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A Guide to Stress-Less Commuting

November 21, 2015

As some of you may know, I recently took a new job in Bethesda, Maryland.  It was a great opportunity, full of challenges with room to grow, so as much as it saddens me to no longer work in the Greater Baltimore area, I had to take it.  That being said, I couldn’t see myself moving out of Baltimore. I love this city and the environment it offers, my friends are here and of course, 30th & Weldon is here!  So I have decided to commute to Bethesda, five days a week even though I haven’t figured out if this is a really smart or really stupid idea.  During off times I can get there in 45-50 minutes.  No too bad.  But during rush hour it can take me up to TWO HOURS to commute there.

But even that is not all bad (YET).  I’ve actually found the time in the morning a nice way to gear up for the day and collect my thoughts, and on the way home it’s time to decompress and shake off the day.  For some odd reason, it’s also made me more timely.  I guess when I don’t have a lot of wiggle room in my commute time, I end up being early or on time for work versus always 2 minutes late.  Who knew?

I’m about two weeks in and these are 1o things that have helped make my long commute less stressful.

  1. Meditate – Center yourself.  Before you even turn the key in the ignition, sit down, put your hands in your lap and take a few deep breaths.  Clearing your mind before you get on the road will help you relax and prepare yourself for the potential hell you are about to experience.
  2. Accept that there is going to be traffic – There is no way around it so you might as well accept it.  This seems like a simple thing. Yes Shae, duh, there is gonna be traffic. But acknowledging and accepting are two very different things and it can make a world of difference.  Accepting allows you to put aside the stress and tension sitting in traffic can bring. Know the traffic. Accept the traffic. Be the traffic. Because… well… you are.
  3. Give yourself enough time – This is not just about you getting somewhere at a specific time, it’s about everyone around you who is also trying to get to that same place at that same time. Traffic is a group effort.  Most of my stress comes from knowing that I’m going to be late or rushing at the last minute to avoid being late.  Over budget your time.  Worst case scenario you get there early and you can get a fresh cup a coffee before starting the day.  This is a good segue to….
  4. Have coffee – LOTS OF COFFEE
  5. Keep your ears happy – Make the world’s best driving playlist (listen to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack to make your journey feel more epic), fall in love with a new podcast (check out our friends over at The Free Cheese if you love video games or my new favorite My Brother, My Brother and Me), learn a language, or ‘read’ a book on tape.
  6. Enjoy the silence – Sometimes I just enjoy a silent car ride. It gives me a chance to get some self time and reflect quietly.  It also gives me a chance to get into my head and over think things but that’s okay too.
  7. Catch up with family or friends – A long drive is a great time to catch up with family members and friends. I find it hard to build time into my day for long phone calls so a long commute is the perfect pre-blocked out amount of time to do so.  Just do it right. Use a bluetooth or hands-free device, pay attention to where you are going (I once missed my exit and drove halfway around the beltway before realizing it) and let the other person know you are driving and sometimes you may have to stop talking for a minute and focus.
  8. Find your route – Know before you go and similar bullshit.  But seriously, know where you are going and what the best route is.
  9. Find your alternate route – Have alternatives. Have the route you take if there is heavy traffic. Have the route you take if it’s late at night. Have the route you take if there is an accident. Have the route you take if you just get impatient and would rather drive longer but with less cars on the road. Have the route…. you get the picture.
  10. Don’t be a dick – If you are a dick, your negative energy will attract more negative energy and others will be more likely to be a dick to you.  Then you just end up in a cluster of dicks and no one likes a sausage fest.  Let others merge. Don’t cut others off.  Don’t honk impatiently. Don’t try to hit people. Don’t drive up the side lane.  Wave to those you let you merge. Or wave even if they don’t want to let you merge and you do it anyway because the lane ends and you have to.  Let it go, if someone cuts you off or honks at you. Ultimately a negative reaction to negative actions only hurts you and your stress levels. So don’t be a dick.

Have commuting tips and tricks? Share them with us!

