Blackwater River

Even though Rob has technically been station at Whiting Field in Milton for the last few months, we spend all of our time on the Pensacola side of the bridge.  I don't think we are missing much but I did want to explore the Blackwater River before we move.  The weather was gorgeous this week and since Rob is between schools and doesn't have to go in to work, we decided to take advantage and have a little day date adventure!
Bob's Canoe
Bob's Canoes in Milton
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We packed a lunch and drove out to Milton to float down the river.  We decided to rent our kayaks through Bob's Canoes and would definitely recommend them.  You park, pay (cash only!), and then hop in the back of the truck.  They load up the kayaks/tubes and drive you about four miles down the road to a drop point in the river.  Once you get there, they unload everything, help you get set up in the water, and off you go.  So helpful for new people like us!
Floating on the Blackwater River
Kayaking in Milton, FL
Floating down the Blackwater River
Once in, we just spent a couple of hours floating down the Blackwater River. Honestly, it was gorgeous and so relaxing. We really only used the paddles to steer so it was a super easy day.  We put our kayaks on the sand a couple of times and hung out in the water.  The water is chilly but felt wonderfully refreshing in this Florida humidity.  We had the entire river to ourselves, with the exception of a couple of groups of tubers.  I'm sure it is busier on the weekends but it was really peaceful on a Wednesday afternoon!  We floated for several miles until we came to the sign for Bob's canoes.  A man was there to help get our kayaks out of the water and onto the truck and drove us right to our car.  We had a great time!
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Bob's Canoes


Last week was equally exciting and nerve-wracking as we anxiously waited for Rob's selection on Thursday.  After being in Primary (this phase of flight school) for almost eight months, Rob finally was finished and ready to select which type of aircraft he would fly -- jets, helicopters, C-130s, or ospreys.  He selected his preferences and then based on his grades and the "needs of the Marine Corps", he would be selected for one of the four options.  With that selection would also come the location of his next school (and our next home!)
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All week long we were anxious.  Rob seriously worked so hard in Primary and we knew he was good enough to at least have a chance at his top choice but there was always the possibility that there may not even be a slot available that week.  By the time Thursday came around, we had pros for every single option and were just ready to find out!
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Selection for VT-3 is held in the squadron bar.  All of the students selecting that week sit at the bar in front of the CO and another instructor pilot.  They go around and say what they are hoping for, then the first person starts.  They make a toast to the bar (the first one always goes to the Red Knights-the squadron), take a drink, and pull a chip out of the cup.  The chip contains the name of one of the airframes (or sometimes joke ones like UFO).  They hold it up and the CO tells them that yes, they got that or no, they did not.  They continue making toasts and pulling chips until they get a "yes".  It's really fun watching other people but my hand was definitely shaking a little filming Rob select!  When it was finally Rob's turn, he selected......

I seriously could not be more proud of him!  He worked his butt off and it paid off!  We are officially moving to Meridian, Mississippi next month so Rob can start jet school.  (But that is another post for another day!)
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After he selected, Rob actually had his tie cutting, which is totally out of order.  Tie cutting is supposed to happen after your first solo flight however due to schedules and the detachment to Michigan, Rob and a lot of the guys had their tie cutting after they selected! They sit on this tiny plane and tell funny stories with their on-wing (the instructor they learn to fly with) and then the on-wing cuts their tie and they tack it to the ceiling of the squadron bar.  Rob and Nik both had the same on-wing (they were also roommates and TBS and both were selected for jets in Meridian!) so of course their stories were goofy and kept us laughing!
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We headed to McGuire's to keep the celebration going!  We have been joking about ordering the "grand burger" to celebrate when Rob got jets since we moved to Pensacola so, of course, when it happened we had to actually do it!!  It was totally worth it and a fun "Pensacola" way to celebrate Rob's accomplishments!

