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Wednesday, September 26

The A-Z guide for Awesome Travel

Hello Lovelies!

It's no secret that I have a wanderers' spirit and that I fully enjoy the thrill of fumbling through a new city with old friends and new acquaintances. My sights often jump to the next adventure and the newest frontier. I say why not get out there? The world is simply filled to the brim with big and bigger possibilities and you will never be able to experience them if you never leave your own backyard.  

Explore. Travel. Learn. Go!

I've been learning a lot during my recent travels and would love to share with you my do's and don'ts related to all things traveling!  Within the past year I have found myself exploring the Philippines, Atlanta, Nigeria and California so why not give you the lowdown on getting the most out of your traveling experience? Not that I'm an expert (I've definitely had my fair share of meltdown moments, let's be real).  Even so, I love to exchange tips and tricks to make life just that tad bit easier so let's jump right in, shall we?

Allow time for getting lost. Think about what time you plan on arriving (anywhere) and add at least 30 minutes to it.
Budget for unexpected expenses in addition to the known costs of travel. Be realistic with yourself here. If you are a vacation shopoholic then don't just set aside $20 for the mall. You will go over.  If you are driving your car 2,000 miles to this new locale then budget for car repairs. Yes, a breakdown can and will happen to you. Sorry.
Clear your schedule before and after your trip. You will need a little more time than you think to prepare and you will need a little more time than you think to recover. Give yourself at least 2 days.
Determine who will be getting you to and from the airport before you leave. The last thing you want to do during your final days on the beach is to have to track down a friend for a ride home.
Empty full size products (think shampoo, conditioner, lotions etc) into travel sized containers that you can purchase at target or the drugstore.
Flexibilty is key! Stay loose and remember that you make plans and they WILL change. Things come up so learn to roll with the punches. Even after plan C fails, keep moving forward. (While your at it, apply this to your life).

Groups get discounts! Plus it's more fun to travel with the whole least until it's not so much fun anymore.
Have the basic OTC medications with you. Include antihistamine (even if you don't have allergies), cold and cough, pain relievers etc.
Invest in quality suitcases. Do you really want to end up with a broken handle on your overly stuffed rolling carry-on and therefore be forced to lug it in your arms all through the airport? I didn't think so.
Journal and take lots of photographs. You will want to remember all the awesome fun you're having.
Keep a stash of snacks with you at all times. Sometimes food on the run is too expensive or inaccessible. Have you ever heard of the term hangry? While traveling it can be easy to get so hungry you become angry...
Learn as much as you can about your destination before you jump on the plane. Ask friends, read publications etc. Of course it will be NOTHING like when you see it for yourself but it's great to at least have your bearings.

Make (and bring with you) copies of all your important travel documents. That includes reservations, itinerary, confirmations, passport and ID cards.
Never over plan your days. Leave space open for spontaneous adventures.
Organize spill-able items (perfume, nail polish, face wash etc) together in secure waterproof container like a Ziploc bag, lunch tote or a makeup bag with a liner.

Pack smart, but pack a little more than you think you need. This goes back to flexibility. What if you get invited to a nice dinner during your beach vacay but you only have shorts and tanks with you? What if gets uncharacteristically cold 4 nights in a row and you didn't pack any sweaters?? Be careful though, whatever you pack you will have to carry around.

Quench your thirst! Dehydration is one of the most common ailments of travelers and could lead to serious health problems. Carry a water bottle with you whenever possible.
Reserve the bling for a night out at home. Try not to travel with expensive or flashy jewelry as they attract thieves or could get lost.

Savor every moment and stay present. Before you know it you will be back on the daily grind missing those very moments.
Tuck a lightweight duffle bag into your suitcase to carry gifts or souvenirs. Luggage has a funny way of expanding on the way home.
Umbrella! Do not forget the umbrella!

Vary your activities. Try not to spend your whole trip hanging out in that one Starbucks down the street. Explore!
Workout regularly. Yes, this may take some discipline and creativity but taking care of your body will help you get the most out of your vacation. It will also limit the amount of damage control you have to do when you return.
X-ray etiquette? Avoid lace up shoes, too many layers, belts, too much jewelry or anything else that will slow you down in the security checkpoint.
Yearly. That's a minimum for how often I recommend spending time out of your own context and away from home. It doesn't need to be a five star European getaway. Even a weekend at an old friend's place can do wonders for the soul.
Zero in on authentic local food. Trust me, it's usually more delicious than the americanized version sold to tourists :)


Next stop, San Francisco in October! Where are you lovelies headed in the coming months? What is your ultimate dream destination? Comment below!

Love, S

Sunday, September 2



Let me tell you the awesome story that I just so happened to have predicted from the beginning.

Backstage with Carly Rae!

First, a benevolent benefactor gifts me and my friends with 9 VIP tickets to see Carly Rae at the La County Fair. So awesome! At that moment I just decided that I must definitely meet her and will surely be on stage. There was no way to be sure about this other than my own gut. I'm telling you people, I felt it! :)

Oh hey Carly!

Anyway, we get to the fair, have some classic fair food and make our way to the FRONT ROW of the concert in our handmade T-shirts.

Yes, 9 of us sported lyrics to the song 'Call Me Maybe" in neon puffy paint. No big deal. But to be honest, I wasn't initially on board with the whole 'let's make shirts idea' mostly because I'm waaay too cool for that (Joke!)  In the end it was out of my hands and I eventually got into it.

While we were waiting for Carly Rae to arrive I tweeted her, you know, just to let her know we were excited to see her, that we made these awesome shirts and that we would LOVE to get up on stage. Here's where it gets CRAZY. She actually retweeted that tweet and then she started following me on twitter !!! I told the crew that we were for sure going to meet her now! My friend later tweeted a picture of us all together in our shirts and Carly loved it.

This huge bouncer guy slyly comes up to us and whispers "Carly Rae wants you guys on stage for the last song. Don't react. I'll come get you when its time."  Life made.

Next thing we knew we were ON STAGE talking, dancing and singing with Carly Rae Jepsen!

How cool is that? So cool, right? I know! I even had a little solo on the mic :)
So she is totally a sweetheart and she totally made our night. I can't wait for her new album Kiss to come out.

Here's the first video, a little shaky and blurred but hey, what can you do? We found a much better video! I've added that one instead. woot! The internet is a beautiful thing.That girl third from the left who screeches 'so call me maybe' yeah, that's me. It's okay that I blew my first singing debut.

 How do you like my killer dance moves tho?? Triple threat, maybe?? Now to work on the 3rd threat...

Where you think you're goin' baby?!
Special thanks to all the lovely friends who made this night possible! A blast was definitely had. Cheers to the weekend :)

Don't forget to follow The Lovely Life

Love, S
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