Travel

Shae’s Tour of Athens, Ga

June 16, 2015

 

Mary at Cali N Tito's

Mary at Cali N Tito’s

Mary and I have been best friends since high school, making it one of the longest friendships I have to date. Our freshman lockers were in close proximity to each other and we became good friends from almost day one. Fast forward 11 years (damn) and she is on her way to getting a PHD in veterinary science and parasitology at the University of Georgia. So, at least once a year I travel to the small town of Athens, Georgia to visit her in her graduate student seclusion. Athens seems to exist solely due to the presence of the university. Travel 15 minutes in any direction out of Athens and you are met with what looks like the middle of nowhere, even though it is only an hour outside of Atlanta.

Since 30th & Weldon wasn’t even a twinkle in Danielle, Julie and my collective eye the last time I visited Mary, I’m here to share with you my most recent tour. These are a collection of places worth visiting if you ever find yourself in Athens. Some are new and some are tried and true places I discovered on my first trip back in 2013.

IMG_6261I arrive Friday morning by train. Mary picks me up and we go straight back to her apartment so I could nap. Trains are not very conducive to sleep – more on this later. A trip to the grocery store, shower and pedicure later and we head downtown to Clocked Diner (259 W. Washington St) a retro-feeling burger joint, with vegetarian and vegan options. Foreign sci-fi film posters line the cozy diner, there is a TV playing a loop of a retro sci-fi film next to shelves of condiments and tubs of Dubble Bubble (our check comes with a few pieces of the gum). Clocked offers outdoor seating on a small patio to the side of the restaurant but the Georgia heat makes it hard to sit outside for long. The food takes a little while to come out but their website boasts fresh preparation to order and asks for patience so I guess I had my forewarning. The falafel burger I order is flavorful, fresh and served with a vegan basil jalapeño sauce. Clocked Diner is known for their milkshakes; Mary’s favorite is the blackberry. She says she can’t find a blackberry milkshake anywhere else so armed with a tablet of Lactaid I sip a little of hers. It’s delicious but I dare not chance getting my own.

IMG_6258Saturday is a mellow day, lounging by the pool, a birthday cookout and binge watching season 3 of Orange is the New Black. It dropped while I was on the train to Athens and I’m not one to be left behind by everyone who will have already watched the whole season by the time I get home (I’m looking at you, Danielle).

Sunday we head to the sleepy town of Madison, Ga, which in typical southern small town fashion is mostly shutdown on the Lord’s day. But the reason we are in Madison is for the antiquing and fortunately J & K Fleas An’tiques at 184 S. Main St., is open for business and full of treasures. We load up on amber pressed glass serving plates, 1960s Chinese silk animal ornaments and one weird George-Washington-shaped liquor bottle and head to 5 Points Growlers and Brew Supply back in Athens. The liquor store is average but it was the growler fill-up bar next door that really impressed me. They have boast 45 different beers available for purchase, plus two wines. Bring your own growler or purchase one there.

IMG_6365We have dinner at Cali N Tito’s (1427 S. Lumpkin St), a funky dive that’s walking distance from Mary’s place. She is well versed in their options that fuse authentic and original Mexican food and recommends we get the empanadas and pico de gallo, which they prepare with avocado. Most of the seating is on the outdoor patio complete with white picnic tables, string lights, and old rowboat converted into a fountain. The one catch is that this joint is cash only so be sure to bring your Benjamins with you. We pay the $2.50 BYOB fee and Cali N Tito’s gives us cups and a bucket of ice to keep our bottle of vino verde cool. The service is extremely fast and efficient. They make a mean fish taco served with a chipotle mayo I would be willing to purchase in bottled form. Mary gets a zesty chorizo burrito but says the Cubano Especial (complete with grilled steak, hotdogs, ham, cheese and jalapeños) is also a favorite. I look forward to coming back here on my next visit.

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Monday is my final day in Athens and Mary needs to head into the lab for a few hours so she drops me off downtown so I can visit a couple of my favorite local shopping destinations. Located at 119 N. Jackson St., Community has been a favorite since my first trip to Athens. Offering sustainable fashion with their in-house label Community Service, the clothing is made through recycling vintage material and repurposed old clothing, right in the back of the shop. One of my favorite skirts is part of this line, purchased on my first visit, it’s made from vintage blue velvet material. Community also sells local crafted art, jewelry and artisan chocolates and offers sewing and alteration classes to the public.

