If you would’ve told me in 2017 that in 5 years I would be getting married again…I’d tell you that you were batshit crazy.
I did not care to do this again, and while it’s no big secret that I didn’t want a “real” wedding, I’ve actually come around to enjoying putting it together! Oh now don’t get me wrong, I’m disgustingly stressed with certain aspects (the reception dinner) but I’m enjoying picking out bridal party gifts & my nails & stuff like that.
I have my hair stylist picked & a friend of mine is doing my makeup as a wedding gift. I have nearly all favors and gifts purchased. We have our rings sized, polished, & kept in our specially designed ring box. I found a restaurant to hold a reception dinner. I applied for our marriage license about 5 days ago.
We have decided to leave Emma at home…cue my tears. We had waited too long on booking our room so the prices for a pet friendly room shot up so high that I just couldn’t justify putting her through the stress of a flight & leaving her in the room 90% off the trip. It breaks my heart but I simply cannot fathom spending $300 extra dollars when this has already proved to be so expensive.
Our bridal party has underwent some changes during the planning period. A bridesmaid dropped out, then the groomsmen she was to walk with decided to drop out. I figured as much with one of them so I had a couple people on standby & now Clinton’s awesome cousin Peggy will be joining us in the bridal party. The groomsman was a tad more difficult to replace but Clinton’s nephew Shane is stepping in. He’s pulling double duty with walking our rings down the aisle as well. It’s definitely a non-traditional mix going on up in the front but it’s ,literally, a 30 minute ceremony so I don’t care. We have no ill will towards the folks who dropped out because at least they had the respect and courtesy to tell us early so we could make proper adjustments. We get it, shit happens. We originally had a 5th groomsman who just ghosted Clinton about 6 months ago. Stopped responding to his texts, phone calls, etc. I can’t respect that.
We are not doing traditional bachelor/bachelorette parties but instead opting to venture off with our guys & our gals in Vegas for a fun night on the town the night before the wedding. The guys have talked about renting motorcycles & the girls are thinking Thunder Down Under (amongst other dick related spectacles). While Nashville reigns supreme for basic bitch bachelorette parties, Vegas is a close 2nd. Vegas has far more to do, I like it better, plus we’ll all already be there so it was a clear choice to just knock it all out together.
As time ticks on I’m so anxious. I have largely planned this on my own. What if I haven’t accomplished what I’ve set out to do? What if it turns out lame? I can’t have a lame wedding! So many things have already had to change and alter my vision for this day that I’m in a constant state of anxiety that this may suck 😂 if I didn’t absolutely need this next month and a half to continue planning & paying I’d say I wish it was here already so we can just get it over with!
Next week I’ll be making the final payment on the actual wedding itself along with submitting our final music choices & floral selections. I am freaking out!
Please don’t be lame, please don’t be lame, please don’t be lame…
A few days ago I added a flight attendant to Facebook & she saw Emma’s birthday photoshoot – the first thing she said was “wow you sure can tell you don’t have kids”
My response was “umm…your point being?”
I do not want children. I have never wanted children actually. The first time I realized this, I was only 8 years old. It’s such a random and bizarre moment that I recall but I was at my babysitter’s house and she had the news on and they were covering a story about how the Mayans were predicting the world to end in 2012…I quickly did the math to see that I would be 25 years old and I distinctly remember my first thought being of relief that I’d be young enough that I wouldn’t “have” to have kids. Seriously. Not that the world would maybe end and we’d all die but simply “well thank heavens I’ll be young enough when we peace out that maaaaaybe I won’t even have to consider children” I was an 8 year old little weirdo.
I’m a 34, nearly 35, year old little weirdo now…one who still does not want children. I had a brief lapse in judgement while Clinton was recovering from his accident and we were so madly in love and high on life (and high on the fact that life had not been taken from us) that I thought to myself (and one day drunkenly to Karren) “well that could be kinda fun! A baby with the love of your life! I like it…Picasso!” then I remembered my ~now fiancé~ has had a vasectomy and I genuinely do not enjoy children…nor does he. So I came to my senses pretty quickly. A near death experience is not a good reason to have a child folks – 0/10 stars.
2012 rolled around & obviously we’re still on the floating space rock but at this point time has evolved enough to where a good portion of the world doesn’t give a shit if you have kids or not so being child free has been the lifestyle I’d chosen to have. It truly baffles the remainder of people & angers them to a degree, I think. That a woman could be content & happy in her own life without a child. I can guarandamntee you if I had a kid I’d be miserable. I will not make myself miserable to satisfy someone else.
But yeah, it truly baffles people…not long ago I had downloaded this app to use on my Instagram called “NGL” where people can say anonymous things to you or ask anonymous questions. I got one that said “Is there a particular reason you don’t want children?” – at first I thought it was an interesting question but then I just thought “Wow. I’m really out here living life & y’all care about why I don’t want kids? How boring are you?” – I answered it honestly. I love my life & I’d love it less if I had to raise children. I believe I also made a remark about my own childhood as well so feel free to self diagnose me, I don’t think I care. That’s basically what this blog is anyways.
One of my aunts has taken to saying shitty remarks to my mom about being a grandma – things like “The things we do for our grandchildren right Diane? Oh that’s right! You don’t have any” – um, ‘scuse me? My mom and dad would make excellent grandparents (honestly I questioned my dad but seeing him with Emma, yes he’d be a wonderful PawPaw to a child) but being a parent/grandparent does not make you superior to someone who isn’t. Some of y’all need to be checked. A few weeks ago I was flying with my friend Megan & we were talking about how we are literally the anti-bride type of gal – she said something very interesting to me – her mom & dad were never the parents who asked if she had boyfriends or crushes or made the little remarks like “oh is that your boyfriiiiiend?” in the goofy little sing song voice. They didn’t push relationships or marriage & now, she just doesn’t have that ,like, bridal quality. Mine didn’t do that to me either. And I think that same type of mentality can be applied to children. Neither of my parents have ever said something to me about having children – never. They have said things about going to college, getting jobs, learning languages (dear God, my dad still rags me about this), even changing airlines & working for one of the “Big 4”! But they have never once asked me “when are you giving me a grandchild?” And I thank them for that. Even my MawMaw Rose! When I was a little girl, she’d gift me books – all the time. I loved ,and still love, to read. She would always inscribe a message on the inside front cover of everyone of them “go be that doctor I know you can be!” or “become that veterinarian you want to be!” Not saying doctors or vets can’t be mothers (because duh, obviously) but even MawMaw, coming from her generation, never said anything. I wonder what she’d inscribe in books to my cousins…I wish I would’ve kept all mine. Okay, I’m getting off subject here.
Ah well. Can you believe it’s 2022 & I still felt the need to explain myself & my life choices? I actually wasn’t going to discuss it on here because why? You either get it or you don’t. You either know me or you don’t. No one asked for it but that’s the beauty of a dot com that I pay for. I can discuss anything I wish.
A few days ago was my Emma’s 13th birthday! What’s this now? You don’t celebrate your dog’s birthday? Wow. Sad. Can’t relate.
Me on the other hand? Oh I’m gonna turn up! (I watch a lot of TikTok, please disregard me trying to sound young)
Sometime in June of 2010 I became the proud owner to a weird & kinda strange looking miniature schnauzer (I’ll explain this in a minute because she’s definitely still weird but certainly not strange looking) Within just a few months I became mom. By the following year, I was batshit crazy.
So in honor of my girl, let’s go back to 2010 & up to present day for some of my favorite Emma stories.
In 2010 I was living in Charlotte, NC with my ex and needed some companionship while he worked so we began to wonder about bringing one of his English bulldogs to Charlotte. He had 2 wonderful bulldogs that he’d left in West Virginia with his parents when we moved. They agreed to bring us the boy bulldog & the day he arrived he (the bulldog) had a panic attack, spent the day throwing up, paced around our apartment, couldn’t rest, & even after a dose of Benadryl STILL wouldn’t calm down…my ex’s parents packed him up & took him back to West Virginia because he was clearly not cut out for Charlotte life. We were back to square one on finding me a dog until one evening my ex’s mother called & told us that my former hair stylist (who she went to as well) in Kentucky was having to re-home her miniature schnauzer because she’d just moved back in with her parents after a breakup. They (her parents) also had a mini schnauzer who was very old & nearly blind & the puppy (Emma) always wanted to play & needed so much attention that no one could give her so she had to go. We said we’d take her.
I didn’t even know what a Schnauzer was so I had to Google photos of them. I had my ex message her and ask for photos of this new dog we were getting & he was always met with “oh yeah I’ll send you some!” And we never got a single photo. Eventually he even asked a mutual friend of theirs who responded with “oh she is the cutest dog ever! You’ll love her!” But still no photos.
