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travel

packing in one bag for a mixed transit trip

Posted in Travel by

Last weekend, Evan and I headed out on a quick two-night trip to the northeast. We were flying in to Newark, Lyfting to Jersey City, using the PATH train to head into NYC, then taking a bus from New York City to Boston the next day, and flying home from Logan. (I’m exhausted just recounting all that!) Originally, I was packing into my small (but roomy) packable tote, but since I knew we’d be walking around a lot and trekking through Boston on foot, I wanted something easier to manage, since my tote doesn’t have a shoulder strap or anything.

We bought a packable backpack last summer that we’ve gotten a lot of use from, so I decided to pick up one of my own without spending a ton of money on it. VenturePal’s Large Hiking backpack fit the bill at just under $13. Initially I thought I’d just throw it into my tote and deal with switching things over once we got to Jersey, but I ended up doing the opposite – packing into the backpack and throwing the packed tote in, just in case. The forecast for the weekend was shifty – rain expected, of course – so I packed in a way that I thought would be optimistic, just in case things were sunny instead.

On the plane, I wore jeans, a t-shirt, and a lightweight C9 track jacket. I really wanted to wear my favorite Crocs sandals, but since the weather forecast showed rain, I stuck with my trusty Sperrys.

What I Packed

Clothes

  • Two pairs of socks (I packed these “just in case,” and didn’t use them since it didn’t rain)
  • Four pairs underwear (extra underwear is something I’m always going to tote.)
  • Two sports bras
  • One pair sleep shorts (I wouldn’t have brought sleep stuff, but we stayed with a friend in Boston and I think everyone appreciated that I wore clothes to bed)
  • One sleep tank top
  • One pair Uniqlo drape pants
  • One pair Uniqlo Relaco shorts
  • One t-shirt
  • One Uniqlo sleeveless tank
  • One black popover shirt

Toiletries

  • Toothbrushes/toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Single face wipes to remove makeup (I didn’t use these. The first night in the hotel I used a washcloth and the second night I passed out with makeup on. Whoops.)
  • Body wipes
  • Dry shampoo
  • Meds for both of us
  • A couple random ziploc bags
  • Two lipsticks
  • Mascara
  • Foundation
  • Sponge
  • Contour
  • Welly first aid kit (I’m a sucker for branding and Welly is great at it, but I don’t recommend the band-aids. I used a fabric one while we were on the trip and it started fraying within an hour.)

Comfort and Entertainment

What Did We Buy There?

  • Dramamine (I had some at home but didn’t pack it. I would probably have been fine, but wanted to ensure a nap on the bus, so I grabbed some from Target on the way)
  • Evan forgot hair stuff, so he picked up a small hair pomade thingy

The organization of the bag was perfect – I don’t like a lot of pockets, and this one only has three, including the main space. Even though 50 liters is more space than I really need, I was glad for it because I could easily throw in the few purchases I made on the trip (another set of Uniqlo drape pants and Relaco shorts, and two shirts from the shows.)

I will say that this bag doesn’t look super touristy so if security is one of your concerns, I think this bag would fit the bill quite well. It would also be a fine daypack, too, if you wanted to offload some things where you were staying and set out for the day. It’s definitely durable, but not waterproof, and it probably wouldn’t be my primary bag choice for a week+ trip. But for a weekend where I specifically wanted to feel well-organized and mobile, it was really great, and I’m so glad I’m learning how to pack less!

Are you a minimalist traveler, or a “just in case” packer? What must-haves do you always pack?

May 20, 2019
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favorite amazon buys

Posted in Shopping by

My birthday is this weekend! Yay! Sipping champagne in a hot bathtub, playing video games, reading a book, and watching boyfriend play a show are how I’ll be spending it. Those are a few of my favorite things, so today I thought I’d share a few more. These are some of the products I’ve found that I can’t imagine living without anymore – they make my lifeĀ so much easier!