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A few doors up the street Dynamite Clothing (143 N. Jackson St) would be where all the hipsters of Athens would shop if there were hipsters. (I’m sure Athens has them, Mary just claims they aren’t as hipstery as Baltimore hipsters – do we win something for having hipper hipsters?). Definitely a spot for the cool kids, Dynamite sells the best of the best vintage clothing, plus a few new pieces. Hand selected by the staff, they ensure all the clothing is washed and ready to wear when it goes out on the sales floor. Stay tuned to my Instagram for pictures of the unique floral dress I picked up!

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At 224 E. Clayton St, Jill Furman, the chatty and friendly owner of Margo Sterling Silver helps me pick out a beautiful blue topaz sterling silver ring to add to my ever-growing collection of finger bling. Margo sells crystals of all shapes and sizes, strings of beads, semi-precious stone carved animal figurines and a large selection of jewelry all set in sterling silver. It’s any crafter’s or jewelry lover’s paradise and definitely worth a stop if you find yourself in Athens.

Last but not least, I got to check out a new store, Philanthropy. They opened their doors at 294 W. Washington St., this past August and is one of three stores that reside in small towns around the United States. In accordance to their name, 10% of all in-store sales and 100% of online sales go to local ministries. In addition to this they sell some brands that directly help certain groups, like Sseko Designs. Sseko sandals are handmade by recent high school graduates in Uganda who work together to earn money for college. You can read more about the company and read the stories of the women at Sseko here. Philanthropy has a decidedly Anthropologie feel to it; gorgeous displays of home goods mixed in with delicate clothing and accessories. I pick up a cute floral boho top, a mason jar soap pump and adorable postcards made of plywood (they take two stamps to mail). Keep your eyes on your mailbox, Mom and Baba!

Every trip I take to Athens is enjoyable by the mere fact I get to spend time with my best friend. I miss you, Mare, but I know you are following your passion and one day you will come home to me! I could never do what you do and Cairo and I are grateful for the work you do to keep her little kitty heart free of worms. See you next time Athens!

 

Travel

Embarking on Your International Journey

January 23, 2015

Welcome back, Weldonites. I hope you’ve found the first round of my international travel tips from my last post useful and you are all planning your next international journeys. “Preparing for International Travel” focuses on getting your shit together to have a successful trip – making sure you pick the perfect destination, getting your documents in order, packing your checked-luggage, and the importance of budgeting. By now, you are ready to embark on the actual journey – we want to make that processes as smooth as possible. Once all of the boring details are in order and your trip is planned and organized, it’s time to organize yourself. The night before/day of should be pretty easy since you’ve got the details ironed out. Let’s get started – you have a plane to catch.

Carry-on Luggage

Once your checked bag is packed (in addition to my last post, check out Shae’s packing post for more tips) it’s time to start figuring out what you will need with you while you are traveling. I like my carry-on to be a backpack with ample room and good compartments for organizing, although lately I’ve been thinking about trying out a leather tote to fill this need (let the budgeting begin). A backpack is nice because you can just throw it on your back and focus on the rest of your journey. Once you’ve picked your travel bag, it’s time to prepare what goes into it. Here is my list of things that should go into your carry-on:

