[Traveling Tales] Packing The Perfect Weekender Bag

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“He who would travel happily must travel light.”
―  Antoine de St. Exupery

My entire life, I’ve been inexplicably drawn to the buzz and twinkle of neon lights and the industrial landscape of the heart of the city much like a bee to honey. The hustle and bustle of determined personalities paired with the high octane energy of any metropolitan area are enough to make my heart swoon – but lately, I’ve had this indescribable itch for whimsical wanderlust and awe inspiring adventure that I just have to scratch.  When I stop and think about the last few years of my life, each and every season – or more accurately, almost each and every month – consisted of a major, multi day camping music festival in some far away location.  From driving down the Pacific Coast to gallivanting to Arizona’s Gem and Jam Festival and all the adventures in between, I now have a handy list of the best iOS apps for roadtrips and some nifty tricks to help book your fun filled getaway.

Fast forward to now, and though I feel I’ve outgrown (most of) my need for festivals, I’ve held onto my insatiable urge to delve into the depths of nature and really explore the beauty that surrounds me. Cathartic and soothing, the open road and traveling tales have slowly but surely have evolved into two of my favorite things.  Some trips end up being more well planned, while others seem to happen at the spur of the moment – but either way they’re spun, it’s finally ingrained in my brain how important having the perfect weekend bag is.  Whether you’re roughing it in the great outdoors or heading to a new metropolitan area for the weekend, I’ve found a fool proof list to pack quickly and efficiently for your impending vacation.

necessities

Wearables

Though we might not have traditional seasons in California – What is Winter, anyways? – we definitely have Fire Seasons, and each day can bring a huge swing in weather.  It’s always smart to query a site like Weather Underground or the like so you can get a more accurate scope of the upcoming forecast, just in case a surprise storm comes through.If you’re heading into the great outdoors, just remember – you’ll probably get dirty, make sure you don’t mind the clothes you bring coming back dirty as well. 

 In case of a heat wave, a swimsuit and towel are a must – and a pair of polarized or rose colored shades makes it an unbeatable trifecta. I’ve always thought it’s better to be prepared than sorry, so make sure you bring some warmer layers along for the trip – including a lightweight hoodie and a heavyweight jacket for cold spells; bonus points for mittens, a scarf , beanie – or my personal go-to: my spirit hood.   I always find it easier to layer when I have tank tops underneath, but you do you. Add in a pair of pants and either shorts or a skirt for each day, and double the amount of underwear and socks as the number of days you’re gone. (if you’re camping, potentially even triple – there’s just nothing better than a clean pair of socks and underwear after a long, sweaty day romping around in the best nature has to offer.) Last but definitely not least, make sure you have a comfortable pair of walking shoes with good tread, a pair of flip flops – and maybe a pair of boots or snow shoes to round out your footwear.  

Entertainment

Though I’m sure you’ll be heading out into the great beyond with your squad, that’s not to say you won’t find some down time – or even alone time. Beyond having ‘regular’ luggage, I try to always have a fun bag of things that I enjoy keeping near me at all times while on vacation, including a camera to capture the memories, a portable speaker to share the jams and a pair of headphones in case you just need a little lullaby to send you off to sleep for a midday siesta.  I always try to have a book on me because you never know what downtime you’ll find yourself in, but if you’re on the more artistic side – bring a journal and a set of colored pens or pencils, and get the whole gang in on some creative action.  Everyone loves toys so toss in a deck of cards, a football or volleyball (bonus points if it glows in the dark), and if you delve in the art of flow toys it’s the perfect occasion to bust out your poi, hoop or set of lights.

Toiletries

Last but certainly not least, the bathroom bag.  It’s so necessary, and chances are – if you’re like me – you always forget something important!  So, I’ve developed a top to bottom method where I literally start at the top of my head and work down to think about what I need to take.  When it comes to packing a parcel of toiletries, remember – travel sizes and sample sizes are your friends!  If you head to a motel or hotel, don’t forget to stock up! 😉

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The Short List:

Wearables: Multiply the following items of clothing by the number of days you’ll be gone

  • Tank Tops x 2
  • Hoodie
  • Jacket
  • Extra warmth: Scarf | Beanie | Spirit Hood
  • Pair of pants
  • Pair of shorts or a skirt
  • Underwear x 2
  • PJs
  • Socks x 3
  • Sneakers
  • Flip Flops
  • SpiritHood

Entertainment

  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Sunglasses
  • Deck of cards
  • Cell Phone Charger
  • Camera
  • Portable Speaker
  • Headphones
  • Passport / ID / Wallet
  • Flow Toys
  • Fun Read

Toilettries

  • Hair brush
  • Hair ties
  • Eye glasses and/or Contacts + Solution
  • Ear Plugs
  • Tissues
  • Toothpaste + Toothbrush
  • Floss
  • Face Wash
  • Wash Cloth
  • Chapstick
  • Deoderant
  • Sunscreen or Lotion with SPF
  • Prescription Medication
  • Ibuprofen
  • Bonus Points: Midol – for the guys out there, the extra kick of caffeine helps with hangovers!

