Everyday Emily

DUMBO

20140526-200523-72323429.jpgBefore my big adventure began, Nilesh and I flew to New York to meet up with his twin sister for a week of quality time and our favourite activity- wandering around aimlessly until we stumble upon something good.

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We’re both lucky enough to have been to NYC a few times and like every big city there’s always something new to do.. I’m not sure I’d ever get bored there, but I’m sure I’d be skint constantly!

For this visit a friend very kindly put us up in her DUMBO apartment. It was a pretty incredible place to stay, in fact I feel so spoilt by that place it’s going to be very hard to go back and stay in a normal hotel! We’d never been to DUMBO before so I so happy to be away from the craziness of the city and happy to be in what felt like a local village with coffee shops, small restaurants and a that killer view.

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The weather flipped between torrential rain and glorious sunshine which made for interesting walks around the city.
Whenever Nilesh and I find ourselves in a new city or an old fave like New York we tend to walk everywhere, until our legs give out. This time we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge (always a great jumping spot) all the way up to the Met. Stopping in the West Village to show Nisha our favorite places, pretty brownstones and up to the Meat Packing district, walking along the High Line.

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On the Sunday of our trip we all walked to Smorgasburg which moves from its usual location in Williamsburg to Pier 5 The Brooklyn Bridge Park. I’m sure you’ve heard of it thousands of times before so I won’t dwell, other than to moan about the lack of Gluten Free options! I settled for a Masala Dosa and we almost got into a fight over who was waiting longest for a bench to eat our goods.
It was a gorgeous walk along the river to get to pier 5 and the people watching was incredible. If you like staring at beautiful hipsters and a mass of naughty corgis and french bulldogs all hippo-like and waiting for scraps this is where you should be.

Before we left we invited some good friends over for a Pizza/Game of Thrones night and show off the beautiful view. Everyone else got take out pizza from Juliana’s (the real Grimaldi’s!) and I got my all time favourite meal from my favourite gluten free restaurant in the city Risotteria (270 Bleecker). Everything on their menu is GF and they make these incredible breadsticks that are so close to perfect, chewy bread that I would chop off my pinkie for their recipe. I really don’t miss pizza after giving up gluten over a year ago, I’ll settle for a creamy risotto any day.

After saying a teary goodbye to Nilesh (still kinda hard to believe) I had a super rainy day to myself in DUMBO. I ran between several book stores, cafes and trendy clothes shops looking for fun things to take traveling, temporarily forgetting about the whole “pack light” thing. Lucky for me I couldn’t find anything so settled on a fancy pen and headed off to JFK before I could think about buying a new pair of trainers.

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As always, we’ll be back soon NYC.

Emily x

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The Vacation Between Visa

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52 Days, 5 Countries, 14 Airbnb’s, countless trains. A grand European adventure.

The email came from the lawyers in late January. After lots of legal jargon I filtered out the important news- you cannot work until October at the earliest. Urgh.

While it wasn’t a total surprise, I was hoping I could be back to work in the Summer. So here I was with another very long stretch of doing nothing ahead. So I settled into a bleak February in Portland and the envitable Winter depression. I was paralyzed by overthinking “You should volunteer again!” “Take cooking classes!” “Gym everyday, oh how fit you’ll be for Summer!” and of course my body responded by curling up in a ball over a heating vent and watching Sex and The City re-runs. When your whole self worth revolves around work, it’s crushing when it’s taken away.

In those hazy and sometimes snowy February days I found my escape via Pinterest and the thing I found myself pinning most was Europe.

Last year I had started to make a list of the places I wanted to visit in Europe if I ever moved back to England. All these places seemed so exotic since I was now living in the US.
Oh Paris, how beautiful you are! A few years ago it would’ve been “Yeah, that dirty town we visisted that time in college and my boyfriend back home was cheating on me with those goth chicks” or “Spain so pretty and full of drunk Brits fighting between the girls flashing their boobs”
All the tackiness forgotten, I decided that if I couldn’t work I was going to use my savings to see Europe, see those pins in the flesh. Paralysis lifted.