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  • Toothbrush/small toothpaste
  • Passport(s)/other travel documents – it’s important that these are very accessible and can be grabbed easily for going through security.
  • Socks – your chosen airline may give you a pair in your seat-back pocket but the quality is typically pretty awful and will make your feet cry. Your feet will be cold though, so it’s best to BYOS.
  • Zip-up hoodie or a flannel – basically, something to keep you warm on the plane. I think it’s best to wear something that doesn’t have to go over your head so it goes on and off a bit easier.
  • 1 – 2 days worth of clothes – I always pack at least one pair of underwear and one clean shirt/dress when I travel. I’ve never had to use it but SHIT HAPPENS. You don’t want to disembark from in Chile only to realize your luggage has been lost and you have to wear stinky underwear (or none) until you get your bag back. Again, rare but be prepared.
  • Chargers for your devices. I also have an external battery pack I bring just in case.
  • Headphones.
  • Snacks – something non-perishable like nuts or a granola bar. I always have one or two granola bars tucked away in case the airplane food is horrendous. Chips should be avoided as they are generally high in sodium and you don’t want to raise your risk for dehydration. Fruit should be avoided as it is usually illegal to bring out of the country. I also brought a sandwich that I ate on my train up to JFK.
  • All that cash money your bringing, tucked away in an un-marked envelope.
  • Self entertainment – whether it be a good book or making sure the entirety of Serial is downloaded to your iPhone before you leave.
  • Gum – helps with your ears popping on board.
  • Deodorant.

And with that, you also need to think about what is not going in the suitcase. Here is a list of things to leave behind:

  • Liquids greater than 3 oz – even though this has been a rule since 2001, I’ve still seen even the most experienced travelers get their favorite lotion or hair product or water bottle get taken away. It’s pretty depressing watching TSA throw out a $30 bottle of Clinique lotion. Don’t let this happen to you! If you want to bring your water bottle, make sure it is empty. For the lotion, either pack it in your checked bag or grab a mini-bottle for it at Target etc. These days I find the packaging is often labeled “travel ready” or even “TSA approved”, but so long as it doesn’t hold more than 3 oz. of liquid you will be fine.
  • Razors, tweezers, and nail clippers – same deal as the liquids. I remember once traveling with my mom and her favorite pair of tweezers were taken away. She said, “I promise not to pluck anyone’s eyebrows”. Airport security did not find this funny and promptly threw them away right in front of us. Rude.
  • Drugs – this should be obvious. I know people who have checked them and I don’t ask questions as to how they got away with it. I’m too much of a pussy and would rather not risk dealing with international law enforcement (or American law enforcement for that matter).
  • Full makeup kit – I’ve seen many women bring their giant makeup bags in their carry-on bags but I just don’t think it’s worth it. I understand wanting to look cute after your thousand-hour flight. I typically will just pack a concealer for the bags under my eyes, an eyeliner, and a bronzer (depending on how pale I am feeling). This time around I checked all of my makeup – I’m visiting family, who cares.
  • Fruit – as mentioned above, the country you are visiting more than likely has laws against bringing fruit and other perishable foods into their borders.

I would also consider whether or not you actually need your laptop. I have done trips with and without it. My opinion changes. Do what you wish – just keep in mind it adds a whole lot of extra bulk and unless you’re doing work, it could be a big distraction. In the age of the smartphone, you can probably get your internet fix without a computer.

Another note about electronics, which may only apply if you have family & friends abroad: if you are bringing electronics as a gift to someone abroad, take it out of its packaging and pretend it is your own. I know this seems extreme but taxes on electronics out of the U.S. are really insane and that is the reason why you’ve been asked to bring said electronic. You can still bring the box, just not sealed.

Dressing to Minimize Stress

The night before I fly out, after I have packed my carry-on bag, I put aside what I am wearing the next day. Although I admire women in heels and men in suits at the airport, I cannot imagine this is comfortable. I typically try to wear slip on sandals when I am traveling, but because it is currently the dead of winter I opted for short ankle boots that can easily be taken on and off. Your feet will most likely swell on the plane and so make sure to wear a shoe that doesn’t fit too tight. I’ve known people to pack a pair of flip-flops in their carry-on, especially when traveling to warmer places. Kind of wish I’d done that for this trip. I wore the socks I would’ve packed in my carry-on because it was so cold out. I have thought long and hard about the jeans v. leggings debate and I’ve decided that I prefer both. I wear jeans to and throughout the airport for one reason – pockets. I never know when I’ll need free hands or what not and I appreciate having a place to stick my phone/passport quickly. My iPhone survived a terrible drop one year that could’ve very well resulted in a cracked screen because I was rushing through security and stuck it under my arm. Once I’ve made it to my gate, I head to the nearest bathroom and get my leggings on. Boom – instant comfort. I also layer a lot. I wear a tank-top over a long-sleeve. This time I wore a jean jacket while traveling even though on the East Coast it is parka weather – there is just no reason for the extra bulk at the airport and I can make it through a couple of hours of land-travel feeling a little cold.