We took off one weekend & made the drive to West Virginia/Kentucky to get our new baby, “Emma”, which I thought was a dumb name & fully planned on changing. We met at his grandparents house & the girl we got her from pulled up in her sporty little red Mercedes. She got out looking very much the quintessential West Virginia Barbie and “the dog” jumped out behind her…she waddled over to us with zero confidence. This damn dog didn’t look anything like what I saw on Google. She looked like one of those dogs in articles on Facebook talkin’ ‘bout “They Thought This Dog Was A Pile Of Trash…Click To See It’s Dramatic Transformation!” – that poor baby had never had a haircut in her 10 months of life. She was so poofy & overgrown. How in the hell can you be a hairdresser and take so much pride in yourself but let your dog look & feel like that? You could just tell this baby didn’t feel good. If she could’ve talked she would’ve said “I’m sorry for wasting your time folks, I’ll be on my way then, thanks for your consideration”
My ex pulled me to the side and said (& I remember this vividly) “How do you tell a person you don’t want their dog because it’s ugly?” Buddy I don’t know but you best figure it out. Anyways, his mom was there & was pulling all the hair back on Emma’s face so we could ,ya know, actually see her face. She was gushing over how cute she was…and ya know what? She did have a cute face under all that hair. And she really was very sweet. So we took her. We were her 3rd home in her short little life of 10 months. And I made a conscious decision that I’d be her last. As soon as we got her to Charlotte, she got groomed. She had so much energy & personality after that! She was no longer timid & quiet as she had been – that’s how I know she didn’t feel good when we first got her. Suddenly she was no longer the girl who bought army pants & flip flops…she went straight to being Regina George.
She had severe separation anxiety & would bark constantly anytime we left. The first time I learned she had an attitude problem was when I’d went to the gym & came back to an absolutely destroyed issue of “In Style” scattered around my living room. There was the time I’d bought all new dishes & Christmas decorations & my ex came home to all of the packaging chewed to bits while Emma just stood beside it like “Yes, yes I did do this” like the little smirking girl by the burning house meme. I know I said I had made a conscious decision to be her last home but there was a time where she and I didn’t get along and after a particularly hard day with her I sat down to write a “Free To Good Home, Just Get This Fucking Demon Out Of My House” post on Facebook –
We had started to keep her in the kitchen while we were at work with a baby gate set up. One day I came home to a bunch of random, weird crumbs all over the living room floor…& quickly discovered she was stealing treats from under the kitchen sink, jumping the gate to eat them in the living room (she likes to enjoy her treats on carpeted areas…still does to this day), & jumping the gate again to go back to the kitchen. Okay…so she got a bigger gate. One day I got to leave work early before Christmas & as I was walking up the steps, I had a thought “wouldn’t that be some shit to walk in on Emma and she’s jumped the big gate and just chillin’ in the living room?” – I opened the front door to a little gray flash!! Emma was running laps around the living room with a Christmas ornament in her mouth. My tree was still upright but she’d pulled all the ribbon off. The trash can in the kitchen was knocked over & scattered everywhere. She’d pulled my cloth napkins (& the dishes displayed on them) off the kitchen table & into the floor. Stuff was everywhere & this little maniac didn’t even notice I’d came home. That was when I lost it – every day it felt like I was cleaning up her messes & she was such an ungrateful brat about it. I went to the kitchen to clean up the trash & had tears coming down my face because she just made me so MAD. She tried to come over & love on me but she smelled like trash and her face was greasy from eating God knows what IN the trash. I began to plot what I would say in my inevitable Facebook post…
“This girl is the nastiest skank bitch I’ve ever met. Do not trust her. She is a fugly slut”
Or something like that.
Anyways, my ex took me to dinner & talked me off the ledge. He also went home & stacked the 2 baby gates on top of each other to make one giant super gate. She never jumped them again. She went onto live another day.
We had more struggles after that. The dog ate anything she possibly could find…one day during a walk I wasn’t paying enough attention & she’d found a random buffalo wing that I (a true germaphobe) had to pry out of her mouth for fear of her keeping me up that night with the shits from the buffalo sauce. I gagged all the way home. During one of our many moves, we stayed with my ex’s parents while he was doing job training. On more than one occasion I’d come home to find that she’d plowed through a loaf of stale bread that was meant to go in the trash and her little belly would be bloated out to the heavens. Or dried Ramen noodles. A pair of eye glasses that belonged to my ex’s mom. Cat shit from the litter box. My very expensive & cute Sam Edelman sandals. Didn’t matter…if it was accessible, Emma was gon’ eat it & you just had to hope you were around to stop it. We stayed in an Extended Stay hotel for a while in Chicago while we were buying our house there & I’d bought a Christmas gingerbread train kit – you guessed it, we put it together, put in on the counter to dry & harden, went to Target & came back to it being demolished, Emma extremely hopped up on sugar & to come down from her high, she ate my ex’s Bluetooth headset leaving only some wires and springs behind. Okay so maybe you didn’t guess all THAT…anyways, I genuinely feared for her life that day. I put her in the bathroom in our little hotel room & told her just stay in there till he wasn’t in the mood to kill her anymore. Even recently while Clinton & I were dog sitting we discovered that the 2 of them teamed up & stole a blueberry muffin. She may be older & wiser but she’s still kind of a heifer.
We’ve went on to have a wonderful life together. We worked on the anxiety she had & now she works as a freelance therapy dog helping others with anxiety (mainly Clinton & I) – a few years ago I had nearly crippling daily anxiety attacks. Emma would lay with me when I’d get home, absolutely exhausted from the pure fear & adrenaline that I’d felt from the attack, & she’d lay with me all day. She never got up & barked to go out or anything…she just let me be & she stayed with me & for that, I’m eternally grateful. She’s been my only friend through many moves around the country. She was my road trip partner when I was driving from North Carolina to West Virginia to Indiana to Kansas City to Nashville to Birmingham to Florida. She is the best car rider. She was ,literally, the only thing I wanted out of my divorce. She is the HBIC in any room she enters. She’s the first to square up with any German Shepherd or Rottweiler. She is truly my best friend. She is truly the best.
When I got my job and had to leave her (and still have to leave her on a semi regular basis) my heart broke. I felt like I failed her, like I too, abandoned her. Luckily she has a PawPaw Barry & 2 aunts & a MawMaw Rose that took wonderful care of her. Actually I gotta say, I think Emma thought MawMaw was her pet human. I think she took it as her responsibility to look after her & take care of her. Remember she’s a freelance therapy dog! She doesn’t go for extended visits to Daytona anymore because we’re settled & I want her to know this place as her home but I can ask her “Wanna go see PawPaw?” And she gets up & barks out “You crazy son of a bitch! I’m in! Get your keys!” or mostly she barks & runs around in circles because she knows exactly who that is & what that means. She now spends her daily life when I’m not here with Clinton who went from being “Beard Gang” to “Dad” & boy, does she love him. Sometimes I think she prefers him to me & while that stings a little, I understand. There for a while she was like that with my dad (aka PawPaw Barry) – she followed him everywhere. She is the biggest lover of people & I’ve always said I think because she got passed around so much when she was a puppy that that is the reason WHY she loves people the way she does – I think she is always on edge thinking she’s going to be given away again.
Over my dead fucking body.
So she’s 13 now. We’ve had some signs of aging pop up the last year or so – some slightly cloudy eyes, some spots on her skin, but worst of all, we had to have her front teeth pulled. Thankfully, having her bad teeth removed has only helped rejuvenate her spirit. She’s back to being the most playful, crazy little thing. I know that one day the inevitable will happen & I also know that I will not be okay for a while when it does. However, I also know that I will have had the greatest privilege having my little shaggy gray girl by my side for over a decade (maybe 2! I’m really hoping we can get her to hit 20!)
We have a lot of life left to live together – she’s taking her first flight in December! To watch her momma & dad get married in Vegas with her by our side. She’s my “Best Girl”. Every time I think of her there, I cry. I’m crying now.
So on that note, I gotta think of something silly. Which is that Vegas will truly not know what hit it when Emma gets there! She’s going to take that city & make it her bitch.
I should finish up the Morocco trip but honestly I’m kinda tired of talking about it so I’ll hit the Cliff’s Notes ::
We went to Rabat ,the capital, & attempted to find where Lindsey’s grandparents lived in the 60s. We were not successful. But not for lack of trying!
I don’t feel like we enjoyed Rabat that much aside from a carnival we went to and rode around on children’s rides & even stuck around for an Arabic concert. Rabat started off looking so cool when we left the train station but I didn’t like the medina area at all. It was overly packed & smelly & on more than one occasion I gagged because I could smell the meat counters.
Lindsey got stared at, glared at, catcalled, and gawked at so much in Rabat that she went back to our riad & changed clothes. It was bad.
Speaking of the Rabat riad – we were not as into this one as we were the riad in Marrakech. This one only had one full size bed for us to share, a set of keys that you had to fiddle with for way too long to get in and out of things (at night this did not feel safe), a bathroom that had a flickering light that didn’t shine enough to light up the shower so you showered in the dark, and a sink AND shower that clogged so you were standing in inches of backed up water…BUT THEY HAD A FABULOUS AIR CONDITIONER!!!! And really, I forgave everything for that fact alone.
We went to Fez for a day & had an absolute failure of a day but we sorta redeemed ourselves at the end.
We flew home Rabat to Paris, Paris to Atlanta, and then I flew my airline Atlanta to Orlando. All the flights from Paris to the USA were oversold by 10 or more and at this point I was ready to be home so I was definitely anxious but we made it on with no problem! Obviously we weren’t in business class going home but we were thankful for anything.