I settled on May and June as a good time to visit Europe. Not crazy hot, not freezing cold and hopefully less touristy then the expensive Summer months. Just far enough in the future not to be scary and close enough to be excited about. I already was planning to visit NYC in April, from there I book my flights back to London then hot foot it to Paris.

Where (the hell should I go?)

I was having a really hard time matching up my wish list with a feasible trip around Europe. I wanted some sun, some culture and a little beach time. Not impossible for Europe, just an overwhelming number of options.

After a week of getting frustrated at trains and destinations not matching up I moaned to Nilesh “You don’t understand” I’d jabber, there’s no direct trains from Barcelona to Lyon! How effing ridiculous!” and the classic ” I want to go everywhere but I cant decide where to go!”
So one Saturday sweet, patient Nilesh said ” I know! Let’s get a map, that will help you visualize it”

Of course Portland, Oregon has a dedicated (and awesome) map store in the SE Neighborhood From this simple map and some numbered pins the journey started to piece together.

Through just looking at the map, looking at my pins and recommended places from friends the journey planning was finalized at:

1. London to Paris (1 night)
2. Biarritz (2 nights)
3. San Sebastián (3 nights)
4. Madrid (4 nights)
5. Sevilla (4 nights)
6. Barcelona (3 nights)
7. Aix en Provence (5 nights to relax)
8. Nice (4 nights)
9. Cinque Terre (4 nights)
10. Florence (via Pisa) (4 nights)
11. Rome (3 nights)
12. Sorrento (via Naples) (5 nights, relax/day trips)
13. Venice (2 nights)
14. Salzberg (3 nights)
15. Munich (2 nights)
16. Paris (3 nights)

As I hate to fly it was a really easy decision to train it everywhere. The European train network is fantastic and has endless travel possibilities if you look hard enough. I booked all my trains online and in advance as it worked out cheaper than buying a Europe Rail Pass, which happens to be quite expensive for a British girl spending dollars.
I was careful to make sure that most of my tickets could be printed in advance to avoid having problems with my credit card abroad and seat61.com was an absolute winner in helping me figure out how to book it all.

Day by day I tackled one or two destinations, booking trains and then then Airbnbs as I’ve mentioned before, my favourite was to stay in new places. I tried to stick to a budget of $50 a night for rooms, however in most places that was pretty impossible so I inevitablely spent more.

What (if?) -
It took until the end of March to have everything booked and as I wasnt leaving until April that left plenty of time for doubts to seep in. What if I miss my train? What if the room I’ve booked in Venice is a scam? How am I going to get a taxi from Aix TGV to my Airbnb at 11pm?
Enough time for me to take all those worries, sit with them and then think about how being out of control can be a good thing, stop worrying!

How (to pack!)-
How the hell does one pack for 2 months (and then a whole separate trip to England) away from home? Especially in those late spring early Summer months?

I tried, I tried very hard. Colour co-ordinating my dresses and jumpers to my shoes, trainers for hikes, little boots to liven up a pretty dress, you name it, it was on that spare bed of ours waiting to be packed away. Then comes the sad relaization as you fill your back pack that it just aint all gonna fit. In fact you can only pack half of what you have and then see what beauty products you can live without. Half of my main bag is filled with a toiletry bag of goods, first aid kit, shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser, Sunscreen etc etc. Pack wisely, be ruthless and remember you can buy things as you go along, budget allowing.

So far, my favourite little booties snapped a heel one night in Madrid. I cant tell you how upset I was over something so trivial, but these boots were the best. What I’ve learnt (the hard way) is bring things that are not new , but not well loved. Spending an afternoon in Barcelona shopping for boots when I could’ve been seeing some cool things is crumby.

