Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Adventures in the Great Wide Somewhere // Packing a Carry-On

The most stable relationship
I've had for the past 5 years
This portion of packing tips I'm talking about carry-on bag. I have always used a backpack as my carry-on and it's something I have never regretted doing. Me and my backpack are closer than Dora and hers. It has been literally everywhere with me. If that thing ever breaks or rips I will be as devastated as Tom Hanks losing Wilson. No joke, that thing is a part of me. It's the only thing that has been with me on every trip and has never let me down. I can't even tell you the size of liters it is or where to get it because I bought it on sale at Sports Authority literally almost 5 years ago. It is my BAE and I'm also convicted it has a little bit of magic in it that every time I pack it it's like a Mary Poppins bag because I fit SO much in it!

Prior to my first international trip I read dozens of articles on packing tips. The one thing that I took away from all of them and stuck with me was to pack your carry-on assuming your checked bag would be lost. Pack essentials to be able to live out of for a few days if the worst case scenario happens. I can now honestly tell you after 4 years of international travel British Airways were the assholes that made my OCD packing a a reality. They lost my bag and I was in London for 2 days sans luggage. THANK FUCK for that backpack and my packing habits. I'll be doing a post in the future of Travel Woes where I'll talk more about lost luggage but for now, here's what I pack in my carry-on and why my backpack is essential to my travel.

To Pack in Carry On for Flight
Pair of boots--This is mostly to save a bit of weight and room in the luggage
Essential makeup--tinted moisturizer, mascara, bronzer, eyebrow gel. That's it. Done. I can do my makeup everyday with just those things and feel confident and radiant-haha
Essential toiletries in clear plastic bag--shampoo, conditioner, body wash, contact solution, small toothpaste, toothbrush, makeup removers. Last 2 don't have to be in plastic bag obvs but still. Listing them all together is easier
A pair of leggings
A t shirt/short sleeve stop
A shirt (denim or flannel)
One other top or shirt
A few undies
Sleep/Comfy clothes
Flip Flops
Camera--I'll tuck this in between soft clothes or roll leggings around it to avoid any damage.
Adapters--Don't wanna have to buy new ones because they're expensive and how annoying
Travel Documents--Boarding passes, hotel confirmations, transfer confirmations, itinerary. Most customs, especially the UK, will want to know your return flight home, where you'll be staying, etc. Better to be prepared than frazzled
Prescription Meds/Over the counter must-haves--You definitely don't want to be worried about medication if you take it every day or need your OTC migraine medicine (this is me)
Charger Cords--Depending on flight connections and lengths you might need that adapter and phone charger prior to landing at your destination. I usually put all chargers in a clear plastic bag for easy access

My Carry On Essentials
In addition to it being easy to not only use pack a backpack as a carry-on, it's so easy just to throw it on your back and wheel your suitcase. I've tried to use larger totes before and they just don't work for me. My backpack is my lifeblood when traveling. Not only for ease of use but once I get to my destination and won't be flying for a while, I basically almost live out of my backpack. I keep all essentials in the backpack throughout my trip. Pajamas I wear every night. The rest of my make up. All of my toiletries. Extra pair of leggings. Glasses. Adapters, Chargers. Basically all the stuff I know I will want once I get to my room, that I use every day and night, and I won't have to dig into my big luggage searching for it. If I impart one piece of packing essentials to you it is that one. Use your backpack or small carry-on as your hold all for essentials. It is SO easy after a long day out or a long day of traveling on a bus to know exactly where my comfy clothes, make up removers, toothbrush and glasses are. I can be ready for bed in 10 minutes and not have the daunting task or opening my large luggage to look for everything. 

I know packing can be a daunting task and there are so many pieces of advice and opinions out there so I can only hope my posts are helping rather than hindering/causing more stress. I really think I take a pretty minimalistic approach to packing and while my 'lists' might seem like a lot once it's all said and done it's not that much really. And really, at the end of the day, do what works for you. This is what has worked for years for me and I love my system. I hope it works for you!

Tell me! Do you have any packing tips for carry-ons?
Do you think my backpack system would work for you?

Don't forget to post on Instagram with the hashtag #WanderlustWednesday! It can be anything--a throwback travel photo of a place you've been, a Google image of where you want to go, an inspirational quote, a travel themed trinket you have, anything that inspires your wanderlust.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Quick and Dirty // Mini-Reviews {2}

Another round of quick-fire reviews!

