Friday, August 29, 2014

Favorite Necessities for Plane Travel

Hooray for another holiday weekend! E and I are flying out to the west coast to attend his sister's wedding in Big Sur, CA. It's going to be beautiful and it's always great to reunite with family. I'm looking forward to the getaway--to just relax, unwind, and enjoy the sun, water, and food (isn't that the best part to traveling?)

After years of regular domestic and international travel, I think I've finally found my favorite plane outfit. Why do I need a "plane outfit"? Because spending hours being confined to a seat (not to mention all the extra time spent schlepping luggage around and waiting at the airport) necessitates clothing that will maximize comfort while holding up to a good day of work (doesn't flying feel like a long day at work sometimes?)

Flying in jeans was never an option; I like to move and stretch a lot, often hiking up a leg on to my seat or even sitting in half lotus position. I used to fly in basically an uniform of sweats: sweat pants with sweat shirt. It was super comfortable, but also super drabby.

Nowadays, my go-to plane outfit has evolved into a pretty good balance between style and function. 

 Why I love this outfit:

1. Leggings: black keeps it simple and classic, and is also great at hiding any stains from accidental spills while traveling. Even more importantly, it's just as comfy as sweats!

2. Chambray shirt: casual and comfortably lose, yet still delivering understated style--something a sweatshirt just can't accomplish.

3. Ankle boots: my favorite pair of rough and tumble boots. They're comfortable (comfort is a theme here!) and easy to remove at the security check. Extra plus, the low heel gives me a lift but still comfy for walking.

4. Scarf: a light-weight scarf is a must-have for me. It adds a touch of style but it offers even more function. Temperatures often fluctuate on the plane or at the airport, so throwing on a scarf or using it as a shoulder wrap is easy and effective for when I get chilly.

5. Sunglasses: nothing transforms a tired face than sunglasses. When my eyes look weary after a long flight, I just throw on my shades and suddenly I look more put together. It also doubles as my sleep mask.

6. Accessories: I like to keep it simple; just one necklace or pair of earrings does the job of kicking it up a notch.

Now for a peak inside my carry-on bag:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Living Room Makeover: Part I

I’m not sure if something qualifies as a “makeover” if it was never “made” to begin with. Nevertheless, I’ve been waiting procrastinating for a long time to get our living room in order. I won’t divulge exactly how long that’s been, but let’s just say it’s long enough to be embarrassing.

You see, when we moved into our new place, the old shelving units/entertainment system that worked perfectly in our old apartment no longer worked in the new space. It new wall is too big, the old unit now too small. The configuration also worked against the width of the space, a feature of the room that is actually quite fantastic. So I knew from the beginning that I wanted something new for our living room, which is why, as you can tell from the “Before” photo, we never even bothered unpacking.

My logic was that I would only have to pack everything away again in order to put in the new living room and then unpack for a second time. Why do all that unnecessary work? Let’s just wait until the new setup is put in, then we can unpack once and for all.

Well, the thing about waiting is that you could be waiting for a long time, longer than you’d expect or even prefer, because life happens. And while in the beginning you may be just waiting for enough free time to tackle the task, eventually you find yourself just procrastinating it because the longer you wait, the more daunting the task becomes. Before you know it, you’ve pushed it off for so long that trees have changed colors, flowers have bloomed and gone, and seasons have came to pass.

Thankfully, my cautionary tale changed course to a happy ending! This week I finally put aside all excuses and tackled the living room head on.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Five Camping Must-Have's

Camping with friends at Hickory Run State Park, PA

City living is energizing and dynamic, but nothing compares to the refreshing liberation of being in the great outdoors. Being in nature, freed from the hustle and noise of modern life, you are allowed to slowed down, be in the moment, and take in the beauty that is the world around you. That's one of many reasons I enjoy camping.

Summer is a great season for camping and we try to do it every year. Aside from the fresh air and the beauty of nature, when you're camping, you're stripped of mundane everyday demands and forced to live simpler. Starting a fire, assembling a shelter, cooking a meal--camping necessitates being ever present in the moment to, essentially, ensure your own survival. In our modern times where we have dominated and mastered the world around us, camping humbles us to the basics and reminds us of our humanity.

"That's romantic and all," my more camping-averse friends would say, "but there's a reason why camping is called 'roughing it'--it's not much of a vacation!" That's only partly true. If you're simply miserable without modern luxuries (in the ways of wireless connection and frappuccinos), then you likely won't be able to find any enjoyment in camping. But contrary to what it may seem, camping can be quite comfortable, as long as you have the right gear.

Morning at our campsite in Arches National Park, UT

Last year, we went on a three-week road trip in the Northwest/West Coast touring the National Parks. We camped for almost the entire time (we stayed in hotels when it got too cold; even I have my limits!) I loved every minute of it. Having the right tools and gear made all the difference and a few have become my must-have's that I know I could never live without.

Here are my top five favorite camping gear (along with some of my own camping photo memories!) Whether you are new to the game or a seasoned camper, these are my tried and true tools in making any camping experience comfortable.