Above all remember that you’re carrying this on your back and you’ll need to be able to lift it above your head. Travel light!

Why (are you doing this alone?)

Is the question I’ve been asked by everyone.

My answer is always a different version of this. Sometime you just need a moment to look at your life and how it runs. What’s going well and what can you improve. I guess I’ve always been lucky enough (in my adult life) to have people to look out for me. To cook for me when I’m hungry, to find fun things for us to do when we’re away from home. So much that I relaized that I’d become lazy. Letting others take the lead, doing all the hard work while I took a back seat

I’ve always been happy in my own company and the thought of being alone doesnt scare me like it does others. The option is always there for me to walk into a bar and start talking to a stranger, but only if I feel like it.

I intended to get a little lost, get sad and uncomfortable and then realise that I can take care of myself and that everything will be fine. Even if I come away changing nothing I believe that traveling alone makes you:

1. Appreciate what you have.
2. Realize you’re a badass.

Emily x

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Happy Monday

Everyday Emily Happy Monday

Portland treated us to a sneak peak of Spring this weekend and boy did it feel good to get some sunshine for 5 minutes. Someone said it was going to hit 70 degrees on Friday, I’m reserving judgement on that one until Friday morning when I’m slipping into a sundress and cursing my English complexion.

A long time coming, I know, but here’s some happy photos for pinning, re-blogging or just enjoying on your Monday.

Also, you might want to listen to this bad boy and if you don’t like it, we can’t be friends, ‘kay?

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Have a wonderful day.

Emily x

Top photo from Best Made all others via Pinterest.

Friday I’m In Love With…

Vancouver Harbour Bikes

To say I’m a little bit in love with Vancouver is a mistake. To say that I’m head over heels cuckoo crazy in love you’d be getting warmer. I could continue but you get the gist, I want to take it home to my parents, marry it and live happily ever after.

The city comforted me in my hour of need, the sun shone throughout and it provided me with a few (incredibly stunning) bike rides around Stanley Park to keep me going. Not to mention the food, the shopping and the incredibly happy locals always willing to give direction towards a good brunch spot.

It also allowed me to take some pretty pictures of it whilst prancing about in hot pants and reserving judgement of my celulite.

Thank you Vancouver, you’re swell and only 6 hours away which means we’ll be back very soon.

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Vancouver Winter Olympics Torch

Emily x

(All pictures taken by me, August 2012)

A Quick Saturday Catch Up

Bloggers block is a bitch. I sit at my computer for hours, getting ideas, starting to write, then deleting it all.

Still, let’s catch up shall we?

Here’s a quick narcissistic Instagram post on what I’ve been doing since I last saw you.

1. Here I am riding a sweet bike around Stanley Park  Vancouver BC in the glorious sunshine, post visa interview. Nilesh drove up from Portland (11 HOURS) to spend a few days with me whilst I waited for my passport to be returned. The Loden (where we stayed) has 2 bikes available for its guests (in 2 hour slots) so we jumped at the chance to cruise around town, happy as larry.

2. September and we’re back in PDX. Here’s our beloved Daisy Doodle sitting on our new porch in North East Portland. We’ve moved a little further out of town but it’s worth it, we have a 2 bedroomed house, a gated front porch for Daisy.  It’s just like this scene from Portlandia, we’re so lucky to live here and the Summer was  as beautiful as everyone promised it would be.

3/4. A few weeks into starting my new job and my brother calls (he never calls, so this is wierd.) He’s getting married in seven weeks and wants me to be a bridesmaid, of course I’m thrilled and we head back to surprise Nilesh’s family and see every member of mine. I slip into a pink dress and don’t feel silly at all.

Instagram Catch Up 20125/6/7. October rolled around pretty fast and we had a visit from Nilesh’s twin sister and then their folks. Together we took an epic road trip from San Fran, through LA via the pretty coastal road. We stopped to do a little Gangnam Style before a horse trek to the beach then onwards to Vegas where I fell in love with the roulette wheel and a little circus act called Cirque Du Soleil, it totally blew my mind.

