Friday Favorite: The Bouqs Co.

I figured since Valentine’s Day is coming up that I’d share a few of my favorite products with y’all this week. This Friday I want to feature something that is essentially sending a box full of joy — The Bouqs Company!

There is nothing that makes my day more than a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I’ve used a lot of different flower delivery companies in my eight years of adulthood, and I have to say nobody holds a candle to The Bouq’s Co. Their flowers are so incredibly fresh, and they offer a very generous amount in every bouquet.

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 11.25.39 PM.png
This was the bouquet that started it all. My friend Kalika sent me these flowers after a bad breakup and I’ve been obsessed with the company ever since!

I got the big bundle of red and white roses to take to the airport to welcome Robert home to the United States with. When I opened the box it felt like I was hit with a wall of floral perfume. It really is more than a gift — it’s a whole experience!

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 11.18.45 PM.png

Along with red, white, and blue balloons and a sparkly sign, this just really pushed the welcome home over the top to a beautifully fun level. A week and a half later and the flowers were still sitting in the kitchen for everyone to enjoy!

Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 10.55.18 PM.png

So if you’re stumped at where to start for Valentine’s Day or to just say “I love you” to a loved one just because, flowers are a great place to start. Never forget to write a sweet little note inside too! Cards are my favorite part of a gift because they are like getting a tiny piece of someone’s heart.


BONUS: I noticed that Groupon has a deal right now for 50% off — you can get $40 of flowers for just $20! Most likely you’ll get a more expensive bouquet, but $20 off is nothing to sneeze at… That’s like, 2 burritos from Chipotle and some change. #win

Where The Heart Is

You know how they say it takes a little while to adjust being back in your home country after you’ve been away for a significant amount of time? That is what it’s like when your heart comes home from a deployment.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so so so so so so SO (times infinity!) excited to have Robert finally home, but it’s weird as heck! My heart still doesn’t feel completely settled.

Robert has been back for just over 2 weeks now and I haven’t gone a day without seeing him yet. THIS IS FREAKING CRAZY!!!! I haven’t been able to relax, enjoy a relationship, and feel at peace in knowing that my guy will be here for an indefinite amount of time in who knows how long. It’s been years since I have had a relationship like this, and even then I didn’t feel the same way that I do about Robert.

It honestly hasn’t set in yet that I don’t need to cram a million activities into a week because we have as much time as needed to go out together now. I’m not used to the “pop in,” and it hasn’t really registered that we can do dinner in the middle of the week just like I do with my girl friends. I think it will just take a little bit of time for me to realize that this is, in fact, real life, and after 10 long months of waiting my love life is finally going to be normal again.

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 12.44.54 PM.png
This was from a random midweek coffee date!

Today will be our first time not doing some sort of activity together since Robert has been back because we are both feeling a little under the weather. In the past I’ve always been good at juggling friends, my love life, and other priorities, but I’ve also gotten so used to being in long distance relationships that it feels like I need to hurry and do everything while Robert is still around to spend time with. My heart just has to catch up with my mind a little bit more to realize that this is a fresh start to a really cool relationship.

Left Behind

When I tell people that my boyfriend is deployed, they are often very kind about it and tell me to thank him for his service, then go on to ask about our relationship a little. Honestly, our communication has been surprisingly good under these strange circumstances and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in crime to do a long distance, long term deployment with. This doesn’t mean the deployment was ever easy, though.

One thing people often don’t really understand  is how much waiting you really have to do, and how much your heart can hurt from missing your person. Worrying about how they are doing never really comes to a complete stop until they’re home — and depending on the circumstances if they are still enlisted and able to be deployed there’s always a little nervous flutter in the back of your heart.

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-2-30-57-pm

As I’ve mentioned before, this was not part of my plan. I never in a million years thought I would date someone in the military, much less fall in love with someone who was leaving on a deployment. Before I met Robert I vowed my next relationship would be simple and that the furthest I wanted to be from a boyfriend was a short drive away. Maybe I would date someone in the city, but no more long distance for me. God must have laughed when He saw what I had planned in my own mind. He probably smiled, too, when he saw Robert send me that first OK Cupid message, and is certainly too kind to rub it in my face that I was wrong about the direction my life was going in — again.