I came home with terrible stomach issues that lasted just over a week. Not sure if it was from the juice cleanse I basically went on while out there or if it was something I ate but I ended up staying home for 2 more weeks once I got back because of what I started calling my “Moroccan stomach aches”
I really enjoyed the trip but it was certainly the hardest trip we’d been on together. I overall felt safe in Morocco & would definitely go back to Marrakech & Fez. I want to go back to visit Casablanca & Chefchaoen as well as the Sahara. And I figure one day I will.
Since being home I’ve been camping at Wekiva again, Clinton & I have spent some time at the beach, my father in law came to visit, we’ve had to change the wedding party a bit, I ordered our invitations, I -for the first time in over a year- got my hair done, and I’m officially back to work. I just hit my 5th year with my company & that means that my annual recurrent training is coming up – late September to be exact. So that’s the new thing that’s taking up my time – studying & doing all my computer work. I’m also pretty excited because I have trips coming up with layover in Salt Lake City & Seattle so I get to cross Utah and Washington off my list of states I’ve never been to.
So yeah, there’s a quickie update. My gut is finally healed, my grays are covered, the wedding is moving along a bit, & I’m back in the sky!
Day 2 was spent going to the souks (the markets), Bahia Palace, (what we thought was) Jemaa El-Fnaa square, & Jardin Majorelle.
That’s a lot to take in in one day!
Our riad provided breakfast every day upstairs in a lovely lounge area – however, it was all different types of breads. I can only eat so much of that first thing in the morning before I feel a little sick. I had a little rolled pancake type thing with some jam & some fresh watermelon along with a fresh squeezed orange juice. The employees at the riad told us that it gets pretty damn hot (not in those words) during the days & that we should venture out in the mornings, return to the riad during midday to relax & lounge, then venture out again later in the day – of course, we did not do that. Every day in Marrakech was over 100 degrees with not a cloud in sight…wear your sunscreen & drink your *bottled* water.
We left & strolled into the souks & as I was trying to take photos of some of the lovelier shops that we were seeing, I got roped into a pottery shop with the promise of “it’s air-conditioned!” Sir, a desk fan does not constitute air conditioning but I appreciate your enthusiasm. I went to snap a photo of one of the spice stalls & the owner got me to go in there too. Next thing I know I have spent $400 dirham (about $40 USD) on spices. However, that Moroccan 35 spice really got me! It smelled amazing. I actually haven’t even unpacked it from my bags yet & I’ve been back for ,like, 2 weeks now. I bought the 35 spice, saffron, & argan oil from that guy.
“Here! Smell this! Very nice!” – shop owner “Did…this…come from an animal or anything?” – me
“You like my shop? Come in! See my shop! It’s air conditioned! See? Air conditioning!” – shop owner as he points to a small fan on a shelf
“Madame this is not hashis, it is tea. Just drink it” – shop owner
“This? This is eucalyptus. It looks like crystal meth” – shop owner
We wandered around a little while longer & decided to visit the Bahia Palace. I want to say it was about $20 USD or $25 USD to get in but I can’t remember really. It was beautiful inside ,however, all the rooms were empty so we took a lot of photos of the tile work, the archways, the courtyards, etc. Walking through Bahia Palace was nice though because it was shaded & kept you from getting pounded by the sun for a little bit.
Upon leaving the Palace, we went into a shop selling tours to the Sahara Desert as well as other places. We purchased one for the Ourika Valley, Berber Village, & Atlas Mountains for $250 dirham (or $25 USD) – they would pick us up the next morning at 9 AM at our riad & we would get back at 5-5:30 PM.
We stopped & had lunch at a rooftop spot – I ordered a tomato & sausage (albeit, not pork sausage because again, Muslim country so I’m actually not sure what kind of sausage it was) tagine. Lindsey ordered “Moroccan Salad” – she asked what was in the salad and they told her it had 7 different things in it. When they brought it out, it was 7 individual little bowls of different Moroccan salads! They bring her this BIG platter with all these little bowls on them & we were looking at it like “…huh?” and as she tried them, we realize, these are not meant to be mixed into a salad. They are individual salads. One was ,literally, a bowl of caramelized onions & raisins. One was muddled cucumber with mint. It had the texture of jelly & was very sweet. A couple of them were pretty decent (I liked the green bean salad) but most of them were a miss. It was a strange lunch. My tagine was pretty good though – I liked the tomato sauce with bread. And don’t forget our usual fresh pressed juices!
We wondered into a large town square. At this point, it was very hot out! I was wearing little black Vans (that sort of look like Keds or Converse) & maybe because they’re rubber based or something, but I could feel the heat from the pavement radiating through my shoes. The bottoms of my feet were getting uncomfortably warm! I decided to start walking only in shaded areas…as I do so, I go underneath this one tent & -BAM- music started to play! I look over to see what I’ve strolled into & I there I see – a fucking COBRA about 4 feet from me. I jumped out of my skin & back into the sunlight, hot feet be damned! I shouted to Lindsey “HOLY SHIT DID YOU JUST SEE THAT?! THERE’S A FREAKIN’ COBRA OVER THERE!” & in my head I feel like I remember saying “We gotta get the hell out of here!” but I’m not sure if I said that or just thought it! She turned around to see it & had her phone prepared for a video as the cobra was moving around, doing it’s thing. A man walked over shaking a hat at us like it was a bowl & asked for money for taking pictures of his snake. Lindsey said “I didn’t take a picture of your snake!” & we started to walk off when another man came up & tried to hoist his MONKEY on us for pictures & cash. We got out of there quickly!
Across the street from that particular square was the Koutoubia Mosque. As non-Muslims, we are not allowed inside the mosque so I wasn’t too worried about seeing it up close. There is only one mosque that allows tours & it is in Casablanca. Lindsey wanted to see it up close & my feet were burning so I stayed off to the side while she went up closer for pictures. This square was not my favorite – the people were pushy, it smelled of horse shit, & there were too many animals out there that look mistreated & malnourished. There were tons of horse drawn carriages lined up to take people for rides – those horses broke my heart. Most of them were very thin & had their ribs sticking out or their hip bones jutted out. They all looked exhausted, heads hung down & eyes closed. I saw one that had swarms of flies clung to it’s face. I would never make those poor horse’s days worse by making it pull me around. I couldn’t wait to leave that square.
So we did – we caught a cab & went to Jardin Majorelle which is a beautiful garden. It is next to the Musee Yves Saint Laurent. As someone who used to be pretty into fashion, I wouldn’t have minded going into the YSL museum but I actually had read some reviews saying that you don’t get to see his home & that the gardens are the real draw – they really were so beautiful! They did have a few YSL things that you could look at (some of his art, mainly) but I enjoyed the plants & the fountains outside.
As we were getting in our cab to leave & go back to our riad, we watched 2 other cabs slam into each other! I said “noooo!” and our driver looked at me & said “no big deal!” and the 2 wrecked cabs ,literally, pulled away from each other and drove off. Morocco is wild y’all! We went back to the riad for our daily cold showers (I never once took a hot shower in Morocco) & decided on what to do for dinner. We took one of the riad employees’ suggestion & walked to a place called DarDar Rooftop. It was such a pretty little space! Inside & out! And it was the one place that we drank alcohol while there…Lindsey had a glass of wine & I had a frose’ – frozen rose’…which was very good. I never drink frozen drinks but I had not stopped sweating since arriving into Marrakech so I thought maybe something frozen would be a good idea! The drinks & our appetizer were very tasty & the setting couldn’t be beat but our entrees ,once again, totally missed the mark. We were striking out in the food department left & right!
Back at the riad, we decided since it felt nice out, that maybe we would sleep with our windows open to help keep the room cool since air conditioning alone certainly wasn’t doing it. As we were laying down, we heard some of the stray cats (which are everywhere, by the way) out in the courtyard fighting. It sounded really bad listening to them growl & hiss & finally we heard one of the staff come “shoo!” them away…we laid down again & I heard Lindsey say “what if one of those damn cats crawl through our window & we wake up with a cat in one of our beds?!” It was a chance we were willing to take – sleeping with the window open actually did help that night!
The next morning we were up early & ready for our tour. More breads & juices for breakfast & while about 40 minutes late, our driver did show up to pick us up. We drove to a local gas station where he had us leave the van we were in & get in another van with a different guy. Oh Lord, here we go! There were 5 other people in the van – 2 French girls & 3 Italian guys. We began the drive to the Atlas Mountains. We drove for an hour & possibly more before our first stop – on the side of the road to visit with some camels. They were very sweet but we chose not to ride them or get on them because they also looked uncomfortable. Another 15 minute drive & we stopped at a women’s collective (I recently learned this term because I was unsure of what to call it) & we learned about women’s roles in Morocco & all about how to make argan oils & argan products. I absolutely loved our tour guide!