Before October was done we found time to significantly embarrass Daisy and paraded her around work in that little dinosaur outfit. Despite her sad expression she told me she loved all the attention and plans to wear it again next year, what an angel.

8. December arrived and before we left for England I decorated our fireplace in the most festive and twinkly manner.

9/10.  We flew in to London, I spent a week seeing friends/family and trying my best to avoid contracting the Norovirus that was sweeping the nation. London put on a grand Christmassy display and didn’t rain (much.)

11/12/13. I rounded off Christmas with a loooooong journey back to Devon/Cornwall to see my folks and family. Of course I made sure that we popped into Charlestown and St Ives which despite all my little travels, I still love more than anywhere in the world.

14. Back to London and we saw the New Year in with Nilesh’s sister and our friends Rob and Hayley at a cozy French restaurant in South London. Ate ourselves stupid, wore silly hats and danced to Luther Vandross. After thinking I was going to go somewhere exotic, this ended up being just what we needed. Good friends and family.

Phew!

Feel caught up?

Great! More tomorrow.

Emily x

Happy New Year!

Yes, I do realise I’m a tad early, but being a meticulous planner and an unforgivable keano, I love to get my thinking cap on hella early and snag a great deal in the process.

As I’m fully intending to be in the European vicinity this Christmas and having 3 weeks off of work to enjoy the holidays, I’m kind of in a hurry to get a plan underway and cooking, or at least simmering gently away.

So with a little help from my friends, I’ve been asking:

Where is the best place you spent new years eve?

Even though I always say new years is overrated, the mini optimist (somewhere deeeep) inside of me is forever holding out that this year will be killer, the party to end all parties, the one.

These were the top 5 answers from my Facebook friends, these were their suggestions for a NYE to remember.

1. Sydney, Australia

Top of the list was heading to sunny Sydney to watch the stunning fireworks display on the harbour.

If I didn’t live so far away I would love to experience this sight, I’d quite like to experience a warm New Years Eve and even more so one where you could see in the New Years dancing around on a beach with some tinnies ;)

2. Siem Reap, Cambodia

Known more for it’s beautiful temple tourist traps, I’m assured that this is a crazy place to see in the New Year.

The parties from the local bars spill into the streets where tourists and locals dance through the crowds and on table top together. I’ve also been assured that eating tarantula is great for your hangover.

3. London, England

Yes, sadly I feel a bit  “been there, done that” Really though, there are always a million different ways to spend your NYE in London. So you only have yourself to blame if you didn’t buy  tickets to the hottest party in town sooner.

*Top tip* My favourite NYE in London was spent in a friend’s hotel room (Waterloo Novotel) catching up over champagne and then heading out just before midnight to watch the fireworks, with far less people gathered, celebrating on Lambeth Bridge.

Oh and the public transport is free until the wee hours of the 1st of Jan!

4. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The ultimate New Years beach party, I want to get all dressed up in white and shake my flat white ass on Copacabana Beach.

If you’re lucky enough to get to see this spectacle, be sure to drink some local Caipirinhas and get out and mingle with the crowds. Grab a spot on the beach to see in the New Years and soak it up, it looks fantastic.

5. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Supposedly a low key affair compared with lively Rio, most locals spend New Years with family or head out of town. I’ve been told the best ways to spend New Years in BA is by eating some fiiiine Argentinian steak then dancing it all off again at Asia de Cuba.

They also have some pretty great firework displays too, I’m sure you can find a fair few street parties too, if you look hard enough.

Anyone else already planning a NYE escape? Or do you have somewhere equally as amazing that you’ve spent a New Years to remember? I’d love to know!

Emily x

Photo Credits:

Party Girl.

Sydney, Siam Reap, London, Rio, Buenos Aires.