Platypus Water Bottle: This is my absolute favorite Amazon buy ever, and definitely one of my favorite products from anywhere. I try to drink a lot of water, but when I’m out and about, I would never bring a water bottle with me because they’re heavy and take up a lot of space in your bag. Viola, a collapsible water bag! I love this one because it has a double latch closure and it’s never leaked on me, and also has a built-in carabiner clip. I get asked about it all the time because it’s such a handy thing to throw in a bag without taking up any space. (This Contigo water bottle is still my favorite one at home, though!)

tea stand

Tea Bag Organizer: I had seen these advertised a lot and thought they were super gimmicky, but after too many visits to DavidsTEA, it was clear I needed to do something with my boxed teas. When it was on a lightning deal, I finally went ahead and nabbed it – and, as advertised, got SO MUCH space in my cabinet back. If you’re an avid tea bag drinker dealing with piles and piles of boxes in your cabinets, I can’t recommend this enough.

SET: I love games – board games, card games, and even recently video games. SET is a longtime favorite card game of mine. You look for “sets” of three cards that either have everything in common, or nothing in common. It’s a good brain teaser, and I like it because you can play it with someone or solo.

Coat Hook: We have three of these in our house now, and they’re exactly what I was looking for when I found them last year. It was surprisingly hard to find single hooks that were affordable! This hook is $1.88 and we hang additional coats on them in our coat closet, and I mounted one in my office to hang my blanket (forever cold) and work bag.

Boot Socks: A few years ago I ordered these on a lightning deal to give someone else, and ended up claiming a pair for myself. They’re soft, thick, so warm, and really cute. If I had any more space in my sock drawer, I’d order another set so I’d never run out between laundry.

Top Knot-Friendly Beanie: I’m not sure if this is a sign that I Have Given Up, but 99 days out of 100, my hair is just in a messy top knot on my head. That always resulted in me looking pretty silly during the winter, with my beanie half-off my head. I had a similar one from lululemon a few years ago, but the ghosts in my old apartment made off with it somehow, so I was pumped to find this one on Amazon for a super reasonable price!

Drawer Organizer: JosephJoseph has the best kitchen stuff – multi-functional, space saving, and fun. We had a weirdly narrow drawer in our kitchen, and I picked this organizer up after seeing it on Apartment Therapy for the 40th time. It’s a nice use of space that would otherwise have been junked.

Travel Infinity Scarf: This simple, classic infinity scarf would have been perfect when I was traveling non-stop. It features one inconspicuous pocket, big enough for a passport, some cash, and even my iPhone 8 (though that does weigh it down significantly.) I’ve taken to not carrying a purse with me much anymore, so this is a great help in freeing up my hands!

Foldable Duffel Bag: THIS BAG IS AAAAAMAAAAZING! It doesn’t look like much, but holy cow, it can hold a lot of stuff. I’ve used it on two week+ trips, and I don’t find myself struggling to edit or make room for things that don’t fit. It folds up into itself, so it makes a nice extra to throw in a bag on a trip you might shop on, and it’s so lightweight it doesn’t add any extra bulk. It’s become my favorite travel bag.

book club book reviews

Picture Ledge: In my old bedroom, I only had one nightstand, so on nights that my boyfriend would stay over, I wouldn’t have a surface to put my phone or a book on. Enter: the picture ledge. It’s a narrow width so it didn’t jut out (no headbanging in the middle of the night) but large enough to hold my phone, a book, and some other essentials like chapstick or lotion. I even stuck some fairy lights under it to serve as a reading lamp, and mounted a mason jar lid so I’d have a place to “put down” a glass of water!

What are some of your favorite products to make life easier? Have you tried any of these before?

January 17, 2019
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2018 gift guide: Chicago lover

Posted in Shopping, Travel by

2018 gift guide chicago gift ideas

It’s that time of year again! Holidays always seem to be the time of year where we feel totally stumped by the people we want to gift. Either they have everything, or they don’t “need” anything. Sometimes it’s a really nice gesture to take a deep look at the recipient’s personality and connect that to any gifts you want to give them. It’s a good tip to keep in mind year-round!