Flora-Bama Jama

Our weekend was filled with sand, sun, bushwackers, and Kenny Chesney on the beach.  Does it get more summer-y than that?!  Saturday was the Kenny Chesney concert at the Flora-Bama (nicknamed Flora-Bama Jama!)  We knew it was going to be a long day and tried to mentally and physically prepare but nothing could really prepare us for what was to come!
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Kenny Chesney concert at the Flora-Bama
First a little background:  Kenny Chesney decided to take the year off from touring to work on his new album.  Then at the last minute he decided to do a free concert on the beach at the Flora-Bama.  And write a song about Flora-Bama.  The Flora-Bama is a crazy bar located right on the Florida/Alabama state line (read more here and here and here).  It's a bar that has bras hanging from the ceiling and people travel from all around each year to toss a mullet.  In other words, it is always a ridiculously fun, redneck time!  Of course, everyone wanted in on this experience and tickets were gone in 9 minutes.  The Flora-Bama is only an hour away (and like 2 miles from our old place in Perdido Key!) so we knew we could not miss it!
Flora-Bama Jama
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The Flora-Bama was set to open at 10am and the concert started at 5pm.  We woke up early to make it to the bus by 9.  Not knowing what to expect, we were pleasantly surprised to hop right on a bus and head straight to the Flora-Bama.  When we got there, we waited in line for a little over an hour to get in but were in by 11.  Temperatures were already well over 90 degrees with ridiculous humidity so we knew we needed to make a game plan to survive the day.  (People were passing out constantly throughout the day)  We decided to set up camp inside of the Flora-Bama and hang out in the air conditioning until it got a little closer to show time.  We clearly were not the only ones who thought of this, as the place was wall-to-wall packed with people.  
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We hung around inside until around 2 then went out to the beach for a while and hung out in the Gulf.  By this point, EVERYWHERE was packed.  People and boats and beers in every single direction with barely a cloud in the sky.  It was simply insane!  (They said later there were over 40,000 people in attendance!)  
Flora-bama Jama
Flora-Bama Jama
We nabbed a close spot just before Kenny came on.  He was awesome, playing all his hits and mixing in some new stuff.  He started off with "Flora-Bama" so of course the crowd went insane.  They actually filmed the entire concert and it will be playing on CMT in November so I'm looking forward to re-living it then! 
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Photo courtesy of the Flora-Bama Facebook page
It's really difficult to explain how many people there were there.  The picture above just barely do it justice!  I was actually really impressed with how well the concert was run.  The Flora-Bama is located on a two lane road that backs up on any given Saturday.  With that said, we hit very minimal traffic in either direction.  The temperatures were ridiculously hot and people were passing out right and left but they were giving out free bottled water the entire concert as well as having the fire department spray the crowds with hoses.  Free bottles of water is extremely generous and we took full advantage.

Friday Favorites: Kenny + Bushwacker

Happy Friday! A couple of current favorites:
The Gulf Orange Beach, AL
We headed over to our old stomping grounds this week in Perdido Key to pick up our wristbands (see next point) I was so nostalgic driving over the bridge and passing our old house, which is kind of silly considering it's only an hour from where we live now, but I still miss it!  We grabbed lunch at The Gulf which is hands down my favorite place in all of Pensacola.  Nothing beats this view! 
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A few weeks ago, Kenny Chesney randomly announced he was going to end his 2014 hiatus by doing a free concert on the beach at the Flora-Bama!!!  Of course I freaked out and knew I had to get my hands on tickets.  I was on my computer/phone/ipad at 7am when tickets were released online and had my mom and sister doing the same.  The website crashed repeatedly and tickets were gone in 9 minutes but somehow we nabbed tickets!  The concert is this weekend and I cannot wait!!! His new song, Flora-Bama has been on repeat at our house all week.  
Bushwacker Shakeology Recipe
In addition to blasting Kenny, I have been craving a bushwacker.  Flora-bama and bushwackers go hand in hand.  Although my mind is in weekend mode, drinking a bushwacker at 9am on a weekday is typically frowned upon (unless you are on vacation!)  Instead I decided to make mix up my shakeology and try out a bushwacker version.  I must say it's pretty darn close and a much healthier option for a weekday morning!
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Finally, it's hard for me to believe but my sister is moving into her dorm and starting college today! I don't know where the time goes or how she is possibly old enough for college but I am so excited for her!  I keep begging her to let me move in with her ;)
Linking up with Amy

Junior League Floral Design Class at Fiore

Last night, Rob was scheduled for a night flight (3 flights left in Primary!!!) which worked out perfect because I had already signed up for a girls night floral design class with Junior League at Fiore.  Fiore is this adorable flower shop located in downtown Pensacola which, in addition to doing gorgeous weddings, event, and every day flowers, hosts fun classes in their studio during the summer. 
Floral Design Class at Fiore in Pensacola
The owner Shannon is simply wonderful!  She is extremely knowledgeable and made me feel right at home as soon as I arrived.  She is creative but totally open to whatever ideas you have, even if that idea is just to open another bottle of wine (Our class was a little rambunctious!) I am quite the teacher's pet and need a lot of positive feedback but her assistant Leigh Ann was so patient and sweet as well!  It made the class really low key without pressure to be perfect.  Everyone's designs turned out different but were all gorgeous!
fiore downtown pensacola
We started off the class by learning a little about the history of the building (it used to be an old carriage house!) and then got started learning to make our arrangement step by step.  I had never done anything like this before but Shannon and Leigh Ann really broke it down to simple steps and gave us lots of individual feedback.  I am so excited to try out the techniques using flowers from the farmers market! At the end of the night, we stuck around to socialize for a bit then were able to take our gorgeous arrangements home to enjoy!
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junior league of pensacola
classes at fiore pensacola florida
Off to put Fiore's number in my husband's cellphone. Subtle (or not so subtle) hints can't hurt right ;)
Linking up with Shanna