She gave us a brief tour of a traditional Moroccan kitchen & how they make traditional dishes such as couscous & tagine, then a more in detail walk through of making argan products. The women that were crushing the argan almonds & grinding them into pastes had Lindsey & I come sit with them for photos before we moved onto sampling the products. We tried ,like, 10 oils plus 3 ways to consume argan. I managed to spend $58 USD on argan products & black soap there! (In my defense, Lindsey spent more) – I felt better supporting them than anyone else. Women in Marrakech are not allowed to work – Marrakech City? Yes. Old Marrakech, no. While Lindsey & I were in the shop trying the products, our guide had us try what she called the “magic lipstick” – it changes colors based on your body heat, chemistry, etc. It’s a totally different color on everyone & she said that men will often try it as well when they have a new bride to see if their colors are similar – the more similar, the more chemistry, the more babies she’ll have. Oh, and the darker the color, the more fertile you are. She swabbed it on our wrists – I felt like mine was pretty lightly colored & Lindsey’s definitely was. She said “So you see…I have a darker shade & yours -“ I cut her off and said “Ours is both light!” and she responded to me with “Oh no! Your’s is darker!” and as someone who does not want children, I wiped that lipstick off of me with a quickness & also said a silent thank you to Clinton for his vasectomy.
From here, we made our way to the village to begin our hike up a mountain to see (& I thought, swim in) a waterfall. I made it about…I don’t know, 10 minutes into it before I said “no thank you” & bowed out. I used to love to hike…when I was in shape. When my hip didn’t need ,yet another, replacement. When I didn’t walk with a very noticeable limp (love when people point that out to me). Now, I do much of anything strenuous & it feels like the muscles in my hip are stretching like a rubber band ready to snap. Sometimes it hurts so bad it makes me break a sweat. I was struggling almost immediately – the men who we paid for the tour from the day before said it was a very simple hike so I thought “okay fine, I can do it” – who knows? I didn’t finish. It may have been quite simple. Anyways, the guide set me up on this weird colorful couch in the mountains that was next to a juice stand & an argan shop (going up a mountain!) & honestly, I didn’t even mind. I did feel bad for Lindsey who said later that they would randomly stop & have time to take pictures & everyone was chatting amongst themselves, while she was the only one who spoke English in the group. THAT I felt bad about. I sat for a while before going into the shops & ordered a juice. After a while, my group came back down & we made our way back down the mountain.
They took us to lunch by the river. I don’t know the name of said river but I do know that it is the only source of water near Marrakech so tons of locals were swimming in it. Mostly men & children with the occasional woman dipping her feet in the water. At the restaurant we ate at, they escorted us down a hillside & to a place with lots of sofas & pillows so we could lay out by the water. We had a 3 course lunch for about $12 USD – I had a vegetable soup that was very good, a vegetarian couscous dish that wasn’t spectacular but was okay, & fruit salad for dessert. Some of the tables at the restaurant were actually positioned IN the water so you could kick your shoes off & cool off a bit! I thought that was so cool. They seated Lindsey & I with the French girls and moved the Italian guys from our group somewhere else. We didn’t see them again until it was time to leave.
It took a long time to make it back to Marrakech & I even looked in the back seat of the van (I was up front with the driver) at one point & saw that Lindsey had dozed off.
Back in Marakech, it was cold shower time & dinner. We had dinner at yet another beautiful rooftop called Kasbah Cafe – lamb & chicken kabobs, veggies, hummus, & of course, our beloved juices. On the way back to the riad that night, I tried FaceTiming my dad and he didn’t answer so I FaceTimed my mom & she got to see our walk back & it just so happened to be at the call for prayer! A couple times a day the city would play an announcement that would call people to prayer. I was prepared for that & always felt it was very cool to hear.
We had decided the next day to make our way to Rabat – the capital of Morocco. Rabat wasn’t our original plan but due to flights & scheduling, Rabat worked. It also helped that in the 60’s, Lindsey’s grandparents & her very young mother & aunt lived in Rabat, so we were going to see if their old home may still be standing!
Yes, Morocco. We wanted to go somewhere different than anywhere we’d been before & boy, did Morocco deliver. Lindsey was actually supposed to go in 2020 with another friend of ours but the week they started traveling is when the borders shut down so they weren’t able to make it.
We started planning this trip a few months ago & despite Emma needing oral surgery, Kilo (Lindsey’s dog) needing surgery on his leg, & me attempting to plan & pay for a wedding…we made it happen. Travel is pretty vital for both of us, we just needed a few months to save. It felt like everyone we knew was scattered around between Italy, London, & Greece while we hadn’t been anywhere yet this year but we knew our trip was coming & it was going to be fucking fabulous.
So we left off in Paris. We had made it back to our hotel at about 2 AM & went to bed with an 8:30 AM alarm. 8:30 rolled around & as my alarm went off Lindsey muttered out “set it for 9:30”. 9:30 rolled around & I turned my alarm off & Lindsey said “I’ll set one for 11”. Funny how when you’re tired snoozing your alarm sounds like a great idea! Once 11 AM rolled around, we HAD to get up! Our flight was at 2:30 PM, we wanted to be at the airport at noon, & it took 58 minutes by train to get to Charles De Gualle airport from our hotel & we were just crawling our asses out of bed at 11. This should be fun.
But we made it.
By the skin of our teeth, we made it.
We bought the wrong kind of train ticket (my fault, so when the conductors came ‘round to scan our tickets I paid the price for that…a common occurrence with me) & as soon as we got to the airport we hit the kiosks for a “security pass” (because we fly standby & don’t have seats until the gate agents give us one, we still need something like a boarding pass to get us through security). We jumped in the passport control line & had 2 small men stop us & tell us that our bags were too big & we need to check them. One of my favorite things about being a flight attendant is that we are usually exempt from that but okay then…back to the ticket counter we go! We ran back to the ticket counter & I get in the baggage line while Lindsey goes to the nearest kiosk to print us off some bag tags. The line is moving quicker than we thought & next thing you know, I’m first in line & the baggage attendant makes me step aside because my bags don’t have any tags on them. I’m pointing to Lindsey at the kiosk & telling the attendant “My friend is RIGHT there! She’ll be here SO SOON!” so she just let me step out of the line & luckily, did not make me go to the back. We eventually make it up to the ticket counter & we learn we cannot check our bags because they just closed our flight. We have about 40-45 minutes at this point & our flight should be boarding by now, when Lindsey spots a man who turns out to be a gate agent. We’re in the mix of this big group of people who are just standing around, totally clueless so she (Lindsey) just skims right past them & up to the man who gladly checks our bags & sends us on our way.
Okay then! We’re back in the game…kinda. We get back in the passport control line & I evil-eye the 2 little men who sent us back to check our bags & reset our progress. The line is moving at a snail’s pace & we still have to pass through regular security & we are quickly losing time… AGAIN. I have my employee badge on -even though being international & the fact that I work for a domestic airline, that badge does absolutely nothing for me over there- & Lindsey tells me I should chat up one of the employees & use my southern accent to see if maaaaybe they’d be so kind to let us pass through a little quicker. She says everyone loves a southern accent. I wasn’t sure that applied to the French as I’m not sure they like much of anything but…she was right!
We had them stamp our passports & we were onto the next part – regular security. We had to take a train to the L gates from where we were (K gates) & get in our line there. The good thing was our line was super short – there was maybe 6 people in front of us but we were down to about 15 minutes before our plane was leaving. The 6 people in front of us had zero sense of urgency & we were just standing behind these slow pokes who were casually taking off their belts and shoes & unpacking their electronics from their carry ons as we were begging them watching our day’s plans slip away from us. When we finally were able to throw our stuff on the belt to pass through the scanner Lindsey told me “Since you’re first, you go onto the gate & tell them we’re here! I’ll stay with our stuff & run behind you!”
As soon as I passed through the body scanner, I fucking BOOKED IT. Ya’ll wanna see this big bitch run? Tell me I’m not gonna make my flight. Suddenly I’m Usain Bolt. I started off power walking but the thing you need to realize about CDG airport is it’s part luxury mall – you pass by Hermes, Chanel, Prada, Dior, Gucci, Cartier, etc before you even see a gate! THIS IS NOT NECESSARY AT AN AIRPORT! When I realized that I was nowhere near our gate I took off into a sprint! Finally I saw it…gate L23. I ran up to the agents, completely out of breath & blurted out “MY FRIEND AND I ARE FLYING STANDBY TO MARRAKECH!!” to the first agent I saw & she looked at me and said “…okay well we will need to see your travel documents as well as your Covid documents” to which I blurt out “MY FRIEND HAS THEM SHE IS STILL IN SECURITY WITH ALL OF OUR STUFF! I RAN AHEAD!! MAY I JUST SEE WHERE WE ARE ON THE STANDBY LIST?!”
This woman probably thought I was a total maniac. She did not let me speak with the working gate agent so I stood in front of the gate, pacing around, & craning my neck to see if I could see Lindsey coming down the hallway. The agent I probably scared came over to me & asked if I could see my friend yet & at this point I’m on the verge of tears. We just went through SO much to make it to the gate, the door is still open, & the plane is still here. We have GOT to make our flight! Finally, I look down the hall again and I see a yellow dress! Lindsey! – tiny, cute Lindsey – weighed down with 2 purses, a tote, a backpack, & clutching all of our passports and travel documents. The tears came. True, raw, & ridiculous overly dramatic emotion overwhelmed me.
Lindsey ran up & asked “DID WE MAKE IT?!”
