10 Packing Tips

April 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve been busy gearing up for Europe these days. I’ve never been there before so to prepare I have aggressively been collecting tips and travel techniques I can use. Below I compiled a list of my best packing tips to share with you, applicable to all travel destinations.

1. Select a color theme and pack all of your clothes in those colors. That way you will never have problems putting together an outfit or wonder whether or not something matches (because it all does!)

2. Pack mini booze bottles for the flights. They are below the liquid carry-on limit, are more affordable then the in flight cocktail menu, and you can be more selective of brands. Besides, nothing soothes those turbulence worries like a nice stiff drink.

3. Invest in shoes! You will be walking all over the place so respect your feet and give them a good pair of heels, flats, sneakers, and sandals. Admittedly, I’ve spent the last 2 months shoe shopping for this very reason. I am in love with these sandals, I’ve worn them all day and walked miles without the slightest hint of a blister.

4. Pack microfiber clothing when possible- its easier to wash, quicker to dry, and doesn’t hold stains the way cotton does. Wrinkle resistant fabrics don’t hurt either.

5. Pack multiple travel size toiletries rather than regular size ones. That way you can toss them out as you go, your bag will get lighter, and there will be some room leftover at the end of the trip for souvenirs.

6. Pack granola bars or as my family so fondly calls them “Don’t Be a Bitch Bars.” Don’t be a hangry (hungry + angry) traveler, pack a hearty snack to tide you over from airport to airport and everyplace inbetween. I love Clif Bars because they are so fulfilling.

7. If you are bringing travel books, tear out the pages you don’t need. Or tear out the pages you do need and only bring those. Travel books are heavy and not always worth the weight. Or consider an e-reader to streamline the process.

8. Dress like an onion. Layers! Skip the heavy coat and bring a sweater and light jacket instead, it will take up the same amount of space in your suitcase but will provide more versatility when weather is in flux.

9. Bring or buy a small water bottle. I get so excited about travel I often forget to feed myself, so something as simple as having water at your side can make a huge difference when you’ve been walking all day.

10. Bring a shawl. They aren’t for old ladies anymore! A Shawl or wrap can be used as a clothing accessory, a blanket, and it can be rolled up and used as a pillow. It’s super versatile and easy to carry with you. This one, this one and this one are all at the top of my list.


Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

September 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

This weekend I went to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen. It is 1,100+ acres of gardens owned by the University of Minnesota. And it is beautiful! With a full learning center, restaurant, gift shop, and 12 miles of hiking trails it is easy to spend a whole day there getting lost in it’s forests, grasslands, gardens, and bogs. If you’d like to see them, I’ve include some photos below.

I might have to go back in a few weeks when the leaves really start to change color. I can’t wait for all the tree tops to become ablaze with oranges and reds!

A Tree House Vacation in Wisconsin

June 24, 2011 § 2 Comments

When I was growing up all I wanted in life was a tree house. Man were they cool. And we had the perfect tree for it, which of course my parents had cut down for fear that a large storm could take it out and crush the house.

But the dream still lives! Check out this beautiful and rustic tree house rental at Lake Wandawega in Wisconsin. Featured in Chicago Home + Garden and Remodelista, I’m not the only one who loves what this rental has to offer.

The Wandawega Lake Resort website is charming, well put together, and funny to boot. As it says:

Here at Camp Wandawega we consider ourselves the definition of rustic.

If you require sheets with a thread count higher than 50, a concierge, new box springs and the like, there are dozens of lovely options in the area. We’ve got a list we’ll be glad to send you. (We are not for the meek, the squeamish or any other synonym for folks who don’t like roughing it)

Expect: Ladybugs on your pillow and the occasional cricket if you’re lucky. The errant chipmunk doing laps around your cabin. (Possibly larger mammals: we have raccoon squatters who seem to enjoy camping as well) Camp showers- we’re talking old school, Boy Scout camp, concrete floors, partial open air kinda’ thing. Toads hang out there on a regular basis, so scoot over.

So why on earth do folks want to come here?

Complete absence of pretense. A lake with virtually no traffic, 25 acres of untouched woods, and trails filled with wildlife.

  • A million stars, and even more birds
  • The opportunity to walk out your door to a lake
  • All the fishing gear, boats, sports equipment, smoring tools, and grill are included in your stay
  • A few retro Schwinns to explore the area
  • Rope swings that will launch you far beyond your comfort zone
  • And much more…

I hope they still have some openings left. I’d love to spend a weekend drinking beer and practicing my boyscout preparedness!

Working On The Move

June 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Do you do the same thing at work everyday?

I do. And today I walked into my office and had this overwhelming feeling that I couldn’t any more. That one more day of the same tasks might just push me from boredom to insanity. So I began imagining alternatives. I could be a wearer of many hats…  And then I remembered some friends I met while traveling through Argentina, they were an Australian couple who had been in transit for the past 2 years! They saved up what they could and they began to move from one country to the next. And when the money ran short, they would pick up random jobs to hold them over until they could travel on. Over the course of their 2 years of travel they were chocolatiers, veterinary assistants, gas pump attendants, restaurant servers, toll both operators and, of course, tourists. What an exciting way to live!

Could you do it?

New Orleans Or Bust!

May 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

I don’t remember if I told you this but I am heading to New Orleans today! My sister has finished her masters degree and a celebration is in order (Congratulations Alissa Faye!). The entire family is flying out for the occasion and I’m so excited for us all to reunite in this southern state.  I am enxious to get out of town, let the humidity take over my hair, and sip a strong southern cocktail on a porch somewhere- total bliss!

In case you missed it, take a look at my last trip to the Big Easy. Oh, and check out this cool food navigation map by Berning Marketing below (click to enlarge).

The North Shore In April

April 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

The falls were flood worthy.

The valley was bare.

The fishermen were fly.

The view was scenic.

The lake was Superior.

The weather was extra cold.

But the beer was extra large.

Australia Day 11

January 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

I went North to Townsville for a week to visit some friends and celebrate the holidays. We made a trip to Little Crystal Creek National Park in Paluma to swim in these gorgeous falls above. Oh and met a koala bear! I have a lot of catching up to do, anticipate more pictures soon!

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