I’m honestly really surprised I didn’t cry very much the past 10 months, as that was always what I thought long distance was supposed to look like. Now I know what a healthy and unhealthy love looks like, and realize that even when things get really hard with someone you don’t need to feel upset all the time. I definitely had my share of lonely nights and a small amount of tears shed here and there, but I would be concerned if my heart didn’t miss someone I care about very much.

One primary mode of communication is Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and FaceTime when Robert has a good enough connection and a little bit of privacy. This is a screenshot he took one day. I’d definitely consider my “ugly cry” along the lines of Kim Kardashian’s, but even my little sniffles like this could probably hold a candle to Kim’s signature look.

Screen Shot 2017-01-08 at 1.06.58 PM.png
Puffy faced and close to tearing up from a very real #deploymentsucks moment. Luckily Robert always did a great job making me laugh on the days that seemed harder than usual!

The reason I want to share this photo with you is not to show off how puffy or red my face gets when I’m upset (Though I do think I might outshine Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer in that regard), and I certainly don’t want you to picture this the next time I talk about a tearful goodbye. The reason I think this is important to share is I am almost DONE with this incredibly tough stage of a relationship, but a lot of other people aren’t. I think the women who are left behind often get overlooked, as we are still safe and sound at home. Our hearts don’t feel really safe until the moment our soldier is home, though.

I encourage you to check in on friends who might be going through this. Not only the soldiers, but also the ones they leave behind. It is HARD being the one at home with the same schedule, but having a gaping whole in our normal social life (and I’d be willing to bet I have more support than many other women do). Hugs, coffee dates, cards, and then more hugs are more appreciated than you could ever know. Even if you have never been in this position before, I think most of us can relate to missing a loved one. Deployments just add a sense of danger to the mix, as well as long stretches of silence, and a generous dose of uncertainty.

I am fine, (That picture was from about halfway through the deployment — when it felt like forever since I saw Robert, and still forever until I would see him again and I was just having a rough night overall) but remember this message every time you meet someone who’s significant other is deployed, and give them some extra love. Soldiers give up so many comforts of a nice home, normal meals, and safety to fight for our country. We should all be so proud of them. The mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, girlfriends and boyfriends of soldiers are all sacrificing so much as well. I can think of so many other people who I’m sure also had an incredibly difficult time with Robert’s deployment, and he’s just one person on his team. When you take the entirety of the military and add their friends and family to the mix, there are thousands of people sacrificing for each and every deployed team out there. Remember to be kind to them, and know that just because someone has a wonderful person to love, it isn’t easy when they go on this long and tiring journey.

Today’s lesson: It never, ever hurts to be kind to everyone you meet. Life can be so hard sometimes, but often even a little smile can brighten someone else’s day. I know there were so many moments I missed Robert and couldn’t do anything about it, but the kindness of a stranger made my heart feel a little more at ease. As my favorite Bible verse (1 Peter 4:8) says, “Above all, love each other deeply…”

He Wasn’t Part Of My Plan

This is a continuation of my last post.

As I mentioned, Robert and I met when neither of us really were looking for a relationship. We had one of those instant connections, but a few things that came up on our first date — namely that he was leaving for a deployment six months later — that made me think we wouldn’t really go much further.

After our first date, though, he texted me saying what a great time he had and that he wanted to see me again. I felt the same way, so we went on date after date until I finally realized his deployment was right around the corner.

When we first met I didn’t want a relationship, but by the time Robert was leaving to go overseas I had decided he was the only guy for me, and that I was going to do the 9-12 months of long distance with him, even though I knew it was going to be incredibly difficult. The day Robert left was easily the hardest goodbye I’ve had to say to anyone. The next ten months have been incredibly difficult, as I’ve missed him every single day, but he’s also put my heart at ease with how much I trust him and through the actions he shows that I am still a priority in his life — even from over 6,000 miles away.

It feels like a lifetime ago since he was here, but I haven’t wanted anything else since he’s been gone. I miss going on dates, but only with Robert, not in general. I miss having my partner in crime around, and I miss laughing at his goofy jokes, but I know the wait will be more than worth it.

