A Travel Tote – What I Carry

I never caught onto the hype that the Louis Vuitton Neverfull makes for a good travel bag.  Some Youtubers rave that this is a good travel bag, but I’m not so sure.  I mean yeah if you’re going on a day trip and driving then I guess the Neverfull makes for a great stylish bag.  However, when flying this bag would drive me crazy since there’s no zipper to it.  I like my tote bag to be stowed under the seat in front of me so I can have access to my stuff without being subject to the seat belt sign.  That’s why I prefer traveling with my Longchamp Le Pliage tote in size large because it has a zipper which prevents things from falling out should random turbulence occur.  I also like that the bag is nylon so there’s no need to baby it especially if caught under a downpour or if accidental spills happen inside the bag.

Main Image - Longchamp 'Large Le Pliage' Tote

So what do I like to keep in my tote and why I want it to be zippered and secure for most of the time?  A bunch of things:

  1. A bottle of water or sweet tea in case I feel the need to drink more fluids on the plane.
  2. Since discovering skincare, I now pack travel skincare.  I like to keep these items close to me in case of spillage.  More importantly, I like having a face mist easily accessible.
  3. Passport (if traveling abroad)
  4. Wallet
  5. Keys
  6. Makeup bag
  7. Scarf  (after the flight I like to put my scarf away)
  8. Snacks

In my opinion and generally speaking, zippered totes provide a layer of defense against theft.  With the Neverfull, thieves can easily bump into you and who knows maybe reach into your unsecured bag and take something.

Recently, I found this bag from Henri Bendel called the Jetsetter Soft Tote that’s just as stylish as the Longchamp Le Pliage bag.  There’s also the possibility of putting a monogram on this bag, so this would make for a great grad gift for the wanderlust.  Right now there’s a sale happening on their website and the deal is a free monogram in addition to 20-25% off.

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If a more leather look suits your style, then Madewell has a vegan leather zippered tote option with a crossbody handle for arms free carrying. This can also be monogrammed.

Main Image - Madewell Zip Top Transport Leather Carryall

And if totes are not your style, there’s a backpack alternative from Dagne Dover pictured below.

There’s also this Longchamp backpack that’s really cute, but definitely not as big as the items shown above.  I’m thinking of getting this backpack in the near future because it looks perfect for day trips to the amusement park, for sightseeing, and also great for running errands around town don’t you think?

Main Image - Longchamp 'Le Pliage' BackpackMain Image - Longchamp 'Le Pliage' Backpack

For travelers out there, what stylish bags do you like to carry with you?





Finding a Balance to Accumulating Stuff

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Ever since I read that article, from Allure.com, on “How Much the Average Woman Spends on Makeup in Her Life,” I want to change my own situation so I don’t end up spending a bunch of money on makeup or mindlessly shop for things I think I need but really don’t.  I definitely have goals to invest, to fund my retirement, to travel, and to be licensed in my profession.  All these things cost money, and thus, I should keep my spending in line with my goals.

Thankfully, makeup, skincare, and hair care can last for up to 1-2 years. This year will be a high buying year for said items and at some point will stop once I figure out what I like and what will work for summer and winter months.  Then I can just stock up on refills. This happened to me with clothing and shoes where I just bought a bunch of stuff in the last few years.  I experimented with my style, regretted quite a bit of purchases, purged a lot of clothing from my closet, and eventually found my style.  At the beginning of this year, I gave myself a goal to not buy clothes until June of this year.  Well I’m happy to report that I’ve kept to my word.  I’m stoked for my discipline that I thought to extend my ban until September.  However, I think I can extend my ‘no clothing’ ban until January of 2019, because really, my closet doesn’t need anything new at the moment.  I also think I’ve reached a satisfactory point with my beauty collection except I’ve gotten into eye shadow palettes lately, and I’m sort of obsessed with them.  I’m still playing around with makeup and at some point I’ll get to a stopping point.  But I’m glad I can keep my shopping aligned with my goals so I’m not frivolously throwing money to the wind.

Thus, with all said and done, finding a balance is important to achieving goals.  We’re not all well off to just buy what we please.  We need to budget, sacrifice, and have patience until we can afford our purchases.  Don’t you think?  So I say rotate spending so one year is all about clothes and shoes, and then the next on makeup.