“I DON’T KNOW THEY WON’T SPEAK TO ME WITHOUT OUR DOCUMENTS!” I’m managing to choke out
We run up to the agents & one of them looks at us & says “I’m sorry. All done. The flight is closed…JUST A JOKE!” Tears still flowing I tell her “It’s not a very funny joke!” & guess what? They gave us seats & sent us on our way. The flight was supposed to leave at 2:30 PM – it was now 2:35 & they still let us on. When Lindsey & I got situated in our seats, we were so giddy that we actually pulled this off! We made it! After all that! She also told me the reason she took a little while coming from security was because she’d been randomed & they swabbed her hands, patted her down, & even searched one of her bags. She was telling them “Look, I have like 4 minutes to make it to my gate!” We were elated though & couldn’t stop laughing over how our day has went.
Flight attendant life – one day you’re being served champagne & lobster in business class, the next you’re running with your whole life to your gate & crying when you’re given a seat. What can I say? The latter keeps us humble.
Paris to Marrakech was a 3 hour & 20 minute long flight – my original plan was to sleep through it but I had just experienced a whole week’s worth of emotions in ,like, an hour so I was coming down off a pretty serious adrenaline rush. During the taxi out, I quickly emailed our riad that we were going to be staying at our flight information so they could be there to pick us up & we were finally on our way.
At this point I’m going to just talk about Morocco for a minute.
*Morocco is in Africa. No one we know really knew where the hell Morocco was so we were always explaining to people where we were. Lindsey’s own boyfriend was telling her “hell yeah baby, tea & scones!” and she had to tell him “We. Are. In. Africa!” – However, they are known for their tea.
*Morocco is a Muslim country & follows Islamic laws & customs.
*Women traditionally are quite covered up. However, they are lenient with tourists although you should still be somewhat respectful.
*Alcohol is extremely rare. I think we had one drink in Marrakech and that was it.
*Don’t drink the water & be cautious about what you eat because our stomachs aren’t quite on the same level as theirs.
*Their prominent languages are French & Arabic, however, in Marrakech we never had a problem finding someone who spoke English but in Rabat & Fez, it was much more difficult.
*Their currency is called dirham. $200 USD equals out to be about $1900 Moroccan dirham.
*We stayed in what is called a “riad” – a traditional Moroccan house that operates sort of like a bed & breakfast.
*It’s hot. Extremely hot.
So, we’ve landed in Morocco & make our way through a very quick & painless customs. We get our luggage quickly & hit the currency exchange for dirham. We follow the riad manager’s instructions to where we can find our driver waiting for us. The heat is pretty serious outside & I’m trying to be respectful by wearing a cover up over my dress. As soon as I saw our driver I asked him if I could take off my cover-up. He looked at me funny & said “…cover up?” and I said “yes this thing I’m wearing! Can I take it off? Is that okay?” and he said “you can do whatever you want sister you are in Marrakech now!” so I took it off & never touched it again for the rest of the trip. I always wore long & loose dresses though.
Our riad was called Riad Chamali & they were amazing. I cannot say enough good things about Riad Chamali & would recommend them to anyone going to Marrakech! They were clean, they were polite, they were helpful, & the house itself was beautiful. We had one complaint & that is that the air conditioning in our room did not cool the room at all. Sometime on night 1, I actually got up in the middle of the night and moved to the day bed that was in our room because it was closer to the AC and it still didn’t help. We relied on cold showers throughout the trip to help. As soon as we stepped inside the riad, you could smell Moroccan spices in the air as well as something very similar to essential oils. It was so nice! They took us out to the courtyard to have me fill out some check-in information and while we sat by the pool, they brought us a plate of cookies & chilled Moroccan mint tea. As a southern girl, I love tea. However, I like it sweet, which this wasn’t. Lindsey said she’s not much of a tea drinker but we were both hot & thirsty and this was cold so we drank it appreciatively.
It was early evening now so we decided to have dinner at our riad. We ordered the lamb & chicken couscous for 2 & our first of MANY fresh juices. That is something I miss about Morocco. We drank fresh pressed juices every day, multiple times throughout the day. They were abundant, I’m assuming because of the lack of alcohol. I actually came back to the States 5 lbs lighter than what I left. A juice cleanse & sweating your ass off daily will do that.
As we were eating, Lindsey started Googling hammams that we can go to.
“What is a hammam?!” Well, dear friends, let me tell you. It’s basically a public steam room or a bath house. You can do a private room as well but Lindsey & I just decided to do it together. But anyways, it operates as a spa & offers services like facials & massage as well.
She found one that said online they were open until 11 PM, which I thought was strange until we learned that 10 PM is basically rush hour there. It was always SO busy at night! She called them & scheduled an appointment for us to have a traditional hammam treatment & a massage that night after we finished dinner. We were to meet one of their employees by the Bahia Palace at 9:30 PM & they would take us to the hammam.
We finished dinner & I plugged in the Bahia Palace into my GPS & we were off on our own for the first time in Marrakech!
Now, I have been doing my research & learning that people will try to give you directions & expect money in return or simply give you bad directions to throw you off so my guard is up as we walk. The medinas are SO easy to get lost in & the little roads just wind & intertwine & there are no real road names so as we’re walking, we’re just walking with a sense of urgency like we know exactly where we’re going. Men & children are all around trying to help us & Lindsey is saying “WE KNOW. WE KNOW WHERE WE ARE GOING” – well, my GPS ends & says we are at the Bahia Palace. No one there. Also, it doesn’t much look like a palace. Hmm. This could be sketchy. So here’s all these damn kids again “the palace is closed! The palace is closed! You must go THAT way!” and trying to direct us away. Lindsey is telling them “we know! We are waiting on a friend!” I’m just standing there quietly, just watching the slew of dirt bikes & mopeds riding around us & realizing I am totally not in Kansas anymore. I watched a Yamaha dirt bike ride by with 2 adults & 2 children on it. A dirt bike. I snap back to reality & see that the door of -what Apple Maps says- the “palace” is opening and closing & there IS a woman inside so I tell Lindsey “maybe that’s who we’re meeting! I’m gonna go see!” and as I am walking over the kids are telling Lindsey “no madame! This is our house! We live here!” and Lindsey says “WE KNOW WHAT WE ARE DOING!” and so I just push the door open & sho’nuff…that was someone’s house. The woman inside looked at me like…well let’s just say, if looks could kill, I would have burst into flames. I just simply turned around & shut the door.
While I was breaking into people’s homes, Lindsey was messaging with the hammam manager. We had went to the backside of the palace & they would be there shortly to pick us up. I looked at Lindsey & half jokingly said “watch this woman pull up on a dirt bike or a scooter to pick us up” – well, after about 5 more minutes, lo & behold – a dirt bike pulls up with 2 women on it. One gets off & introduces herself as Saida from the hammam. She looks at us & asks “Shall we go?” and I’m a little confused but respond with “Sure……..on what?” because in my mind it was ‘bout to be me, Lindsey, Saida, & whoever the other woman was zoomin’ around the medina 4 deep on a dirt bike. She just simply responded with “we walk!”
It is now 10 PM on night 1 in Marrakech & we are following 2 strangers to a spa. This is exactly the shit I had told myself we wouldn’t do. But yet…here we are.
We go down so many roads I know my GPS will not understand until finally we arrive & Saida says “you’d never guess there was a spa in here!” Yeah girl, you sure wouldn’t.
We walk inside & it’s absolutely beautiful & smells amazing. Sort of like jasmine or something light & perfume-y. They take us to the reception area & serve us what tasted like chamomile tea while we looked over the menu of spa services. We decide on the eucalyptus black soap hammam as well as an hour long deep tissue massage.
We were then lead to a changing room where a robe, a set of slippers, & disposable underwear were there for us to change into. Our friendship was about to cross new boundaries. I’ve never bathed with a friend before.
Upstairs we were taken to the steam room. The walls were marbled & hot to the touch and the benches we laid on were padded. The attendants told us to take our robes off so we’re just hanging out in our weird little mesh underwear while they began splashing us with bowls of hot water. Not boiling or uncomfortably hot though. I’m told to lay down on my belly as my bath attendant starts soaping me up & then I’m told to flip over so she can soap up my front. I must really clarify here – these people are thoroughly bathing you. Like, I’m feeling fingers go between my toes & stuff. Then, once we were soaped up, we were left alone in the room for about 10 minutes just laying in soap suds on the padded benches. We laid there like “What the actual hell are we doing? Do we rinse ourselves? Did they even say? What should we do?” then they came back in and rinsed us off. Then came the scrub. They put on scratchy mitts & applied a body mask. They scrubbed & scrubbed & scrubbed some more then showed us how much dead skin was coming off of us. At one point my attendant told me I have “summer skin” & to this day, I still have no idea what she meant by that but she told me it was a good thing. Then ,once again, we laid in a mix of the body mask, sweat, and leftover water for about 10 minutes until they came in to rinse us for the last time. It was the most bizarre night of my life, but it’s been 2 weeks & my skin is still baby soft so I would totally do this again & if I ever find a hammam in the States, I’m goin’.
We were then taken to the massage room & had our hour long deep tissue massages with argan oil. My massage therapist was spectacular. At one point, she was up on the table with me. Like, if I had raised my head up off that table AT ALL I would have hit her in the crotch. Afterwards, I could barely move. It took me a while to function. Lindsey used the shower, while I was still trying to become human again. It is now after midnight & all I can think of is “we’re gonna have to figure our way outta here!” but the lovely ladies at the spa were going home (obviously, given how late it was) & they walked with us to a town square to catch a cab. He had no idea where our riad was so he kept stopping to ask people where Riad Chamali was…I had Clinton following our location from Florida…just in case.