 It's no secret Megan Erickson is one of my favorite authors! The latest Mechanics of Love book only solidified that further. Alex is such a beautifully complex woman who may not wear her heart on her sleeve but she definitely feels deeper than most. She has been hurt in the past and protects her heart romantically but puts everything she has into her sister and niece and her new pseduo-father and brothers in the Peytons. Spencer is a Brit passing through for work and he and Alex's chemistry is on another level. I love Megan's ability to make a story so fun and sexy but emotional. It's a hard balance to maintain and she always does this perfectly. I am truly crossing my fingers that we will get more from the town of Tory in the future! If you're looking for a fun, sexy, and hilarious series, you need to check this out!

Reserved Seating

Friday, June 24, 2016

InstaLife {1}

I don't really know if anybody does something similar to this but I wanted to try a new lifestyle/update-type post. I love Rachel's 'Life According to my iPhone' series and that inspired me to think of InstaLife. I LOVE Instagram and posting pics of travels or books, etc. so I thought I'd take screenshots of my most recent Instagram photos to show what I've been up to lately! I did two screenshots for this post because it's new and I wanted to highlight the great travels I've had the opportunity to do recently! Of course, check out my Instagram if you want to see more!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Adventures in the Great Wide Somewhere // Portland, Maine {2}

My post last week about the sights of Portland got too long to include my new favorite spots to eat. I am not a foodie at all but I felt like on in this city! There were so many amazing looking restaurants and Irish bars and sweet shops that I wanted to stay for a month if only to experience all the city had to offer! One day...the place I did eat were amazing and if you guys get a chance, definitely check these places out! Your stomach will not regret it!

Portland Lobster Company
The main street lining the coast is Commercial street and here you'll multiple little shack shops of seafood. I ate at the Portland Lobster Company per Rachel's recommendation and she did not steer me wrong. Friendly service, amazing food, and a choice to sit in the sun or covered on their large patio on the water. I'm using the word perfect a lot but it was truly an afternoon I felt blessed to be alive. It just had that feeling of completion and connection with life. The whole day was amazing. But seriously. Eat here. You can sit in the sun or shade, gaze at the water, and eat uh-may-zing seafood. You really can't go wrong!

The Gorgeous Gelato
Another rec by the fabulous Rachel! This gelato shop is also in downtown Portland just one street up from the coast and it's delicious. Featuring unique flavors of gelato as well as cannoli's, this is a must stop if you're a fan of the Italian dessert. I personally had the Tiramisu (because I never not get Tiramisu) and the Sea Salt Caramel. I wasn't too impressed with the Tiramisu, a little strong on the flavor front but the Sea Salt Caramel was on another level. It was a cool night to walk around eating my treat

Old Port Slice Bar
Located on Fore Street in downtown Portland, I found this place just walking down the street and once I see pizza by the slice I know where I'm eating my next meal. With a menu of more than just pizza, Old Port Slice Bar offered a quick meal of a slice of pie that I'd been craving and a chance to rest my feet. Delicious, quick and cheap ($3.99 lunch special of a slice and soda).

Beal's Ice Cream
After pizza my afternoon was coming quickly to a close before I had to drive back home but I HAD to try this ice cream shop I walked past no less than 4 times and the smell of sugar and dairy had my eyes rolling back...and the taste was worth it. Chocolate chip cookie dough may be boring to you but it was anything but boring. Sitting on the street at a picnic table right outside was a fantastic end to my already amazing day. Cherry on top of my proverbial sundae.

East End Cupcakes
However, no visit to a new place would be complete without checking out if they have a cupcake shop. And they did! East End Cupcakes was short on supplies by 3 o'clock in the afternoon, totally a sign of great cupcakes if they're almost sold out, but I ended up buying the 15 mini-cupcakes of assorted flavors. You guys...YOU GUYS! I cannot even describe how freaking good it was! The first one I tried was vanilla cake and vanilla icing because in my opinion, if you can't make a good vanilla cupcake I cannot take you seriously. Best. Vanilla. Cupcake. Ever. EVER!!! If you are in Portland you NEED to go to East End Cupcakes! Do not pass Go, GO to this cupcake place. You will not regret it!

As I said numerous times, Portland is a new favorite city! The sights, the food, the sounds, the smells, everything about it I just fell in love with. If you get a chance to go here or are looking for your next US vacation spot, put Portland at the top of your list!