Companion Fare with Alaska Airlines

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Anyone else a card holder with Alaska Airlines?  It’s about that time of year for when my companion fare renews.  It hasn’t yet, but I’m looking out for when it does because I’ve been thinking about where to travel next and have a few places lined up.  I’m not sure yet but if the cards align and within Alaska Airlines’ flight route, I’d like to use the companion fare ticket for me and my husband to go to one of the following places:

  1. Vancouver, Canada – I had a short visit once 10 years ago, but would like to explore a bit more in nice weather.  So if my husband and I were to go, we’d think about going in October.
  2. Costa Rica – I’d love to visit sometime in January or February just to get away from the cold for a bit.
  3. Toronto, Canada –  I’ve always wanted to see Niagara Falls and I feel like it’s drivable from Toronto as a day trip.
  4. Maui – Haven’t gone to this island yet and would love to explore it.
  5. New York, New York – I would like to explore Manhattan more especially in the fall.  It just seems more of a romantic time of year for a visit.

Where would you go?

Goodbye Austin

Welp Goodbye Austin! We really enjoyed the laid back atmosphere of this city. We enjoyed the barbecue (didn’t stand in line for Frank’s though), shopped a lot of Whole Foods, and just appreciated the kind and courteous locals.

Would I recommend staying for a week? Only if you’re staying in a nice air bnb with a bunch of friends or family, if you have timeshare, or if your hotel is in downtown. I say this because Austin is a small city and you can probably see most of it in a day or two. You’ll want some cool digs to hang out in or else you may get bored and homesick.

The city is very walkable. There’s also public transportation if you want to get around to the outer parts of town. However, the easier option would be to rent a car and drive. At least this way you’re not limited to just the downtown area. The cool thing about staying in Austin is its proximity to San Antonio and Waco. Both are about a 90 minute drive away, and we all know who’s in Waco. Chip and Jo of course! I really wanted to check out their new restaurant, but we never got a chance to go. So for those who are huge fans just know they are a short drive away!

How I Plan and Budget for Trips

I pretty much research the heck out of the destinations I want to visit.  Pinterest is a very helpful tool for this, and just recently I discovered vlogs on Youtube.  It’s also another great resource for planning but with vlogs they don’t really show the full extent of the travel experience.  There’s still things to think about like how to get to the airport, when to leave, and best practices for going through airport security.

But before thinking about anything else I first establish a budget.  I’m a planner so I don’t really do last minute trips.  In actuality my obligations and my husband’s obligations won’t let us do anything on a whim.  Instead we have to plan and then we also save for things like our plane tickets, car rental, and hotel stay.  Other things to think about would be a daily food budget.  It’s quite easy to get carried away while on vacation so setting limits help curb overspending.  It doesn’t help that we love trying new foods and new food trends.  For this I use Yelp to research which restaurants have the most reviews and then decide to add it to our list of ‘must try’ or not.

How we pack: We only do carry-ons if we fly.  It’s easier and feels more secure knowing that our bags are with us at all times.  If we do a road trip, then it’s a whole different story.  We pretty much pack whatever we want.

How we get to the airport: We drive and then pay for overnight parking because it pretty much costs the same as taking a taxi to the airport and back.

What I wear to the airport:  I’ve read that for ladies, avoid lots of bobby pins in your hair, wearing lots of jewelry, and a maxi skirt.  With that said, I pretty much show up to the airport showered, with no makeup on, in comfy sneakers, leggings, a long shirt, and a jacket for the cold plane.  Also, I make sure to buy water before boarding the plane because cabin pressure is no joke.  I’ve gotten a migraine from it and realized it was because of dehydration.

Vacation activities:  I’ll do some research and try to see if there’s anything on Goldstar or similar sites offering discounted activities.  For Chicago, we bought the Chicago City Pass and it pretty much saved us some time not having to stand in long lines.  We also did this when we went to Paris and got the Paris Museum Pass.  We bypassed lines, got into attractions quite easily, and also saved some money.

Sites used to research vacation destination: Pinterest, Youtube, Yelp, and Google search.