My big trip has came & went & if you follow me on social media at all, you know exactly where we went…Paris!
And Morocco, which will be in part 2.
A little background – my dear friend Lindsey & I have taken a trip together ,I believe, every year since 2018 with the exception of 2020 because of Covid. Our trip to Germany for Oktoberfest is one of my all time favorite memories…ever. I documented it earlier in the blog so you can find that here. Last year, our original plan was to spend a week in France – we were going to start in Paris & just venture out to other places such as Bordeaux & Nice. Sadly, during that time is when France was having daily protests about the vaccine passports & we were advised to just stay away. We quickly revamped our plans & spent 5 days in Belgium instead! We didn’t know much about Belgium at all but we ended up loving it & were even saying that we believed Belgium may have been our favorite trip we’ve taken! It was beautiful, the people were so kind, & we never ate a bad meal in Belgium! One day I’ll have to document that trip as well on the blog. But first ,while it’s still fresh on my mind, let’s discuss this year’s trip –
We decided to knock out Paris this year on our way to our main destination. I flew up to Atlanta early on the morning of the 24th via the airline we work for & met up with Lindsey. We sat at one of the airport bars for the world’s most overpriced glass of airport wine ($18! What in the actual hell? I didn’t even want red wine, I asked for rose’ & they were out) & ate Chinese food (the laws of society go out the door at an airport – expensive wine & Chinese food at 10 AM? Sure why not?!) Afterwards, we made our way over to the internationals terminal. We flew this exact same Air France flight last year into Paris with a connecting flight to Brussels & the crew on our flight were so great to us! They upgraded us to business class so we thought maybe we could try our luck a second year in a row & sure enough – we were seated in our economy seats when the lovely flight attendants came back to get us & moved us into neighboring business class pods.
I’m thankful for any seat that can be given to me (as a flight attendant, we fly standby so we get what we get & you better not throw a fit!) but having business class on such a long flight is so nice & was such a relief to be able to have a proper bed so we could be well rested before arriving into Paris.
Travel tip – While I cannot make any promises, always take your flight attendants treats. Candies, $5 Starbucks gift cards, mini hand sanitizers, $1 bills (hotel shuttle tip money!) are all great ideas. I’ve even had someone bring my whole crew full breakfasts from Chick-Fil-A one day! I know personally I will treat you like a queen/king for the duration of the flight. It’s also nice if you’re flying standby to show your gratitude for being let on the flight.
Once we were settled in, the flight attendants passed around champagne & orange juice. The first thing I did when trying to take a picture of Lindsey was accidentally knock over her damn orange juice. Who even let me in business class? I was so embarrassed & made sure to be on my absolute best behavior from there on out! We stayed up until dinner came around – we had lobster with a salad for an appetizer, I had fish for dinner & Lindsey had pasta (we were told those were the only options left & again, as standby – you get what you get!), and we had fruit & cute little cakes for dessert. I had a couple glasses of champagne & hoped that would be enough to knock me out, which it was. I reclined my seat into a bed & passed out for the duration of the flight, only waking because I had gotten overly warm while sleeping & a final time when the flight attendants were serving breakfast.
Last year, passing through Paris customs was absolutely awful! We were crammed into the customs line like cattle & it took quite a while (an hour or more if I’m remembering correctly) to make it through the lines. This year we were out in ,like, 15-20 minutes. We found train directions for our hotel & actually had a lot of success with figuring out the public transportation this year! I feel like we did so well! Lindsey kind of teases me because I am ALL about convenience so if I feel even slightly frustrated that I can’t figure something out, I’m literally the first to pull out my phone & just book an Uber or Lyft. I get that it’s more expensive than riding a $3 train but sometimes I just don’t have the mental capacity to sit & figure that shit out. I just wanna GO.
We made it to our hotel (found on AirBnb) & while we couldn’t check in yet because it was so early, they at least let us use the restrooms to freshen up & to drop our bags. Our hotel was cute! It was called Hotel Joke & it was kinda set up…well, like a joke. There were toys everywhere, fun prints on the walls, and above our beds we had a huge spinning wheel that you could spin that said things like “turn off the lights” or “kiss goodnight”. The train station was about a 5 minute walk away & had 2 very close bus stops. Moulin Rouge was directly across from the train station as well so we got to see that pretty much first thing! We decided to take the bus to the Louvre & get our day started. We asked the front desk receptionist how to buy bus tickets – she could not give us clear directions but she tried telling us that we could do it by phone, which I found, but could not figure out. We waited for 2 buses to come by & Lindsey would step on & ask the driver how do we buy tickets (we could have paid for tickets with euros on the bus, but neither of us converted any of our money to euros because we were only staying in Paris for 1 day) & they could not understand her. They looked at her with total confusion & eventually she would get off the bus, increasingly frustrated & back to me, still standing on the street. After the 3rd bus looked at us like we were 2 idiots, she blurted out “I fucking hate France!” and we decided to figure out another way to buy a bus ticket. We learned that the train tickets also work on buses so that’s what we did – walked to the train station, bought tickets, walked back down the street, & finally caught us a bus! As I said probably 50 times throughout the trip – we were back in the game!
We did not get to go into the Louvre but I know I’ll be back another time. The lines were terribly long & we didn’t purchase advance tickets so we just walked around and snapped pictures & walked through the neighboring gardens. As we were walking around, I spotted the tip of the Eiffel Tower & got way more excited than I realized I would! As we were walking though, I started to hurt. I have bad hips (no really, I have the scars to prove it) & it’s no secret that I’ve gained an astronomical amount of weight which isn’t easy on these old hips so I hurt quite a bit. I wanted to stop at a cafe’ so I could rest up & drink some water but finding a cafe’ that seemed pretty good proved difficult. They were all super cute but nothing seemed appealing on the menus so I just bought a couple bottles of water before sitting down at one & deciding to split a pizza. I went ahead & had my glass of rose’ I’d wanted earlier while Lindsey had her cappuccino that she’d been wanting all day as well! We decided to go back to the hotel as it was now late enough that we could check in, properly shower & get ready, & for me to take some Aleve. While Lindsey showered, I fell asleep. She let me sleep for about an hour & a half. I don’t typically nap on trips but I guess I was just wiped out. After my nap & a shower though, I was like a whole new person!
I was clean, had on a much cuter (& fresh) outfit, different shoes, & was 2 Aleve deep so I was ready to roll. Sometimes I feel like I’m officially old because I just can’t do the things I used to be able to do. It’s a scary feeling. I say it a lot but I have got to get my fucking self together. We made our way over to Notre Dame, strolled the Seine River, stopped at another cafe’ for fresh pressed juice & I ordered a lackluster pastry, made our way over to Saint Chapelle, stopped at another cafe’ for a glass of wine for Lindsey & a cocktail for me, made our way to the Arc du Triomph, walked forever trying to find a bathroom for Lindsey, & then made our way towards the highlight of our day in Paris…the Eiffel Tower. It was still relatively light out when we strolled up on the Eiffel Tower & we knew we wanted to see it more at night when it’s all lit up. We stopped at a restaurant that we could sit across from it & wait. As we were walking to the restaurant, Lindsey told me “I never thought I’d see the Eiffel Tower” and I said “oh no girl I knew we’d make it here one day!” and she replied “no not like that…I meant like as a kid I never thought I’d see this!”
Yeah. Tell me about it.
The little girl living in a single wide trailer in North Carolina using our neighbor’s electricity (don’t worry, he knew) & having to shower at other people’s houses certainly never saw this coming.
I know it’s touristy. It’s one of the biggest tourist spots in the world even. But seeing the Eiffel Tower is truly something. We ordered drinks at the restaurant (I don’t know it’s name) & waited for it to light up – it came in stages. First they light it up a lovely golden color. Then at the top of the hour, every hour it begins to glitter. They only let it sparkle for about 5 minutes (I started timing it) but the first time that the light show started up, I truly was in awe. I’m not sure when it was but Lindsey said something along the lines of “it really is romantic isn’t it?” & I had to agree – it is. It is everything you see on movies & TV. I cannot wait to take Clinton back. I want to do it up super cheesy & pack a picnic of charcuterie & wine or champagne & have a little romantic lunch in front of the tower. Shit, I would’ve done that with Lindsey if either one of us had thought of something like that! But I digress, yes, it is very romantic.
We ordered our dinner & it was pushing 10 PM but was still quite light out & absolutely beautiful. I ordered a beef dish that was really very good & a Cosmopolitan (I was having a Carrie Bradshaw in Paris moment) & Lindsey ordered “ravioli” that was definitely just a plate of pierogis & a plate of escargot for us to split. I’ve had escargot before, it doesn’t bother me that they are snails. The escargot I have had before were delicious! Karren ordered them during my birthday dinner at Chart House in Jacksonville one year & they were *chef’s kiss* – these escargot in Paris were not it for me, sadly. Mostly because they had a lot of pesto on them & while I like pesto, I don’t love it. They were just very earthy tasting & I managed to get one down, spit one in a napkin, and couldn’t get my last one to come out of the shell, which was a relief to my taste buds. You can take the girl out of the trailer but you can’t take the trailer out of the girl.
