Posts Tagged With: New Year

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. 🙂

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 – In 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!



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Happy Holidays

Christmas, Holiday Season, Dallas, Family, Festive

Our very own little Christmas angel!

I love the holiday season because of precious time spent with family and friends. Both Matt and I have our families in the Dallas area (for the first time in years, we all live in the same city!), which makes for days filled with celebration.

As we all spend time together, I so enjoy the Christmas music and movies, late nights enjoying a glass of wine and playing games, the fantastic food, and the excitement as presents are opened and you hope you’ve gotten everyone just what they want.

I also love that so many of our friends are here during this time – so far we’ve been able to see quite a few of them for some festive celebrations. From Christmas sweater parties to dinner out with longtime friends in downtown McKinney, it has been such a wonderful time for everyone to come together.

Matt and I have many family and friends in other states and abroad that we won’t get to see this holiday season. Therefore, we want to extend our warmest wishes in hopes that everyone has a joyous, safe and Merry Christmas, and a very happy new year!

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Just Monkeying Around

Travel, Gorge, Ravine, Spain

The gorge in Ronda, Spain

Over the holidays, Matt and I took our very first European trip since moving. Matt’s brother and his wife came over for a week to visit, travel, and be with us during the holidays. On our list of things to do: check out the amazing gorge in a mountain town called Ronda, head over to Gibraltar to “hang” with the monkeys, ski in the Sierra Nevadas (my first time!), and spend New Year’s Eve in Granada. Whew!

Before taking a vacation for a real length of time, we wanted to find a day trip that would be both close and interesting. Ronda was recommended to us, but I’d also read positive things about it in Rick Steves’ – Spain. Getting there wasn’t exactly easy, though. My traveling cohorts are prone to motion sickness, and the drive to Ronda…well let’s just say it’s on a two-lane road, precariously perched on the side of the mountains, and winds like a snake would in motion.

Once there, though, we had a great time. The ravine, called El Tajo, is 360 feet down and 200 feet wide. The views are absolutely spectacular from the bridge dividing it. The whitewashed town, the Spanish mountains in the distance, and the overall awe of nature was well worth the drive. We even enjoyed a beer on a patio built into the side of the gorge belonging to a popular hotel. Following the gorge, we made our way to the first great Spanish bullring – Ronda is the birthplace of modern bullfighting. We took pictures in the middle of the ring and explored the bullfighting museum. Full of culture and interesting history, I was glad we stopped in.

Monkeys, Apes, Spain, Travel

Hanging with the monkeys!

It was an absolutely gorgeous day when we made our way into Gibraltar to see the famous barbary apes at the top of the rock. And they did not disappoint. This is a must-see attraction when coming to Gibraltar. You can either take a taxi tour of the rock that stops for you to see the apes, or you can take a cable car to the top. We opted for the cable car so we could do our own hiking in the beautiful weather. Once at the top, it was only a matter of seconds before we were face to face with an ape. A woman in our car had mistakenly packed a bag of snacks, which the ape sniffed out and stole from her immediately. This is quite a common thing to see, though tourists are warned not to willingly feed or touch the apes, lest you get charged a fine or an extremity bitten off…

That evening, as our day coincided with Matt’s birthday, we grabbed a Guinness at an Irish pub and then enjoyed a fantastic dinner at our favorite spot – Gaucho’s. Gaucho’s is an Argentinian restaurant where the atmosphere is exotic and the food is deliciously prepared. A hot stone sprinkled with sea salt is placed on the table when your meat is served, giving the patrons an opportunity to sear their cut to their liking. The appetizers were divine, the meat cooked just-right, and the wine a perfect compliment. We finished our evening off with a round of bingo at the casino (don’t judge us) and a celebratory glass of champagne with friends.

Spain, Travel, Skiing

I needed some snow during the winter! All this sunshine is not natural.