Don't forget to post on Instagram with the hashtag #WanderlustWednesday! It can be anything--a throwback travel photo of a place you've been, a Google image of where you want to go, an inspirational quote, a travel themed trinket you have, anything that inspires your wanderlust.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Take The Chance

"Bruises fade. Broken bones heal.
Life's too short, kid."
--Elle Kennedy, Addicted
Genre: Adult Dystopian Erotica
Publisher: Signet
Pages: 368
Publication Date: June 28th, 2016
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Previous Books in Series: Claimed
Find on: Goodreads | Amazon

My Thoughts

The Belle
Wow. Just wow. I read Claimed, the first book in the series, last year and loved it. I was beyond ecstatic when Addicted showed up at my door. I made Claimed my next re-read and Addicted my next read. I legit read both these books in ONE day, people. Once I started Addicted I could not stop...pun intended. Here's why.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Sleeping With The Enemy

"If I've learned anything from our time together, it's that you'd have no problem slaying dragons on your own."
--Katee Robert, The Marriage Contract

: Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Forever Romance
Pages: 352
Publication Date: April 26th, 2016
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Previous Books in Series: The Marriage Contract
Find on: Goodreads | Amazon

My Thoughts

The Belle
I decided to read this second book of The O'Malleys series on a whim one night when I wasn't sure what I wanted to read. It turned out to be the best decision ever! This was such a fantastic read. I was engaged almost immediately, the chemistry and development between James and Carrigan was palpable, and my heart was completely in tune to their plight...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Adventures in the Great Wide Somewhere // Portland, Maine {1)

They say when you know, you know. I knew when I first stepped foot in Portland it was going to be an amazing 2 days. The energy I felt walking the streets of Portland was palpable. It reminded me a little of downtown San Diego with it's brick walkways, cute shops, and fun energy. Which I found ironic that San Diego is on the most southwest end of the country and Portland as close to the northeast part of the country as you can almost get. But seriously. Portland is an instant new favorite US city of mine even only having been there for a short time. It was just magical to me. Let me tell you my favorite parts.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Long Live Jane {My Lady Jane Blog Tour and Giveaway}

Welcome to my stop on the My Lady Jane blog tour! I was so excited to put this post together because I'm combining more than a few of my loves in life. Books, history, and traveling, all in one post! For my stop on the tour I'm highlighting a few places I've been in real life that Jane would have visited in her lifetime. Hope you enjoy and check out my review of this fun, romantic, and justified alternate history!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Baptized by a Reverend

"She would never understand that within the walls of Rev's small house and among the salt-of-the-earth people who were his family,
I had learned how to truly live for the first time. "
--Katie Ashley, Redemption Road
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: NAL Trade
Pages: 336
Publication Date: October 6th, 2015
Source: Review copy provided by publisher
Previous Books in Series: Vicious Cycle
Find on: Goodreads | Amazon

My Thoughts

The Belle
After really enjoying Katie Ashley's first novel in the Vicious Cycle series, I was really looking forward to Rev's book, Redemption Road. Rev is the quiet brother, the strong and silent type, and super observant. I loved his character in Vicious Cycle and couldn't wait to see his love story. But it's not an easy one...

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Adventures in the Great Wide Somewhere // Fes, Morocco

Another one of Morocco's iconic cities is Fes. It's not just a hat Abu wears, it is also home to one of the most amazing markets I have been lucky enough to explore.

The traditional Moroccan Haman bath is a must do. I won't lie, it's a little weird. You have to be pretty open minded about the process because you're in a small, hot room, naked except for underwear or swimsuit bottoms with the woman performing the bath and your closest friends. The girls I was with and I had zero shame after that bath. There was no changing covertly in the corner or covering yourself up after that Hamam. We all saw everything. Anyways. There are different steps that include a rub down of a thick brown goop followed by an intense scrubbing exfoliation then an oil massage ending with a facial and shampooing. I think that's was a lot! Mind you, you're unceremoniously rinsed with a few buckets of water after each step. So its hot, wet, and naked. Yes, my mind went there too as you'll see in the next few sentences. The most insane but hilarious moment to me was when I was getting a massage I was lying face down. I have two hands on me by the woman massaging...then I hear some Arabic being spoken and wait...what that..oh yep, those are now 6 different hands on me. I had 3 naked women massaging me at one point and it took everything in me not to start laughing. I just sat there thinking, if ever there was a moment in my life that was the setup for a porno, this would be it. And they massage everything but what was covered by my undies. I left feeling completely clean and rejuvenated if not a little giggly from the whole crazy process!

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