Fairhope, Alabama

Thursday night, I was thrilled to find out that Rob wasn't scheduled to fly on Friday or at all for the entire weekend.  I felt like we had opposite schedules all week so a three day weekend was exactly what we needed!  I wanted to make the most of a free Friday so we decided to head to Fairhope, Alabama for a little getaway.  Rob took me to Fairhope back in April to celebrate my birthday and we were excited to make a trip back.
couples getaway to fairhope al
things to do in fairhope alabama
Fairhope is an charming, quaint town on the Mobile Bay, only an hour from Pensacola.  Besides being called home by Jimmy Buffet, Fairhope is best known for the flowers.  Every inch of this adorable small town appears to be covered in gorgeous fresh flowers, which are changed out six times each year.  Even the trash cans are topped with flower pots!
weekend getaway to fairhope, al
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the grand hotel fairhope
The first place we had to stop when we got into town was Panini Pete's.  Featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, this little sandwich shop is worth the wait.  I had a turkey panini and Rob tried a burger (both delicious!) but the best part of Panini Pete's is hands down the beignets.  I know I'm going to get struck down for saying this but I really think these are my favorite beignets on earth, even over Cafe Du Monde! The secret is to squeeze a lemon over all of that powdered sugary goodness.  I was totally uninterested in the lemon the first time we came but after I tried it, there was no going back!
panini petes fairhope alabama
where to eat lunch in fairhope
When we stayed in Fairhope back in April, we stayed at the Grand Hotel and fell in love.  Rob didn't get a chance to golf when we were there since we spent most of the weekend relaxing by the pool, so making a tee time at Lakewood was a must.  While he played golf, I spent the day shopping at the little boutiques and antique stores downtown.  Afterwards, we met back up for pizza and ice cream.  Mr. Gene Bean's serves Blue Bell ice cream (yum!!) and their famous Fairhope floats.
mr. gene bean's fairhope alabama
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While there is not much nightlife in Fairhope, the sunsets over the bay are unparalleled.  Snagging a hammock at the Grand to watch the sunset is a necessity.  Doesn't get much more relaxing than this!
sunset in fairhope, al
sunset at the grand marriot

Linking up with Bianca Molly Leeann Bella and Meg

What I Ate Wednesday

This second edition of What I Ate Wednesday is pretty darn boring...but also pretty typical for what we eat on a normal running around kind of weekday.
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1. Nothing :: I worked out first thing in morning on an empty stomach and I don't love doing that.  (Rob had to go to work early and I hit snooze a few too many times so I left myself no time to eat.)  With that said, a 20 minute PiYo video is totally do-able on an empty stomach.
2. Shakeology :: Chocolate, of course.  I am seriously obsessed.
3. Greek Yogurt :: Quick snack while doing some planning/work on the computer
4. PB and Banana Sandwich :: Which I ate in the car on the way to the grocery store and forgot to take a picture of! Oops!
5. Publix Samples :: Publix has the best samples.  Rob makes fun of me because when I hear them say over the intercom that the sample meal is ready, I drop everything and run!
6. Cheeseburger Bites and Carrot Apple Slaw :: These cheeseburger bites are so stinkin' good! Dinner recipes found here
7. Wine and Cheese :: I went to a friend's Agnes and Dora party last night and had some wine while trying on leggings! haha Pretty perfect combo if you ask me ;)

Stress-free Military Move: DIY Moving PCS Binder

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Military moves are never easy but are an inevitable part of this lifestyle.  (See: DITY Move in 1 Week)  My friend Joy gave me advice before she moved to Texas about creating a moving binder to keep things organized and easily accessible during a move.  I thought it was a great idea and wanted to adapt the idea to work for us.  I took some time to get together a moving binder so that when the time comes, whether it's weeks or months from now, I will be prepared.  While a bit time consuming at first, the majority of the work is done for all of our future moves.  All I will have to do is update new/changes in the binder.  I love to-do lists so these lists are perfect for keeping me sane during moves!
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To make my moving binder, I used a 1/2 inch binder and put everything below inside plastic sleeves.  (That way I can use wet erase markers to cross items off the list and then just wipe it down after the move)  My moving binder contains:
     - To-do Lists for "Before Order Arrive", "Orders Arrive", "1 Week Before Move", "1 Day Before Move", "Day of Move" and "Arrival".
     - Copies of all important documents:
                -Birth Certificates
                -Social Security Cards
                -Military Ids and Drivers License
                -Marriage Certificate
                -Power of Attorney
                -Car Titles
                -Car Insurance
                -Military Moving Forms
     -Serial numbers for all big items (electronics, furniture, etc.)
     -Photos of all big items (electronics, furniture, etc.)
     -List of abbreviations the movers use
     -Addresses and phone numbers for hotels/stops along the way
     -Moving box color code sheet
     -An empty sleeve for weight tickets, receipts, etc
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Working on the moving binder helped me realize that while I may not know where or when we will be moving, there are plenty of things I can work on ahead of time to get prepared.  The lists are pretty customized to our life/belongings (ie. no pets, our amount of stuff, etc) but might be a great jumping off point for you to get started.  If you are interested in getting copies to make your own binder, email me at or leave your email in a comment below and I would be more than happy to send you my lists!
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