We did a *cheers* with our drinks & just stared at the tower for a while. Life is wild. A lot of times during my travels, I have often wondered “how did I get here?”. That was one of those moments. And it wouldn’t be the last of the evening.
After dinner we walked across the “Love Lock Bridge” (I am also not sure if that’s what it’s really called) & over to the Tower for an up close look. We didn’t get very many quality pictures of us with the tower because it was bright, outside was dark, & we just weren’t showing up very well. Once we finally made it there, we noticed people going up into the tower. Look, this is totally up my alley – but Lindsey is afraid of heights. I really didn’t expect her to be up for it but she was! We asked a lady how much & she told us it was 27 euro to go to the very top but it closes at midnight so we had to hurry. By the time we’d got to the main ticket counter the gentleman told us they’d just closed the top viewing deck but we could still go up to the 2nd floor for 18 euro. We still wanted to so up we went! We got in the large elevator with about 10 others & the employee pushed the button that would get us moving. We slowly started to creak upwards. We actually stopped at one point & I thought that was the 2nd level but oh no, it was much higher! Lindsey held on like her life depended on it but she did great! Everything was closed in so believe me, we couldn’t have went anywhere!
The views ,even in the dark, were spectacular. Then it struck midnight & while we were inside the Eiffel Tower, the light show started. This was it – this was the moment I mentioned earlier that wasn’t the last time I wondered “how did I get here?”
Then it was time to go. We had to get back to our room to get some sleep because we were leaving for our next destination in the afternoon. We walked to the nearest train station & realized it was closed down. Once again, we had no euros to purchase a bus ticket & had no other options so with it being so late – convenience won! We took an Uber ,who was very nice to us, back to the hotel.
We will resume the trip very soon…
Cover photo is of the queen, Lucille Ball in the episode of “I Love Lucy” – “Paris at Last”
I flew to Nashville 2 days ago for the Hanson concert with my cousin, Sara. We had a freaking BLAST! At first we were a little worried that after all this time…maybe it would be lame. It didn’t help that everyone and their mothers were telling us it would be lame & that we were insane for spending our money to go see them. We let them into our heads. How wrong they were though! It was a fantastic show!
I’ve noticed that the people who teased us about going to watch a boy band from the 90s are the ones who do ,well, nothing. Funny how that works.
I’ve been stressing this for a while on social media and even on the blog a few posts back – life is short…
DO. WHAT. YOU. WANT!
On that note, let me tell you about my very short trip.
I flew up to BNA on Thursday morning & Sara picked me up along with her son, Mason. I got to see her “new” (she’s been there 2 years but it’s new to me) home. It is absolutely gorgeous where she lives. I see her gorgeous home & this big beautiful yard in the country – her garden & her she-shed & just so many personal touches & it makes me beam with pride for her. Girl is thriving.
Her boyfriend, Charles, drove us in his classic car to go get breakfast. We had the top down & the sun was beating down hard. The vibes were immaculate. We went to a little southern breakfast spot where they have biscuits & gravy on the menu & and serve their tea in mason jars. Makes my southern heart skip a beat.
I really like Nashville. Okay, I even love Nashville. It is definitely a vibe I enjoy. A few years ago during a personal crisis, I thought of moving there but I could never. I need the ocean. I also can’t and won’t do cold weather. However, I dig the occasional getaway to Nash for some vintage shopping, hot chicken, & family time.
After breakfast Sara and I rode to her friend Renee’s house so I could meet her – absolutely adored her. Mason had football practice that evening so we got him home & got him prepared for that. He did not want to go & at one point moaned out “You guys just have no idea how bad I’m gonna feel after this!” which made me giggle.
Another thing that made me laugh is when he asked Sara “if I get hurt, can I say a bad word? Not that F word though, but maybe the S word?” He’s a funny kid. Maybe it’s because I don’t want kids & don’t have them but that had me cracking up – appropriate or not! (*don’t come on my blog being a Karen)
He did great at practice though & I even asked him later “did you have to say any bad words out there?” and he said no.
After practice, we let Mason recoup a bit then had dinner at a local Mexican restaurant which is never a wrong choice for me.
Day 2 we didn’t do much of anything aside from a few errands because Sara is puppy sitting for a friend so we had to pick up some kennels for them to sleep in.
We got ready for the show around 5:30 & I decided for us to just Uber to the Ryman because it was going to be so busy downtown that we didn’t want to be in traffic and stressing about finding parking. Our Uber loved us & gave us her number so she could come pick us up after the show! Thank you Marsha! She made our night so much simpler & we enjoyed her too.
She dropped us off at the main entrance & the first thing we noticed was 3 tour buses in the parking lot…with Oklahoma tags. Any self respecting Fanson knows they’re from OK. Sara was the first to say “do you think that’s their buses?” And I’m thinking to myself “…nahhh surely not” but then I remember that all 3 of them have a shit ton of children so maybe they each have their own bus!
We decided to go on in & get situated. Looking around at so many different types of fans & seeing many of them in their old Hanson tee shirts, we decided we needed one too*. We checked the merch booth upstairs and the line was infuckingsane. You couldn’t tell where it started it was so long so we figured we could just sneak off during a song we didn’t know later in the show.
Back downstairs for her a pretzel & me a Captain & Coke and we went to find our seats. Our seats were pretty good. We weren’t too far from the stage but I was running out of options when I bought the tickets so I picked the best of what was available. My seat had a partially obstructed view because of a camera hanging low a few feet in front of our row. I still managed some good videos and Sara had JUST enough extra space that she got some great videos! I felt for her though because she’s not even 5 ft tall & when people would stand for a song then that was just it for her view!
From the time we walked into the Ryman (aka the original location of the Grand Ol’ Opry) the excitement was bubbling. By the time we were seated, Sara had already said “and we were worried about being lame! Look at this!” Yeah. It was pretty great. A simple show set up but everyone was just happy to be there! The first half hour was spent with a solo folk singer as kind of an opening act. Then there was another 30 minutes of just stage prep so while they did that, we snuck down to the stage for some up close pictures.
Then the actual show started! Isaac, Zac, & Taylor came out & we all went wild! They’ve grown up to be so handsome. Absolutely adore them. They sang ,like, 20+ songs – a lot that we knew, quite a few that we didn’t but no matter what….”MmmBop” was the clear winner here! At some point we snuck off back upstairs to the merch line to check out some shirts. Sadly they didn’t have any in my size so I went down a size & hoped for the best that it fits! I actually still haven’t tried it on…I really like the shirt Sara picked though.
At the end of the show, as we were exiting we noticed a line of people forming outside by one of the buses. We met a woman in line who turned out to be a Nashville police woman who informed us that they (Hanson) would be coming out to sign & meet fans before leaving so we hopped in line with her! She pretty much told Sara when they came out she was going to hoist her up on her shoulders & say she was her daughter & ask them to sign her shirt. I was dying. I couldn’t wait! However, one of the police working the event texted our new friend & said that Hanson canceled the signing because they had so many backstage meet ’n’ greets so security started shooing everyone away. We decided then to call Marsha to take us back home (she was on Broadway so it didn’t take her long to get us) & as we were pulling away there was still a huge group of people lined around the other 2 buses!
Sadly, this was a short visit as I’ve got work & another big trip in the works! I was up at 8 AM & heading back to BNA to head home. I am home sweet home baby with my sweet girl Emma on my lap & Clinton made steaks on the grill. It’s good to be home!
My visions of Elvis and the pink Cadillac fade more every day as I work on choosing bridesmaid dresses (spoiler alert – I decided to just let them wear whatever the hell they want because apparently it’s old school to make your bridesmaids match, duly noted. I’m old.) I cannot find a dress that I deem suitable to get married in. I have a complex with this whole situation – I am a 34 year old woman getting married for the second time. I don’t want white. I don’t want “bridal” – I want sophisticated & classy if I’m doing this as a “real” wedding. If this was a Little White Chapel kinda thing, I’d go even campier. These bridal shops want to treat you like you’re a princess marrying her prince and perhaps I’m too “serious” for that…I don’t want to be a princess. I found the most perfect dress on TikTok at a shop outside of Salt Lake City – I called & the employee was so lovely. The dress was way out of my budget, sadly. That was my “one that got away” but at $3,000…I couldn’t do it.
Against all my better judgement, I went to a David’s Bridal. KNOWING I prefer independent bridal shops. However, it was a spur of the moment thing (I was there to go to Target & DB happened to be there too) & I almost bought a dress. Like, I was there at the register about to hand over my credit card for a $1300 dress that I will never wear again in my life when I realized “I can’t do this” and bolted out of the store. It’s the principle of it for me – I would have to wear that dress every day of the rest of my life, be buried in it, stripped down at the end of my funeral, and have it given to a niece or something before I can see spending that much money on a dress that will live it’s life in my closet. The sales ladies were very lovely but they turned an impromptu trip to look into a whole “thing” & quite frankly, I was embarrassed. When I agreed to buying that dress, I had to partake in “the ceremony” – where I had to close my eyes, hold a bell, & make a wish for my marriage. Then I rang the bell and everyone clapped. Cute. Then I had photos taken that I’ve since deleted of me holding a heart that said “I said YES to the dress!”