Happy Mondays

Happy Labor Day America!

and a very happy Monday to the rest of you lovely people.

Nilesh and I have been lucky enough to bag a 4 day weekend and this Labor Day we’re mostly recovering from the following:

Jet lag

Over induldging on Indian food

Hangovers from our first American wedding experience.

Despite these minor issues Pinterest is still blowing my little mind and a small slice of Tumblr  is easing me into my very first Labor Day (on the sofa.)

Whilst you’re here please enjoy some pretty pictures from the World Wide Web, pass me the Toblerone and turn up the Sex and the City.



Big love always,

Emily x

Photos via: An Jaeden, Intoxicated Infants, Going Costal, Pretty Pink Prep and Who’s Laughing Now.

View more of my favourite pictures on Pinterest or you could follow my Bloglovin‘.

Catch Up, Part Deux

I won’t pretend I’ve been lounging around on the sofa all day whilst waiting for America to work its shiz out. I’ve actually been pretty darn busy travelling around this part of the world, having mini adventures and catching up with friends.

Of course it wouldn’t be much of an Everyday Emily adventure without my little 35mm camera capturing a few scenes along the way.

First up, a little trip to Vancouver to visit my old house mate and good friend Karen who was flying in to the city as part of a new scheduled route by Virgin Atlantic.

Karen arrived after a 10 hour flight looking suitably glamourous with a gaggle of red hot Virgins, ready to explore the city with me.

We caught a bus up to the stunning Capilano Bridge, walked through the tree tops and braved the glass bottom platform. It’s such a peaceful place and at the same time such a giggle, especially when you’re catching up with a friend you’ve not seen for months or you’re entertaining fellow tourists by walking across the bridge in platform heels!

We ate, we drank and we walked for miles around Vancouver. Even in the pouring rain there’s plenty to keep you entertained. We mainly walked around Coal Harbour and Stanley Park, the view of the city or the view of the mountains from here is seriously pretty stuff.

Not that I’m doing any advertising for The Hyatt, but that’s where we stayed and it was lovely. Plus the umbrella was absolutely essential that day :)

Just a short trip visiting Karen and then it was back to Portland, but not for long, next up was San Francisco.

With Nilesh needing to go to San Fran for a conference, I grabbed a quick flight down the coast to spend some time in one of my favourite cities in the world.

I had 3 whole days to myself to explore the city and I wasn’t about to miss a thing.

Each day I explored the city by foot, winding through China Town and Little Italy, to end up eating a massive “cup” of clam chowder on the Pier 39. Getting shouted at by bums in Haight, falling head over heels in love with Hayes Valley and buying a new Marc Jacobs at Lower Pacific Heights.

The weather during our stay being pretty darn gorgeous meant that  all I did was wander, take pictures and drink tea in snug cafes throughout the day, bliss.



Without a doubt, my favourite experience in San Francisco was visiting Pika Pika in Japan Town.

A crazy Japanese photobooth shop which has to be seen to be believed, it’s INSANE.

Find a booth, follow the instruction and ask for help. If you do all of that then you might end up with some crazy photos like these…

Sit tight, my big visa news update is up next!

Emily x

Playing Catch Up, Hawaii 35mm

It feels like a lifetime ago that I went on a little family vaycay to Oahu, Hawaii.

Back then, in my modestly packed suitcase, I took 4 different cameras, 3 of those were 35mm beauties and I snuck in several rolls of film for good measure.  You see I was expecting to be shooting every day in the glorious sunshine, but 5 minutes into the holiday I’d forgotten all about my love of film photography and remembered my worship for that burning ball in the sky.

Can you blame me? I think not.

I did eventually take a few photos on our little Yaschica T5 and forgot all about the film once I’d put it in to be developed. When I eventually picked up the film a few months later, I’m pretty happy with the few shots that I got.