The Airport

For an international vacation, you should plan to get to the airport no less than three hours before your flight time. This may seem excessive but international flights can be huge and packed with people and the check-in line alone can take up to an hour. Security can also take a great deal of time and, depending on the airport, your gate could be a ways away. Most flights start boarding an hour before the scheduled departure time and it’s a good idea to be comfortably at your gate (in leggings/comfy pants) before then. Sometimes, you are lucky (like me on this trip!) and there is no line to check in and you get TSA pre-approved and security is a breeze (does anyone know the method to this? I guess I look trusting). I got to the airport at four o’clock for my 7pm flight and made it to my gate by 4:30. In this case, you head to the airport bar, get yourself a beer and some french fries/a burger, and enjoy the mini date you get to take yourself on. Also, it isn’t a bad idea to eat before your flight. I’ve been on some where the only food I can stomach is the buttered roll served with the meal. I would rather have two hours to kill at the bar than be frantically running through JFK to get on my plane before the doors close (or worse – before my tickets are given away to pesky stand-by passengers).

Be ready at the gate by the boarding time printed on your boarding pass. Only in the most perfect world will you actually be on the plane at that time, but this is when any imperative information will be announced. Wait until your row is called, wait in line, smile, and get on board. Grab everything you think you’ll need out of your carry-on before sitting down and putting your bag above your seat. You can always grab what you need while you’re in-flight but I just like to be prepared/lazy.

Look at you! You’ve made it. You are on the plane. Enjoy whatever in-flight entertainment you’ve chosen and get some sleep. If you choose to drink alcohol on board, please drink water as well. Planes are very dehydrating. Avoid caffeine until morning so you can actually get some sleep. Triple-check your seat-back pockets before you disembark – that’s how 15-year-old Jules lost her iPod Classic on a flight to Hong Kong.

Enjoy your international vacation. Remember to reference my last post to make it a full success. I am always here so please, ask as many questions as you have – I’d be happy to give you my take on things. Tag your favorite vacation photos #30thandweldon on instagram(I KNOW YOU ALL HAVE THEM. SHOW THEM OFF). I would love to see photos of where you have been and I’ll do the same.

Now, it’s time for me to quit looking at screens and head to the beach!

Travel

Preparing for International Travel

January 22, 2015

I’ve just begun a week-long trip to visit family in Brazil and I could not be more excited to escape this horrendously cold weather (remember, I hate winter). I have been incredibly #blessed throughout my life to have traveled as much as I have. I have been going to Brazil every two years or so since I was 5, have a grandmother that is a diplomat whom I’ve had the privilege of traveling to Austria, Rome, and Slovenjia with, godparents that have taken me to Bermuda, Canada, and the Phillippines, and went to a college that requires every undergraduate student to study abroad. Domestically, I have been to 18 states – not as impressive as I’d like but I am working on it. I have been on my fair share of flights and have only learned from my experiences. For example, I do not care where you are going or who you are – you do not need to bring eight different pairs of shoes with you (unless you are Beyoncé. Beyoncé, you can do whatever the hell you want. Just keep being you). International travel can be an incredibly daunting experience and I feel very fortunate that at the prime age of twenty-three I have left the country well over a dozen times – at this point I am generally comfortable with it. That being said, it is still a daunting experience that you should be well prepared for. My hope with this post is to share what I’ve learned to make those international journeys a little bit easy for you all.