Come now. Do I sound like this is something that was a good time for me? I’ve since been shopping at Neiman Marcus, Saks, and Bloomingdale’s for a dress I feel would be more appropriate to my taste & budget. No offense to David’s Bridal but going to Men’s Wearhouse with Clinton for him & the groomsmen was far more fun for me. They don’t infantilize men. They don’t treat you like a love sick puppy in men’s stores. I envy them.
I am also struggling with a reception dinner site in Vegas. I just can’t decide what to feed people. Every time I start thinking of sitting down and really planning things out I just get really overwhelmed and decide I don’t want to do this right now and move onto literally anything else. I’m going on vacation with my best friend at the end of the month and all I want to do is focus on that…THAT is what I consider fun & what I enjoy planning & spending my money on. I’m just straight up not having a good time with this.
Two weekends ago was -as the title implies- our 3rd Annual Fly Girl Camp Out.
Well for the last 3 years, my dear friend & buddy bidder Karren has hosted a camp out at Wekiva Falls outside of Sanford. Her parents take their RV out for months at a time & are kind enough to let a bunch of flight attendants take over it for a weekend or so at a time!
Wekiva is about an hour from our house & is considered an RV park but they have a beautiful (albeit, sulphur – you get used to the faint smell quickly!) spring that opens out into a river. There’s quite a bit else to do as well (you can rent canoes & kayaks, there’s a tiki bar, water slide, pool, etc) & lots of animals around. I look forward to our camping trip every year – we always have such a good time!
I thought I’d revisit some of our good times & tell you about our most recent trip!
2020 – The 1st Fly Girl Camp Out aka “The One With Brody”
In 2020, it was just Karren, Sandy, & I. The 2nd day in, we rented a canoe for 2 hours to take out onto the river. I had not been in a canoe since I was in elementary school when my class went to a sleep away camp for a weekend & quite frankly, I don’t have much of a desire to do it again! However, Karren tells me it’s perfectly safe & she wants to work with me solo in one of those bad boys & I do trust her so who knows? Anyways. We go to get in the canoe & shit starts off rocky because I put the wrong foot forward and I slid in the mud & the canoe pushed away from me. I should have walked the hell away right then. But no. I went ahead and got in. It was much more wobbly than I expected! And we were practically sitting ,like, IN the water! I thought we would sit ON the water and just kind of smoothly bob…but we just weren’t. Sandy sat in the front, I was in the middle since I didn’t know anything about canoeing, & Karren sat in the back to be our driver since she was the most experienced. I really wanted to take some photos while out on the river but the damn canoe was just so wobbly I didn’t want to move anymore than I had to so we could keep it steady. I am alllll about nature…in theory. I love the idea of being in nature – hiking, kayaking, etc – but it all comes down to…I do it for the ‘gram. It’s all for the pictures. I just LOVE taking pictures! However, I shoved my phone in a plastic bag to keep it safe and I sat totally still in that canoe. As the water drifted from clear to brown & we went ’round the bend to the wide open river Karren told me “if you want out, speak now or forever hold your peace because once we go around this corner there’s nowhere for you to get out” and I responded with “nah I’m good let’s go” even though I was so uncomfortable. Sandy told me to sit still but I swear to God I wasn’t moving! I was too scared to! I’m not scared of the water – I’m scared of the alligators. Even though they’re actually one of my favorite things about Wekiva! I love going to shine for gators at night! And that same year, there was a cute baby alligator that was hanging around down by the tiki bar. However, I don’t want to be so up close & personal with them. I like observing from a distance…not exposed in a wobbly canoe. I like a barrier between me & the killer ya know?
Anyways, we round the corner & we’re out in the wide open river. Deep, dark water all around. The girls are gently paddling us out & it took no time before we heard it – a growl. A very aggressive growl. And we just paddled closer to it. I think to myself “Oh Karren was raised on this river! She’ll know exactly what to do! We’ll just paddle on past it & continue on our journey! Good thing we have Swamp Queen Karren back there!” – I was so cavalier about it! It growled again. Long and hard. Karren doesn’t keep paddling like I thought she would. Instead she says “Girls we gotta turn around” and my soul left my body. I went from a nervous shake to a full on body vibration. I was shaking so hard that later, Sandy told me she could feel my legs shaking the front of the canoe. They started to paddle at the same time causing the canoe to wobble and shake hard back & forth. At this, I realized I’m probably going to die. The canoe is going to flip, the gator is going to plop it’s big ass out into the water & check out the buffet of bitches it now had to choose from for lunch. “Who is going to tell my mother?” was my number one thought. My mom didn’t know I was camping! How awful would it be for Clinton to have to call my mom (and my dad! He didn’t know either!) & tell them that I had been death rolled by a 12 foot long alligator named Brody? They know I’m not outdoorsy, they’d never believe it! I snap back to reality a bit & think “all I have to do is out swim the other 2” (I love you both, if you’re reading this!) But instead, Karren remained calm like an absolute goddess & simply said “Sandy. I need you to put your paddle down & let me get us out of here” – and after a minute, the canoe stopped wobbling. We glided back into the narrows where the water gets far more shallow & we slowly got back to the canoe drop off point – right across from the tiki bar. I shouted out “HALLELUJAH THERE’S THE BAR!” & demanded we go for a drink. It was 10 AM. We had canoed for about 20 minutes. I took 1 photo & that was only because the girls convinced me it was safe enough to stop gripping my seat & use my phone. I have not got into a canoe since.
2021 – The 2nd Fly Girl Camp Out aka “The One With The Ghost”
2021 brought out myself, Karren, Wendy, & Jade. Overall it was a pretty normal camping trip but the first night we were wandering around the club house area when someone -I believe it was Jade- pointed out that someone was inside playing piano. We all crowded around the window to see why someone would be out at night playing piano in an otherwise closed clubhouse. We watched as someone did the same repetitive moves over and over. There’s no way this person is real. Clearly it’s a ghost. Our minds were made up. The clubhouse was haunted. There’s a piano playing ghost on the loose! There is simply no other reason behind this. We walked all around to different windows, plastering our faces up to the glass to watch this musical spirit do her thing. We’re all totally baffled that we can’t hear any music yet she’s just peckin’ away at the keys but it still looks like she’s overall doing the exact same thing over and over. Apparently the ghost sensed us staring at some point because she looked up and waved at us, got up to unlock the door, & was going to let us in. That didn’t help matters – she still wasn’t a person to us. Now this ghost was playing with our minds! What a sneaky spook! We told Karren about the ghost & when she saw her she blurts out “Girls that is a HOLOGRAM!” – no Karren, clearly that is a ghost. Turns out we were all wrong when Karren met the actual person the next day. She is real. Or so she would like us to think…
2022 – The 3rd Annual Fly Girl Camp Out aka “The One With The Karaoke”
2022 brought me, Karren, Wendy, Jade, Sandy, & Stephanie. We weren’t all there at the same time. I was only there for one night this time because I had a trip starting on the 15th so I went home a day early to prep & Sandy and Stephanie were only there on night 2. One thing you need to know about these camp outs is there is A LOT of food & alcohol involved. Karren soaks our fruit in tequila for God’s sake. One thing you need to know about me is in my day to day life, I don’t really drink. I keep some seltzers in the fridge & have a decently stocked little liquor selection but I do not typically sit around & drink. I do my most drinking with Karren and Wendy. Another one of my favorite things about the camp outs is that I get to let loose & I don’t have to be the mom friend (I’m always the mom friend, even though I’m not a mom). So on night one after faaaar too much to drink we made our way to the tiki bar to watch karaoke (& have more to drink). Jade went to buy us all green tea shots and ended up coming back with 4 tiny bottles of Fireball. As folks say – everyone has a Fireball story. Wendy broke her ankle on Fireball. Karren rolled down a hill on Fireball. Now see though, I didn’t have a Fireball story. But I guess I do now. Next thing I know Karren is signing us up to sing “Country Roads” & I realize I’m gonna have to do this! Yet another thing you should know about me – karaoke & me don’t mix. It’s my definition of pure hell butttt when you’re with your girls & you’re practically pickled suddenly it seems like the best time ever – AND IT WAS. Even if they only let us sing the one song & told us “no mo'” We still made our presence known by joining in everyone else’s songs – “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes & “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice. Or as Jade preferred to sing…”Under Pressure” by David Bowie & Queen. We may have joined in a bit louder than they would have preferred. After karaoke Jade, Wendy, & I somehow got locked in the bathroom. Memories are going a bit hazy here but I’m pretty sure the golf cart died on the way back to camp & Jade and I sang “Friends in Low Places” from the back of the golf cart as it was dying. I vaguely remember this because the next day my Spotify opened up to “The Best of Garth Brooks” and I was confused. So that is my official Fireball story & alls I’m gonna say is – thank God I didn’t break my ankle.
“We weren’t in tune, we weren’t in key, & we weren’t together but I think they really liked us!” – Jade
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*I have left out all photos & videos from karaoke night because let’s just say…it’s for the best.
Cover photo was found on Pinterest with no link to where it originally came from…I’m sorry. If I find it, I will link. I promise!