I’ve been trying to think of the perfect way to welcome him home since the day he left, and this is it (Please watch the 30 second video and help me rack up views!). Here is my “THANK YOU” video to everyone who has watched and shared to try to make this happen. I appreciate it more than you know, and whether or not we can make it happen I know Robert and I will be the two happiest people in the world in January.

(I know I am incredibly goofy, but I am actually excited to have found something that makes blogging a little easier on the days my arms are really killing me and nobody is home to help me write!)

Five Steps Ahead

“I had that planned out 5 moves ago.”

This is something Robert said to me after beating me for literally the hundredth time in chess yesterday. For whatever reason he is insanely great at chess (Question for Robert’s friends and family: did he play on a chess team or something in high school? I really think he has competed in this game before but is afraid to admit that he is actually the nerdier one in our relationship), but this isn’t such a bad thing, as I know his job is all about strategies.

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-11-39-40-am

I’ve noticed lately that it’s not just chess he’s ahead of me in. It’s life in general — particularly my life. One thing I absolutely love about our relationship is that Robert is really in tune with what I need. He’s always said he loves taking care of me and making me happy, and his actions match up very clearly with that statement.

A few days ago Robert told me he was sending me a package and that it should be at my house any day now. If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen my post about how much I love fuzzy winter socks. The very next day I found a package on my bed — that included a pair of warm, fuzzy New England Patriots socks! He had ordered it just days before I posted about my sock obsession, which is just the epitome of how he notices everything about me before I ever even bother to mention it.

That is a very small example of something that I feel like happens every day as we get to know each other more and more. It’s really nice dating someone who gets me. My best friend and I are really good at reading each other’s minds, but I’ve never really dated someone who has been able to do that. I didn’t realize guys and girls could connect that way so seamlessly before. Robert is someone who pays attention to how others are feeling and notices whenever my mood shifts, even if it’s a really subtle change. This is hilarious whenever I start getting a little grumpy because he is really good at making me giggle and come back down to earth when something is bothering me.

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-11-34-25-am
Aww this picture was taken exactly a year ago after Robert picked me up from a Christmas party!

I don’t really believe in soul mates, but if I did I’d think he was mine. There are a lot of ways we are really different, but I think many of those things just have to do with where we grew up (He’s a crazy from Boston, and I am a basic wannabe city girl who really just lives in the suburbs of Washington DC). Even when we don’t necessarily see eye to eye on things, we almost always “get” one another and are willing to learn from each other. I think that’s really important in a relationship. After all, no one is perfect — we always have room for growth — and it’s great being able to learn from people with perspectives different than our own.

Today’s lesson: The excuse “He’s just a guy — he doesn’t get it” should only apply to things like periods and giving birth (But seriously — you’ll never quiteee get how awful we feel once a month). They shouldn’t be excuses for things like showing a lack of feelings or affection. Yes, men and women are absolutely different, but I now know I can be with someone who genuinely cares for me as much as I do for him and isn’t afraid to show me.

My Heart Is Deployed

My friends who know Robert know he’s not crazy active on social media; he definitely doesn’t have a blog I can go to and read about all of his thoughts and feelings when I miss him (And in a lot of ways I’m glad there aren’t two of us who pour our hearts out to the world — that might just be a little much in one relationship, ha!).

I was missing him a little more than usual last night and did what any millennial would — I went to his Facebook page to feel like I had some sort of connection with him while he was away at work. We don’t get to talk a ton except during my mornings or afternoons, so nighttime is a particularly difficult time for me.

I smiled at the pictures I’ve come to know so well, and teared up at the one of us the day before we had to say goodbye. Then I saw something really strange on his page. He had written a Facebook status on Thanksgiving expressing gratitude towards his friends, family, and coworkers, but included this little line in the middle of it:

“I can’t believe the holiday season is here… It was over 8 months ago that I left Virginia, but the time has gone by quickly.”

What. The. Heck?!?!

IN WHAT WORLD HAS TIME GONE BY QUICKLY?!

I flash back to February when we said “goodbye” to our weekend visits. I barely even remember what it’s like to see someone outside my family that regularly.

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 7.00.02 PM.png
My best friend Audrey, once again, took this photo soon after Robert left for his deployment. It was so great to find this sign randomly at one of our photoshoots.