Step One: Choose Your Destination

This may seem obvious, but there should be great care in your decision on where to go. Do you want to go abroad but still want to be in the “developed” world? Maybe a trip to England would suit you best. Loath pho/rice/fish? A tour around Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos may not be in your best interest. Hate winter? Let’s not go to Moscow then. Also, I always like to go places where I know someone who lives in my travel destination so I’m not traveling blindly. With the exception of my cruise to Bermuda when I was 12, I have always been able to connect with someone local on every international trip I have taken – as well as most of my domestic trips. It’s very comforting to know that there is someone you can address questions to and who can show you the ins and outs of a place. It also may result in a place to stay. More on that later.

 

Step Two: Get Your Documents In Order

 

This is probably the most important part of your trip and should be done as early as possible – I would say two months before you plan to fly out AT MINIMUM. Get your plane tickets early – I prefer to use click-and-fly for mine. Although they make you email a photo of your credit card and driver’s license, I found tickets for this trip that were $300 less than through the airline. You are not done when you get your tickets – in fact, you may be just getting started. Now, you need to think about passports, vaccines, and visas. Is your passport up to date? Oh shit, it expired?? GO FILE FOR A NEW ONE ASAP. THIS PROCESS CAN BE VERY FRUSTRATING. Even ‘expidited’ delivery can feel like an eternity. Do you need shots for the country you’re visiting? Better call your doctor. Do you need a visa to enter the country you are going to? Look it up, find the nearest consolate, and make sure you do everything you need to so that they will let you into your dream destination. I’m lucky enough to have never had to get a visa but I’ve heard it can be a long and frustrating processes from many friends who needed it for their times studying abroad in college.

Step Three: Design Your Travel Itinerary

I always try to fly direct as running around various airports is never fun and is even less fun when you’re traveling abroad – I’m not tryna be on a plane for 9 hours, grab my luggage, go through customs, and then get on another 3 hour flight to my destination. This is sometimes unavoidable and in that case – may the force be with you. I’ve done it: it’s do-able but not ideal. In the case of this trip, I opted to take Amtrak up to JFK so I could fly direct and I find the extra land travel to be worth it. I also prefer to take a red-eye flight so as to not waste precious daytime hours up in the air. Once you’ve figured out what type of flight you’ll be on and how you’re getting to the airport, you must now figure out how you are getting from the airport. If you’ve managed to travel to a place to visit folks you know, ask as nicely as possible for a ride from the airport. If not, take a cab WITH A METER. Learn how to say the name of your final destination in the local language and pray that you are not taken the longest way possible (but keep in mind in may happen. After all, you are foreign and cab drivers are great at detecting that). Cabs with meters are held to a standard and you can visually see how much money you owe and when you’re exhausted, the less stress the better. If you’ve opted for a hotel, it is very possible that the place you’ve chosen has an airport shuttle service. Make sure this is all in place before you even begin to think about packing(/shopping). What good is that new sunhat you bought if you don’t have a way to get to the beach?

Also, this is the point where you should start learning a thing or two about the country you are going to. Do some research – is it rude to wear your shoes inside? To eat with your hands? Do certain hand gestures mean different things in the country you are visiting than they do in the country you live in? Do some research and do your best to not unintentionally offend the locals but know that if it happens accidentally, you’ll be forgiven eventually. It’s a good idea to pick up some key phrases in the local language as well. Here is a quick list of words/phrases to jot down before you head out: Hello. Goodbye. Thank you. You’re welcome. Where is the bathroom? Where is x street? Where can I get a taxi? Yes. No. How are you? Two beers, please. Want to come back to my hotel? I’m not interested. Go away.

Step Four: Money and Budgeting

Make a budget. I know this is not fun but it will make your trip a much greater success. This is also where knowing people where you are going – you can save on land travel, food, and a place to rest your head. Plan for meals out, shopping, and other activities. Headed to Rome? Look up ahead of time how much it costs to get into the Colosseum, etc. Plan for the unexpected by following my mother’s advice. She states, ” I usually go knowing my budget will need to double”. This is excellent advice; you don’t want to find yourself with 3 days left in Morocco with $50 to your name. Figure out how you will access your funds. I typically bring cash and exchange in once I am at my destination (do not do this at the airport. Those exchange rates are the worst). I also make sure to call my bank and get my debit and credit card authorized for international use in case of emergency. Make sure you understand the exchange rate and a general idea of what certain things cost. Now spend that money, you’ve worked hard for it at your desk/sales floor/coffee shop/restaurant.

