Last year was a busy travel one for us, and while we weren’t on the road as often as some people are for work or recreation, it was the most we’ve ever traveled together in the course of 12 months. It seemed like we were on the road at least once a month for the latter half of the year, which challenged me to become more of an efficient packer, relying on wardrobe workhorses instead of packing items just for an outfit photo. Plus, it gave me ample time to home in on the travel accessories that make the journey more enjoyable and more efficient. Here are my top five:
- Vince sneakers – I wasn’t sure what to expect when I bought a pair of Vince sneakers late last year. Bloggers rave about them, but there’s always a real possibility it’s because of aesthetics and not comfort. I’m happy to report that these slip-on sneakers live up to the hype. They were comfortable right out of the box with no need for a break-in period and I’ve already worn them for countless miles of exploring cities.
- Packing cubes – Just like the Vince sneakers, everyone talks about how great packing cubes are, but you don’t really understand how great they are until you try them yourself. They’re a space-saving solution in your suitcase and they help keep everything organized. I love the preppy stripe on this Paravel set, but we actually have these and they do the job well. We also have one of these each and prefer them over the budget brand, but they all get the job done.
- Flight 001 adapter – We’ve been delighted with this four-in-one adapter that fits together to work in 150 countries.
- Bose noise-cancelling headphones – The ambient drone of an airplane never bothered me before Dave gave me these. I don’t think I realized how loud planes actually were until I was able to shut it all out and focus on my podcast without distractions.
- Belkin mini outlet strip – Maximize the best outlet location in your hotel room with this mini power strip. It even has two USB ports so you charge your phone and keep the outlets free. On international trips, we dedicate one of our adapters to keeping this plugged in because it’s just so handy to have.
We’re back from our short trip to Florida’s Gulf Coast! It’s been a few years since we’ve had a beach vacation, so when Dave’s parents rented a condo for the month of January, we jumped at the chance to visit for a long weekend. It was nice to get away from the dreary weather and indulge in sunshine-filled days, visits to nearby cities, walks along the coast, and afternoons in the pool. Now that we’re back, I’m looking forward to actually getting back into a routine with work, blogging, and the house. We had so much come up at the end of the year with travel and the holidays that I need to get back into a regular schedule, and I’m very much looking forward to sharing more in this space again!
- Banana Republic reissued Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent collar.
- How millennials became the burnout generation.
- This vegan chickpea and cauliflower curry soup sounds perfect for winter.
- Are you taking part in Apartment Therapy’s annual January Cure? It’s a great way to get your home organized for the new year, and offers motivation to tackle any neglected projects.
- How Rihanna became one of the most influential people in fashion.
- What it’s like to work as an online censor in China.
- How breast augmentation and liposuction procedures are evolving in 2019.
- The best Marie Kondo organization tips.
- This is the year I’m finally going to commit to eco-friendly shopping bags for grocery trips. These bags come in a set of five for just $14 and have great reviews.
Finds Under $50:
- How fun are these green acrylic hoops? They’re only $10!
- A ladylike bag with a snakeskin-embossed print.
- If you’re a fan of Cult Gaia’s wood earrings, snag these immediately. They’re on sale for just over $35 — a steal when the original price was $118.
- A knot detail gives this slim top a bit of sex appeal.
- I love the piped trim on this work-appropriate top.
- The texture on this porcelain bowl adds visual interest.
What You May Have Missed:
- I’ve got my eye on neutrals (and that bag on my wish list).
- On my radar this month.
- Morning walks along the Gulf Coast.
- We were upgraded to first class on our flight!
After posting my 2019 resolutions, I’ve been thinking about breaking things off into more manageable milestones and setting monthly goals. This month I’m going to exercise twice a week, continue to drink at least 64 ounces of water a day, finish replacing the sconces in the living room with these (in brass with this shade), and strip the paint from the hardware for at least one more door.
Saving … or rather not shopping. Just like last year at this time, I’ve found myself tired of spending money and in desperate need of a month-long spending freeze to get my finances back in order after the holidays. I already have so many things and there isn’t a lot that I truly need right now. Sure, I have some wish list items like a few boho blouses, this backpack, and a new black a-line skirt, but I’m taking the 31 days of January to research purchases rather than pull the trigger. It’s part of a larger goal I have for ’19 to be more intentional about how I spend my money. I’ll always love clothes and accessories, but I want to make sure that what I buy is something I’ll love for more than one season — and that wasn’t always the case last year. (The exceptions to this will be if we find a great deal on a spring trip to Europe, if I come across any fun vintage pieces while we’re in Florida next week, or if I find something to spend a holiday gift card on. Also, I’ll probably buy some storage containers for the next agenda item below.)
I mentioned recently that I was eager to watch You on Netflix, starring Penn Badgley. I watched the first season over the course of two days and loved it, even if I had a hard time seeing him as anyone other than Dan Humphrey.
How in the world do cabinets and closets get so messy?! And that’s not even taking into consideration the state of our basement and the fact that we have unopened boxes from when we moved in a year and a half ago. (Some of those are sentimental items or books that I want but don’t need out, but other boxes include things that don’t fit our aesthetic or lifestyle and should be donated.) I’m planning to do a deep clean and organization of these messier areas, and donate the things that aren’t useful or loved. My closet is the only space where I’ll hesitate to donate things immediately. I typically put unworn items in a box and let them sit for a year to see if I miss them, but it’s nice to get them out of the closet and make it easier to find the things that I do wear.
Did you see that Clinque is offering more choices for its Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion? The cult classic has remained virtually unchanged since its debut in 1968. Now, you can purchase cartridges for your lotion that target different skincare needs: uneven skintone; lines and wrinkles; irritation; pores and uneven texture; and fatigue. The add-on cartridge only increases the price of the lotion by $11, making it an affordable option when it comes to targeted skincare.
You may recall that I mentioned a new company, Basepaws, in this post. It’s basically a DNA test for cats that allows you insight into the breeds your cat is most closely related to. It also offers insight into genetic abnormalities that may lead to disease. The company sent me a kit to test Bacon’s DNA, which I’m pretty excited about. He’s a Bengal (or at least should be!), so that aspect of the test is probably more interesting to cats that aren’t purebreds, but I’m very much interested in what diseases he may have a predisposition for so we can be proactive in his care. Unlike animals such as mice and dogs, cat DNA isn’t heavily studied. As more people submit DNA for testing, Basepaws will be able to compile more comprehensive results about your cat and will continue to send updates as more research is done.