One last amazing thing that I’ve recently discovered is that Google Maps can be taken offline, so if you’re conserving your phone battery or you find yourself in a desolate area without service – never fear, the directions are here!  Gas Stations are your friend, and will more often than not keep you from peeing all along the highway and marking your proverbial territory….plus, yano, snacks and stuff. Even if you don’t think you’re hungry, snag some energy bars and water – you never know when the urge will strike!

What are your tried and true roadtrip tips?

Let me know in the comments below!

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.”
― Jack Kerouac ―

[Life Hacks] Moving On Up

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There are thousands of reasons to move, but only one important one: you. It sounds selfish, but who else is going to make your adult life their priority?  Whether it’s a new job, a new development in your relationship or your lease is expiring and you have the itch to jump neighborhoods, a move is (or should be) 110% about what’s good for you as an individual; I know mine is.After I graduated from UCSB in ’08, I had an executive decision to make: apply to grad school and pursue a career based on my field of study, or listen to that voice in my head that’s never stopped dreaming.  So I packed up my troubles and followed my heart to LA, which led to an incredibly hectic, and admittedly not very well thought out, move to my first apartment in Koreatown by myself.  And please believe – I say that not to harp on myself, but because I should have had more of a plan. Between my lack of income and unfamiliarity with the city, it might not have been the best choice – but it did a beautiful job of reminding me to define my intentions and embrace the reasons why I live my life. Every damn day, I wake up blessed that I listened to that small tinge of inspiration that I’ve always held onto, because it’s brought me exactly where I am today and I couldn’t be any happier.

As I prepare for fourth move in five years I have a snazzy mental inventory that I can refer to –  I know what I love having around (people, amenities like bars, markets and a gym within walking distance, and last but definitely not least freeways) what I’m willing to deal with (like volume, messiness and a general level of respect), what I’d like to avoid and what I really consider a priority (my relationships, my profession, etc) – 

 Work Life: Even though I do most of my work from home, one of the perks to my move is the decreased travel time to the office.  Because it’s Los Angeles, it doesn’t make sense to give you the mileage so just know that currently – the drive time ranges from 30-50 minutes depending on traffic, and the second I move that’ll drop down to a mere 15 minutes. Oh, yes!

Social Circle: The majority of my social circle resides out of Southern California and is mostly scattered up the Western Coast of the United States; but for the friends that I do still have in Los Angeles, most of them are living pretty on the East Side of town and I cannot wait to join them!

Love Life:  First things first, I’ve never lived with a significant other; this is the first time my love life has evolved to the point that it simply makes sense to live together.  We spend pretty much every waking moment together, and lately we’ve both felt like we just have a really well furnished storage unit on the other side of town.  Don’t get me wrong, it was all fun an games until we factored in travel time and traffic.  Los Angeles is one of the few places where you can actually be in a long distance relationship with someone who lives in the same city as you, and I can’t wait til we start a new chapter in the relationship.

Moving is like an earthquake: you can prepare, prepare and prepare for it but there’s simply nothing as chaotic or physically draining as an actual move.  So here are a few tips to help =)

(1) Before things start getting crazy, review your lease and get your “30 Days Notice” to your landlord ASAP to ensure a seamless exit

(2) If possible, try and get a small overlap of time where you have both places; moving out and moving in are a lot less stressful if they don’t happen simultaneously

(3) Consider the pets – are you combining furry, four legged families? If so, get a strategy together for how the animals will get acquainted.  Another idea to consider is shampooing or deep cleaning the carpets to get any layers of pet hair out before you bring more in.

(4) Submit your change of address form to USPS to get the mail moving to your new abode

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(5) Color code your furniture so you know what’s moving, what’s getting stored and what you can toss; personally, I’m a huge fan of the Stoplight method

(6) Give your closet a heavy dose of reality and finally get rid of those capris/bellbottoms/high-waisted shorts/crop-top that you one time could have worn to that strange party but you never did so now it’s just staring at you with an ostentatious look, taking up precious closet space.   Limit the nostalgia items to five or fewer and get into the groove of getting rid of things – it’s good for the soul, I swear!  I love donating mine to friends, because at least I can still get some vicarious enjoyment out of the object, but if you’re feeling adventurous – try your hand posting your duds on Tradsey for some serious cash.

(7) Whether you’re moving with friends, or in with a significant other, take a few moments to make the new place your own.  Maybe that means hanging up brightly colored tapestries, or covering the fridge with drawings from friends – either way, make sure you put your mark on your spot, both early and boldly.

(8) Last, but certainly not least, get lost.  Maybe not literally, but take some time out of your day and explore the neighborhood – find a new bar, some yummy hole in the wall food, an art gallery or a park fit for a picnic; you never know what’s just around the corner!

My New Hood
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Our fridge is an ode to our creative friends; I love it.