For travel lovers, it might be nice to help them pay homage to their favorite place. Since I love Chicago, that’s the theme of today, but many of these gifts are available for other cities and states as well. Let’s take a look!

Chicago Bears travel scarf: I have one of these Waypoint Goods travel scarves and I absolutely love it. I hear the Bears aren’t really something to be proud of, but there are plenty of other colors to choose from too! This cozy infinity scarf features a pocket big enough for your phone, cash, and earbuds. Carrying a purse has become such a burden, so I’ve pared down my everyday carry items to fit in this pocket, and I love it.

Chicago Skyline print: Local printers and artists at Foursided have my heart. This skyline print is my favorite, but there are tons of other options if you prefer a map motif, something more mid-century inspired, or want to pay tribute to the long-suffering Cubs.

CTA Stop Magnets: If you’re like me and live in everyday thankfulness for the vast CTA system, Transit Tees has the gifts for you! Tell your friends what line or stop is your favorite – Transit Tees makes magnets and pins for almost all of them. I got the boyfriend a Yellow line magnet as a housewarming present for the new house, so this is a great shop to keep in mind year-round!

Chicago Homesick Candle: Homesick Candles have been around for awhile, but I still totally love them. The Chicago scent hearkens Fannie May chocolates and the breezes from Lake Michigan. The Illinois version of the candle carries more floral scents.

Chicago Flashback: This book from the Tribune staff would be a great gift for a history buff. It not only showcases photos of our beautiful architecture, but also tells the stories of the builders and other notable Chicago residents.

Chicago Skyline Lego Set: Somehow, the older I get, the more I regress into enjoying Legos. I’ve always been freeform and abstract with mine, but this Chicago skyline set is really cool. My grandpa worked on the Sears Tower when it was being built, so it would be a fun homage to that. (And no, I will never call it the Willis Tower.)

Chicago-opoly: This fun Chicago-themed Monopoly-style board game would be a hit for me. I love attending and hosting game nights, and Monopoly is best suited for a long weekend because as everyone knows, it’s a marathon game! This is a great gift idea for someone you don’t know well, because the odds of them not liking fun is… well, pretty low.

Chicago-etched Whiskey Glass: I love these types of whiskey glasses. They’re well-made and the etched Chicago map makes it feel a little fancy.

How is holiday shopping for you? Do you find it difficult, or are you like me, finishing before Thanksgiving even hits?

November 19, 2018
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7 companies hiring work-from-home employees this month: may 2018

Posted in Career by

Memorial Day weekend is here! That long weekend-free stretch from January to the end of May is a struggle for me every year – by this point I’m definitely feeling the burnout, and I’m grateful for the refresh. If you’re looking to make a change in your career, you could use this extra time off and the vibes you’ll have after relaxing for a few days to work out your resume, write some awesome cover letters, and apply to some awesome new jobs! Fully distributed companies and teams continue to grow, and even traditional companies are seeing the benefits and offering more work-from-home positions. Here are a few to look into this month!

Part-Time Sales RepresentativeĀ atĀ Museum Hack: I’ve been really interested in Museum Hack for awhile – they offer “renegade” museum tours in cities across America, and their non-tour guide positions are all remote. If you’re looking for something part-time to supplement an existing job, or want to test the work-from-home waters, this position could be a great way to put your customer service skills to use!

Customer Success Manager at monday.com: When dapulse rebranded last year, they chose monday.com as their new company name, and I can’t help but wonder how much that domain name cost. They’re growing exponentially now, and looking for an MST/PST Customer Success Manager to cover their off-hours. The company is based in Tel Aviv, so this would essentially be an overnight coverage position. If you’ve got lots of experience in customer support, this autonomous position with a cool productivity SaaS could be for you!

Virtual Administrative Assistant at Modern Tribe: Virtual assisting has been a great side hustle choice for years, and if you want to transition into making it your full-time gig, Modern Tribe might be looking for you. They’re a digital marketing company that has worked on a ton of really creative projects (Tuniversity is my favorite) and they’re growing their Operations team.