Lanakai Beach (above) is listed as one of the top ten beaches in the world and as you can see from the pictures it really does live up to all the hype. White sand, azure blue sea and the occasional seal popping up to say what’s up. The top photograph of the beach, bikes and Nilesh is my favourite of the trip, I can’t quite believe I took it!

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve  (below) is a world famous snorkelling spot on Oahu. Every visitor has to pay to enter then you watch a short movie about the bay, the protection of the coral and how to snorkel safely.
We rented snorkel gear from the beach and spent a few hours dipping in and out of the ocean, trying to spot turtles and checking out the colourful fish.


I hope it gives you a little insight into how beautiful Hawaii can be, especially when captured with grainy expired film.

Emily x

All photos taken on the Yaschica T5 (Available to buy on Ebay) using an expired roll of Agfa Presica slide film. Check out some more of my colourful Presica snaps here.

Goodnight Seattle We Love You!

 Last Friday at 3pm I got a text:

“You have 2 hours to pack our bags. Bring casual, bring smart and don’t expect to be anywhere near our house this weekend.”

2 hours later with a bag of Twizzlers, a few cans of coke and a bulging suitcase, Nilesh arrives outside our apartment and bundles me into a taxi.

Just 5 minutes later we arrive at the train station, where I’m told to wait outside and keep an eye on my Instagram, where a blurred picture of train tickets appears.

So far, so awesome.

After more clues and joining a long queue to board a train, he finally lets me in on the secret. We were off on a weekend adventure to Seattle.

A downtown hotel all booked, restaurants scouted and a weekend of fun lay ahead of us…and gout…probably at some point.

The train departed, I opened the Twizzlers and started up Season 4 of Fraiser, settling in for the 3 hour journey to the home of Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks and the kid from Sleepless in Seattle.

I have now run out of Seattle tv/movie trivia you’ll be pleased to know.

After a long sleep and brisk morning walk in the familiar mizzle, Nilesh discovered a hip downtown restaurant Local 360. Here we ate too many pancakes, listened to cool music and discovered that PB&J bon bons with a side shot of milk are the best way to start your day in Seattle and become morbidly obese at the same time.

With obesity rates fresh in our minds, walking off our breakfast was high on the agenda and so was visiting Pike Place Market.

A vibrant, loud and colourful place, we mooched on through the market eating free fruit samples and admiring rows upon row of perfect flower bouquets for sale.

Then, like some sort of pilgrimage, we fought our way past the original Starbucks and onwards to the famous flying fish stall, Pike Place Fish Company.

If you’ve ever worked in customer service you’ll have heard about this place (even my mum had seen their video). Their enthusiasm is inspiring and watching them was hilarious, especially when they got a tip- yay!

Thanks to our handy Zipcar service, we rented a car for a few hours and zipped on over to the charming Fremont District. Whilst wondering around we discovered a friendly troll under a bridge (see top image) and headed up to Gasworks Park, for the most incredible view of the city.

Later, after having a hard time deciding where to eat, we decided on a romantic dinner at Seastar Restaurant where we were treated like kings and ate like kings too. Check out our seafood mountain containing oysters, scallops, king crab legs, prawns and ceviche, I’m drooling away just writing this, the seafood in Seattle is to die for.

Our Sunday was spent discovering Australian aboriginal art and listening to a dj spin some tunes in the Seattle Art Museum, followed by more eating courtesy of The Crumpet Shop (mine was slathered with Marmite, his with ham, egg and pesto). Then heading up to the Queen Anne Hill district for a wander around the shops, followed by an amazing Thai Green Curry…seriously though, where’s my gout already?

Tired and happy that we’d seen a fair few things Seattle has to offer, we bundled back onto a train for sunset filled journey back to Portland.

It’s weekends like that that remind me how much I’m loving our time in America and how many more exciting adventures are just around the corner.

In short, surprise weekends are just awesome. Thank you Nilesh.

Emily x

P.S When packing for a weekend away, always, ALWAYS remember to pack a digital camera- wally.

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