that happens, but the days are going by so quickly and before I know it, the beach bars will close up and I’ll be one sad se√Īorita.

In the meantime, I’m going to soak up everything the Spanish summer has to offer. This week, though, I can’t deny the mother of all American holidays, Independence Day, so I will be infusing my western culture into my daily European life. With 4th of July inspired barbeque recipes and a bit of red, white, and blue, I don’t plan on forgetting where my roots are firmly planted. Here are some things that have my creative juices flowing:

4th of July, Independence Day, Summer, Spain, Texas

Like always, I pulled a bit of inspiration from Pinterest in today’s search for the best ways to celebrate the 4th of July. Well, Pinterest led me to {mel’s kitchen cafe} and a post including 45 recipes for the 4th! Among the recipes there are meats, sides, drinks, and desserts. I think I’ll be using these recipes for the rest of the summer, as well.

4th of July, Independence Day, Summer, Spain, Texas

At {Creations by Kaitlin} I found this DIY American Flag that I’m certain I’d be able to successfully create myself. I’m not the most crafty person in the world – in fact, I quite suck at crafts. However, I think this project may fall within my abilities.

4th of July, Independence Day, Summer, Spain, Texas

Add a pair of red wedges and/or a red scarf and you’ve got an adorable 4th of July outfit here. I’ve got my outfit planned for the 4th and it includes an American Flag scarf, but you’ll have to wait until Wednesday or Thursday to see. ūüėČ

Independence Day, America, Spanish Summer, Food

Oh my! I love this! When I first published this post, I hadn’t seen this photo yet. Thanks to Pinterest, which linked me to {Preptige} I can add it after the fact. She looks absolutely 4th of July chic!

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A Texas-Inspired Summer

Okay, so June was a bad month for this blogger, but can you blame me? With all of the traveling going on, sometimes I feel like I’m in a rush while checking my emails! I recognize that I only posted 4 times (yikes!), so I officially vow to make July a fantastic blogging month. It shouldn’t be hard, since I am back in Texas and have the whole summer to immerse myself back into an American way of life. Along the way, I hope to look at things with a fresh perspective like I did when I moved to Europe, thus entertaining you with things I hadn’t noticed about life in Texas and America before. And what better way to start than with the 4th of July weekend?!

I still have a couple European hotspots to write about that Matt and I visited on our Western European vacation expedition, but I think I’ll mix those in with my every day writings at some point. For now, I want to say a quick “happy 4th of July weekend!” and visually prepare for 3 days of bbq, sunshine, water, cold beer, and of course, fireworks!


Image via <apartment #34>

American Flag

Image via <apartment #34>


Image via <so sweet stationary>

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Emily En America

Christmas Eve in Dallas and we are sure happy to be home!

Well, the big day has passed and I am tired. I feel like I’ve been going non-stop since I got home; add jet-lag to the equation and whew! It’s been a good busy, though, because it means that I’ve already had the chance to see a lot of people, get in a good amount of visiting with my family, and make the most of my time at home.

After our long trip over, Wednesday was a chance to re-group and rest up. The only problem was that I hadn’t finished my Christmas shopping, and waiting any longer would mean getting stuck at the mall with all of the other last minute shoppers (you know who you are). I decided to fight the fatigue and push through the day. Besides, I have heard that forcing yourself out and about after a long journey is a great way to kick the jet-lag. So, I partnered up with my Dad and we went out to get last minute things for my Mom, sister, and Matt. It was a nice time just the two of us, catching up and cracking jokes. It was definitely better than wasting time on the couch.

The next day, Thursday, I used my time to finally relax. That night, I took the opportunity to see high school friends, since they were all home for Christmas. Matt came up and we went to dinner with Kaitlyn and Chris, who you may remember from the wedding in August; I was pumped to see the couple for the first time since the wedding. We went to Square Burger in Downtown McKinney, a trendy burger restaurant with over 60 beers on tap. Definitely a great addition to the McKinney Square. From there we met up with my high school friends Ashley, Callie, and pretty much the rest of the 2004 McKinney graduating class.

Who doesn't want to play with an adorable puppy during the holidays?!

On Friday, Christmas Eve, we were supposed to go to Christmas Mass, but the rain, excessive amount of people, and lack of parking caused our decision to go Christmas morning. I left for Dallas early to spend the evening with Matt’s family at his future sister-in-law’s home. Anna’s family prepared a Mexican feast last year on Christmas Eve, which I attended, and did the same this year. The food is AMAZING, with guacamole, stuffed jalapenos, tamales, etc. I’ve really enjoyed the occasion both years, this year especially since it’s been so long since I’ve had great Mexican food! Back at his parent’s home, we watched the bowl game and played with his brother’s adorable new puppy.

Yesterday, our decision to push back Christmas Mass was rewarded, because it was comfortable and not over-crowded. Our Christmas breakfast consisted of Belgian waffels, followed by gift exchange and a nap. Matt came up to spend the evening with my family, where we played games of backgammon, Mario Kart on Wii, and watched football on t.v. My Mom made a turkey since we don’t get it often in Ireland, with cheesy potatoes, stuffing, cream spinach, rutabaga, and corn. We didn’t even touch the pie after dinner, due to the onset of a food coma! Matt had a cigar with my Dad and we all just relaxed for the rest of the evening.

Here we are now, the day after Christmas, and I’ve finally slowed down. Brunch was eaten, naps were had, Wii was played, and the house has been picked up. I only get a small chance to breathe, though, because tonight we will have Christmas dinner part 2 thanks to all of the leftovers, followed by an evening out with college girlfriends to celebrate a birthday. Ahead of me, we have the arrival of Matt’s grandparents, Matt’s birthday, New Year’s Eve, you catch my drift. But I’m loving every second of it, because it wouldn’t make any sense to come home and hide out, now would it? ūüėČ

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

End of an Era

Boomer Sooner! Let’s send those traitorous Cornhuskers off to the Big 10 with one last loss in the mighty Big 12! The history of the match-up between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Nebraska Cornhuskers goes back for decades. It is only fitting that the last Big 12 Championship game happen between these two teams. In honor of this¬†momentous¬†and historic occasion, I leave you with a few fond memories of my Big 12 Game Days spent at Oklahoma.


An oldie, but goodie! OU/tx my Senior year! Oklahoma won ūüôā

Game Day with my two best girlfriends - my sister and Christine!

Love you Slim! Game Day at the tailgates on Lindsey St.!

Bringing Matt into the OU fold at the unveiling of the new Texas Stadium - OU vs. BYU


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