Travel Guide forĀ WOW Air: Talk about a dream job. WOW Air is looking for someone to travel to each of the cities they service and write travel guides for the city. One of my life goals is to be published in an airline magazine, but I would never have thought about an option like this!

Tech Ladies is one of my favoriteĀ networking groups, and they have a really great job board as well! Join now to get access to networking events, webinars, and excellent job postings.

Recruiter atĀ Invision: Invision is a collaborative design app, and it’s used by a lot of leading companies. They’re looking for an HR recruiter to hire more engineers for their platform – this is a great opportunity for anyone with a background in SaaS HR and working with developers and engineers.

Analysts Relations Manager atĀ Gitlab: Gitlab is one of my favorite tech companies. They’re inclusive, diverse, and best of all, they’re very transparent about their hiring process. The Analyst Relations Manager will facilitate relationships with Gitlab influencers, research trends and manage outreach programs. Many bloggers participate in influencer programs, so this could be a way to apply the skills we’ve learned from blogging!

Communications Administrative Assistant atĀ 350.org: Passionate about climate change and the environmental crisis it’s causing? 350.org is a non-profit working toward awareness and research of this growing problem. If you’re looking to transition into communications, this is a great way to get your feet wet while using your customer service and organizational skills!

Are you looking for a new, remote job for the summer?

May 25, 2018
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monthly roundup no. 5: august 2017

Posted in Living by

It’s August. Are we serious?! How did this happen? I don’t understand the question and I won’t respond to it.

Meanwhile, Dani has been planning our autumn hygge for months. Frankly, I find it rude… but I’m a little ready for some PSL in my life. And those Michigan autumn leaves. Yes, please.

The last few weeks have been a bit of a struggle – dealing with some mental health stuff, trying to date (it’s awful, and I’m not going to do it again), and planning out the next few months of almost non-stop travel saw me needing some serious down time. Things that landed in my queue this month mostly revolve around travel, tech, mental health, and pizza… like that’s any surprise.

Strategies for Coping With Anxiety: Full disclosure: little self-promotion here, but I wouldn’t share it if I didn’t think it was relevant. I started working with If Me, an app that helps people share their stories with trusted allies, contributing to their blog. This was a very popular post on my own blog, so I thought it might be useful to share even more tips.

The Best Places for Females to Travel Solo: It turns out I had a whole pile of extra overtime to use up, so I’ve been thinking for the last two weeks about how I can use it up and where I can travel. Pile that on top of having recently readĀ What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman, and once again, travel is the only thing on my brain. I’ve really wanted to go on a solo trip for a long time, but I do worry about safety. I tucked this article away to consult in the future!

The Mighty Ducks Filming Locations: This might not be useful to anyone but me, but I booked a trip to Minneapolis in a few months, and you can bet I’ll be hitting up as many locations on this list as are still standing.

I Got Ghosted On by a Woman I Was Into. Do I Have to Move On?: I saw a dude, and I really liked him! A lot! And then we made plans to meet up, and he dipped out. So for a few days, naturally, I wallowed and read articles like this. But this did help me determine that he needed to be called out

Dress Code: A few weeks ago, I went to a meetup of Chicago-based bloggers. One girl was wearing bracelets she designed which have codes engraved in that unlock coding lessons online. I love the concept, and I want one badly – maybe as a reward for myself when I finally do go off to dev school.

Feels Like the Weekend: One of my Nashville buddies moved out to LA to act (he’s amazing!) and he’s in this Funny or Die sketch. It’s funny and almost too real… especially the family political views thing.

Quit Your Job And Live Abroad: 8 Places So Cheap You Might Not Need To Work: I’m not necessarily itching to dive into that ex-pat life just yet, but if there’s a place cheap enough to live without working, it’s probably a pretty inexpensive place to visit as well!

August 25, 2017
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