 

Step Five: Prepare & Pack Your Checked Luggage

Ok, now you are ready to start figuring out what to bring with you. At least two weeks before, you should create some sort of packing list (however vague it may be) so you can run to Target or wherever else to grab whatever you may need that you don’t already own (like the sunhat mentioned above). Start checking the weather a week or two before you leave so you can get an idea of the climate trends of your destination. Pack an umbrella. I’ve never once regretted bringing an umbrella. It’s a good idea to start actually packing a few days before you’re trip but if you are anything like me, this part will happen the night before – and that is okay.

Once you’ve figured out what you need, it’s a good idea to find out what your chosen airline’s policies are for luggage. Do you get to check a free bag? What about two? Is there a weight limit (hint: most likely there is). I am not above whipping out my scale before a trip to make sure I have not gone over, and those times I forgot to do so I’ve literally held my breath when the airport attendant weighs it for me (I got dangerously close on my last trip coming home from Rio… I thought my mother was going to kill me but in my defense I was bringing alcohol back home). Pack as light as possible in as small of a bag as you can. This is especially important if you’re taking a page from the book of Jules and traveling to the airport by way of city bus ride from boyfriend (thanks, bae) to Amtrak to NYC subway to JFK airtrain. Remember, unless you are Beyoncé you can leave your entire shoe collection at home and opt for the basics (shoes to walk in, shoes to go out in, and weather permitting, shoes to go to the beach in). Bring some sort of light jacket even if it is summer as evening temperatures can vary drastically. If you’re picky about the products you put in your hair/on your body, get some travel sized bottles to save space. If not, the local equivelent of Pantine Pro-V/Dove will do. That all being said, it is extremely important to make sure there is room in your bag to bring shit back with you, because you are traveling and you are going to go shopping.

Now all that’s left is getting ready for your day of travel! Come back tomorrow – I’ll share my tips for your carry-on luggage, ideas for good travel outfits, and ways to rely as little as possible on airplane food.

Happy travel planning!

 

 

Travel

Packing Light Is Hard

January 8, 2015
I’m about to head on a week long cruise to the Eastern Caribbean (don’t hate me, I love you), so this week I’d like to tackle a topic that takes me some difficulty to successfully execute: packing light.  It’s been known to happen, and it has gotten better over the years, but the struggle is SO real every time I go on a trip.  Hell, it’s like I’m moving in even if I’m just staying the night at my boyfriend’s.  Okay, so maybe I’m not the best person be writing useful tips on how to pack light but just because I don’t always follow them doesn’t mean I can’t speak to them, right?  Right?

Number 1.  Pick a color scheme.  It’s much easier to get multiple outfits out of just a few pieces if they all coordinate with each other.  This way you don’t even have to plan what your days will look like – you can travel with the confidence that everything you bring is going to look good together.

Number 2.  Roll your clothing.  It’s too much to ask that I don’t bring clothing that wrinkles, so this method not only is the most efficient use of space but it will also do the least damage.

Number 3.  Don’t wear pants.  When I told her about this post, Julie gave me a tip she learned from her grandmother: Line the bottom of your suitcase with your pants and jeans so they take up less space.  But I’d like to raise the question, “Why do you need pants?”  You’re on vacation.  Nobody needs pants on vacation.

Number 4.  Bring layers.  This seems like a simple idea, but don’t underestimate it.  Bring layers that allow you to dress up or dress down a piece.  Throw a loose tee over a slip to dress it down during the day.  Then pair it with heels and a pashmina scarf around your shoulders (like a shaw) and wear it to dinner.  The tee can be worn the next day with the scarf.  Boom, baby.  Three outfits.

And Number 5.  Who do you think you are?  Kanye?  Like you are going to care how put-together you look. You are going to be focused on lounging in a hot tub and drinking as many piña coladas as you can while sitting in said hot tub.  Don’t kid yourself.