The next day we went into the mountains to Sierra Nevada. A quaint and small town at the very top of the mountain, I was eager to put on my first pair of skis. After touring the town and enjoying hot chocolate on day one, I took a private lesson the next morning while Matt and his brother watched on. Boy was I hooked. What seemed a little daunting and scary at first, became thrilling by the end of the day. Matt and I went back up after lunch to put my new skills to use and I didn’t want to come back down! We only skied that one day, but I cannot wait to go on another ski vacation. I may not have graduated from the bunny slopes yet, but I don’t care!

Granada was our final stop on the trip. We spent the morning exploring the Alhambra, the last Moorish palace. We walked for about 20 minutes through the perfectly manicured gardens to the Palacios Nazaries, the royal palace. The stucco in this palace is so old world and so well-preserved. I found that it was great to have Rick Steves’ book with me, because I don’t like to use the headset tours; I don’t know how well they’re cleaned after use, and he gives such a great and detailed history lesson to read as you explore. As he says in his guide, “imagine it furnished and filled with Moorish life…sultans with hookah pipes lounging on pillows upon Persian carpets, heavy curtains on the windows, and ivory-studded wooden furniture.”

Granada, Spain, Travel

None of my pictures really do this place justice. It was beautiful!

Our final activity for 2011 was to celebrate the New Year in Granada. Ironically, Granada didn’t seem like it publicly wanted to celebrate New Year’s Eve with us. The streets were absolutely empty and the tapas bars closed. We ran into some of Matt’s coworkers at one of a few open places and proceeded to find none other than an Irish pub to celebrate the count down. We had a great time until about 3:30, at which point Matt and I decided to call it a night/morning. I definitely want to go back to Granada to have the real experience, because the city is beautiful, clean, and as we’re told, loads of fun. The streets are cobblestoned and have charm, bars will give you a free plate of tapas every time you order a drink, and we hear it pulsates with fun energy all night long.

We dropped off our guests at the train station the next day, and came back to our sleepy and peaceful little town. Needless to say, exhaustion set in pretty quickly, but it didn’t kill my travel delight completely. After only a couple days of rest, I was off planning my next trip: a visit to Dublin at the end of January! But I’m getting ahead of myself. In the meantime, I think I should focus on taking the Christmas tree down. 😉

New Year, Alhambra, Spain, Travel

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from us to you!


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Cheers to a New Year

In 2010, I left teaching and coaching, moved to Ireland to join Matt, joined an American Women’s Club and became secretary, started this blog, pursued my writing career, turned 25, made new friends, and visited Brussels, Bruges, Majorca, and Paris. I guess you could say that I’m highly intrigued by the prospect of 2011 now! Matt and I rested in November and December, but I think my travel bug is coming back. As well as my desire to travel, I have a few New Year’s resolutions I’d like to share in honor of the holiday.

  • Places I want to go in 2011: Switzerland, London, Barcelona, Morocco, and Turkey. We did 4 last year, so I’ll match 2010 and raise it one more destination for the next year. It won’t be easy, but I think Matt and I are starting to get a hang of this traveling thing.

  • I already work for a non-profit, but I’d love to do more charity work. If it happens to be with Suas, then that’ll be wonderful, because I love what they stand for.

  • I want to exercise more. I know this is a typical resolution for most people, but the Irish weather has made me lazy. Since coming home, I’ve reconnected with my love for running, so I’ll have find a gym and keep it up.

  • I want to get my work published in more periodicals. Having my first published article done, I feel ready to kick off and get this writing career on it’s feet.

  • Last, but not least, I vow to update this blog more often than I already do. Not only will this help me with my last point, but I enjoy finding the fun, odd, and annoying Irish experiences and sharing them with you.

So, to all of you, my faithful followers of 2010, thank you for giving me a reason to write! To my family and friends, thank you for supporting all of the changes this past year. Everyone, stay tuned for 2011; I have a feeling it’ll be an interesting ride.

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