Then I think back to March and saying goodbye in Richmond. Okay, I’ll give him that, the emotions are still raw from watching him leave at 4:30 in the morning. I still can’t go back to that day without feeling really torn up about it. I am certain deep down to my core that the day we said goodbye in Richmond is exactly what leaving for a deployment is supposed to feel like. I remember walking him out to the bus, holding his hand and feeling tears dance right behind my eyes, but holding them in as best as I possibly could until I was able to run back into the lobby and break down. I remember feeling the way Kim Kardashian must when she does her signature “ugly cry” in front of everyone in the hotel lobby. When the man at the front desk asked if I was okay and came over to try to help me feel better, he put his hand on my shoulder and had a look of pity in his eyes I didn’t recognize because I hadn’t ever earned it before. This was the first time I showed that much of myself to a stranger. I remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I realized in that moment that was now one of the people I had always felt bad for in the past. I was someone who had to watch a loved one leave to serve for my country, and I had someone to worry about for the next ten months.

I think back to Baltimore in April and the two precious days we had together after we thought we wouldn’t see each other again until January or February. I remember that day so well too, but it feels so long ago.

As does the first week of him being gone and the many little moments I’ve collected along the way where I’ve tried my hardest to muster up just enough strength to keep pressing forward, even when I feel like my heart might not be able to handle another day of everything a deployment has to offer. Missing him often feels kind of the same day-to-day, but I can think back to several particularly difficult moments. Pulling my car to the side of the road to cry, attending weddings and events as the only couple-less one of our group, and spending  many chilly fall evenings in my PJs by myself wishing I had a snuggle buddy to name just a few.

Time is such a funny thing, and though it’s seemed very different to each of us, we both have experienced the exact same amount of time apart. We’ve also been blessed to spend the same amount with each other; it just somehow never feels like enough to me.

I’m hoping we’ll get lots of time together when he’s back. Time is easily the most valuable thing I own, and I love spending it on the people I care about most in life. I may hate deployments, but I absolutely love my soldier.

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 7.12.53 PM.png
This is a picture of Robert meeting Governor Terry McAuliffe at his departure ceremony.

Army Tags Are My Most Valuable Piece Of Jewelry

I have a journal that I write in every day of the year. It asks me a different question every day and it’s been really fun seeing the different answers I have each year — I’m always surprised to find how much I have grown in 365 days.

Last year I wrote “my Macbook Air” as my most valuable material possession. This year without skipping a beat, I wrote “Robert’s dog tags.”

Screen Shot 2016-11-11 at 8.22.22 PM.png

His dog tags are special to me for so many different reasons. First, they remind me of our time in Richmond at his deployment ceremony. He was packing all of his bags and turned to me with a smile and handed me his tags. I looked at them and thought they were cool, then he asked if I wanted to keep them. I teared up; I hadn’t ever had a boyfriend who was so excited to give me something of his before. I had asked for a sweatshirt or two, but never wanted to be too pushy about stealing a guy’s stuff.

Another reason I love them is because they were the dog tags he got when he joined the military 8 years ago. They’ve been through a lot of training and adventures, and I feel like I have a piece of him while he’s gone. When I first got them I proudly jingled around the house until I picked up a pair of silencers. Robert has given me some beautiful jewelry, but this is by far my favorite piece.

They’re something I keep safe next to my bed and fall asleep with in my hand at night. I know it’s weird holding onto two pieces of cold, clunky metal, but to me they’re a lot more than that. They’re a little piece of someone I love very much. It almost feels like a friendship bracelet, as I have these pieces and he has his own pair with the same information on it.

I read the material I already know by heart when I miss him; seeing his name and numbers makes my heart warm. Wearing the dog tags make me feel strong and like I can handle just one more day. When you’re doing a 9 month deployment that’s all you really can do. Take each day as it comes to you.

Screen Shot 2016-11-11 at 8.28.00 PM.png
I do think Robert has better taste in jewelry than I do, though… This was my birthday present this year!

We only have a few months left, but they feel like an eternity. I’ve been a pro at long distance relationships for awhile now, but this is different. Going on a deployment isn’t for the faint of heart, but being left at home for one isn’t either. I have so much respect for military families, and keep all of the soldiers and their loved ones in my prayers now.

Thank you to those of you who risk your life or the life of a loved one for this country. You are amazing, and the reason America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. God Bless.