Pensacola, Fl. — September 5, 2016 – Hello readers! I hope everyone had an amazing Labor Day weekend. Hopefully Hurricane Hermine didn’t cancel too many plans. I had so many friends and family message me with concerns for us since we live on the Gulf Coast of Florida, so thank you! However, the weather in Pensacola was perfect. In fact, my co-workers kept making jokes this past week saying, “Oh, it’s only a Category One hurricane, don’t worry”. I guess that’s my welcome to Florida!
(**pictured above: The Joy of Cooking cookbook, a new cutting board purchased at the Palafox Market and steak rub from Keen’s Beans**)
This weekend was actually pretty laid back. Rob and I didn’t plan anything big because he has now started API (Aviation Preflight Indoctrination). This is said to be the most stressful time in flight school because of the intense academics. Rob has been going to study groups every day and I decided to take it easy and hang out with Shelby. We did manage to sneak in brunch on Sunday with some friends here at La Brisa in Gulf Breeze. I highly recommend the place! ($4 bottomless mimosas!). Whenever Rob gets home from his study groups, I’ll read flashcards with him to help him prepare for his tests. I’m SO glad I’m not a flight student, because I hated Physics and Statistics!
I knew this wasn’t going to be a wild weekend, so I decided to try and read more books. You know, be an adult? I was a certified bookworm when I was little and used to pride myself on how many books I could finish in a day. Well…that has worn off a bit, hence the “trying to read” again. I’ve purchased two new books lately. One is called “The Joy of Cooking”, basically the bible for chefs (I purchased this to enhance my kitchen skills). The other is an audiobook and one that I saw recommended on a military spouse site. This book is titled “This is Where You Belong” by Melody Warnick. This book is about how the author completed a long social and psychological experiment to train herself to love where she lived, even if she didn’t initially like it. Now, I’m not saying I don’t like Pensacola (I love it), but it has been quite an adjustment from the city. Moving here and not knowing a soul besides Robert was a bit daunting at first.
I’ve realized that a lot of being an adult is making choices even when they are contrary to your feelings. Doing the dishes and laundry when I’m tired is a choice. Making an effort to be present and connect with friends is a choice (This is harder for me because I’m a natural introvert). And loving where I am living is a choice too. The first two steps that the author recommended were: 1) Walk more and 2) Buy Local.
I tried both of these this weekend.
Not only is walking beneficial for your emotional and physical health, it actually helps you create more of a sense of “belonging” in your city. On Saturday, I needed a few extra things from the grocery, so Rob and I decided to make a 20 minute walk to Publix instead of the three minute drive. The author was right about this step! In short, when you walk places you are more likely to notice buildings that you didn’t before and even run into your neighbors that you wouldn’t have made contact with if you were in your car. On the way to the store, I noticed a few doctors offices along the way that I hadn’t before (might come in handy) and we saw three of our neighbors in that short time span. Plus, I felt good about myself making more of a physical effort. I think I’ll walk more often!
For the second step of learning to “love where you live”, the author recommends trying to set aside $50 a month to buy from local, small businesses. Why? Because buying local keeps your money in the local economy. Local business owners live in the area, are taxed in the area and in turn the shop owners will most likely spend their earnings in your community again. When you buy from a big chain store, your are not keeping your money in the local economy anymore, it’s going elsewhere. You are also more likely to get personalized, attentive customer service at a local shop than a big box store. For this step, Shelby and I headed to one of my favorite places in Pensacola – the Palafox Farmer’s Market! A market held every Saturday from 9 AM – 2 PM in downtown Pensacola.
Some of my all time favorite stands in the market are: Cupcakes from Blueiay’s Bakery, Keens Beans coffee (the best iced coffee EVER and some amazing steak rub), Matt’s Mom’s Mustard ( for glazing meat & fish) and FETCH dog treats (Shelby’s favorite).
I love taking Shelby to the market because she’s a huge hit with the crowds. I seriously have so many more interactions with people than I would if I was alone. I’m a pretty introverted person, so Shelby is an easy icebreaker for meeting new people. As we were walking through the crowd, I decided to sit down on bench and hang out for awhile. Here is where the “Buying Local” effect really hit home.
As I was sitting there, a young woman attending a stand of beautiful cedar wood cutting boards, cheese plates, etc. noticed me on the bench and came to sit down, talk and hangout with me and Shelby. We started chatting and she explained that her business was a family business and they admired and supported the military. Since I’m a military wife, I knew right away that I wanted to spend my money with her. It didn’t hurt that I had been looking for a wooden cutting board anyways! I bought one promptly and came away completely satisfied. Now I personally know this shopkeeper and I have a product that I love. The “Buying Local” concept really does work. It made me love Pensacola even more!
I can’t wait to try out some more of this book’s recommendations. I’ll keep my readers posted on any progress. For now, enjoy the rest of your Labor Day weekend!