Aug 27, 2013

Life Got In the Way

I've been back for a week-and-a-half and still haven't done any posts about the trip.  This is unsettling because I'm afraid I'll forget the little details.  Alas, life got in the way.

Stay tuned!

Aug 16, 2013


We're back... safe and sound and suffering pretty intense jet lag.  The trip was amazing!  I have lots to share.

I was not a fan of the miniature Bluetooth keyboard I purchased especially for the trip.  It was tough to type on and didn't have a right-side shift key (WTH?!).  Add in spotty Wi-Fi and it's no surprise that I didn't update from the road.

I kept pretty good notes, though, so I'll be back tomorrow to begin over-sharing all the little details.

Jul 18, 2013

One more day. ONE MORE DAY!

We're leaving on Saturday.  It's finally here!  It feels surreal but time, as always, just keeps going.

The truth is... I'm exhausted.  Five hours of sleep per night for the past week has caught up to me.  There's been too much to do, too much to think about.

Today was my last day of work for a month.  I just barely got everything done and I was even a little late getting out of the office and was almost late for an evening doctor's appointment (last-chance allergy shots).  Talk about stressful.

I have a to-do list a mile long.  I'm not sure how I'm going to get it all done.  I have a full day tomorrow to tie up loose ends around here but I have a physical therapy appointment tomorrow morning (hopefully my final follow-up on a shoulder injury from twelve weeks ago) and then a loooong hair appointment for a color and cut.  I won't have a lot of time to get things done so I'll be running around like a madwoman.

Our friend and her family are housesitting for us while we're away.  So, of course, that means the house has to be in order: the sheets on all beds changed, floors vacuumed, everything dusted, all laundry done (we don't want dirty laundry sitting around festering for a month), etc.

My last entry was posted using the Blogger app.  I'm not too excited about it.  As you can see, I added photos but there's no way to re-size or arrange them in the app.  They turned up in the post huge!  They can't be captioned, either.

I bought a miniature wireless Bluetooth keyboard for the trip to use with my phone with the intent of keeping a travel journal.  Not sure if I'll still do that or just make entries with the Blogger app or what.  I'll have to play that by ear.

If I don't post from the road, I'll be back once I return and lots to share.  Look for articles about traveling with kids, how to survive a long flight, fun things to do with kids in Europe, my final capsule wardrobe and how it worked out for me, plus many others.

Unless I stop in here via wi-fi connection, I'll see you again August 15th or thereabouts.

Jul 17, 2013

Testing Blogger's mobile app

Never mind me... Just testing out my newly downloaded blogger mobile app.

I'm including a couple photos from last weekend's awesome Portugal The Man concert.

If I like this interface, I'll blog on the road.  Fingers crossed.

Jul 14, 2013

Traveling with Nutritional Supplements

6 days and counting.....

Tonight I divvied up my nutritional supplements.  I take 6 different daily supplements.  (Hi, I'm 42, not 82!)  Bottles eat up a huge amount of precious packing space.  The solution?  Transferring them into snack-size zip top bags.

Jul 12, 2013

European Capsule Wardrobe (Take 1) Plus Packing List

I planned to do a mock pack job today on my day off work but Gümby was home vomiting with a tummy bug.  She even had to miss her preschool graduation ceremony tonight, which was heartbreaking.  Lots of crying and sadness.

Jul 9, 2013

Staying Connected During International Travel

I've been driving myself a bit nuts trying to figure out how I was going to stay connected with family and friends while in Europe.  This might be old news to most people but the last time we traveled internationally, cell phones were not commonplace.  Crazy to think that was just 10-1/2 years ago!  How times have changed.

Jun 30, 2013

Let's Talk Travel Cost

I'm having serious sticker shock over the cost of our upcoming Europe trip.  When we decided to take this trip (4 weeks in 4 countries for 2 adults & 2 children) I figured it was going to cost around $10,000.  The truth is the reality is likely double that.

London Hotels Booked

Holy mackerel, London is expensive!  Since August is prime vacation month for Europeans, it has also been tough finding vacancies.  I'm happy to say that I finally found two hotels that are reasonably priced and with good reviews.  Mind you, this was a huge feat!  The basic budget hotels were at least $250 per night.  For tiny hotel rooms and microscopic bathrooms.  Some of the reviews I was reading were a bit... concerning.  I read one review that said a hotel inserted a pre-fab bathroom like you'd find in a motor home into the room's closet and that you couldn't close the door if you sat on the toilet.

Jun 27, 2013

Our New Luggage and Packing Cubes Are Awesome

Remember how we bought all new luggage for our Europe trip?  Well, we are loving it!

We had a chance to use it during our recent Disneyland trip.  I packed enough for 4 days.  The kids' luggage was perfect for them and held everything with room to spare.  The only thing I didn't like was that Crumpet's suitcase didn't have any exterior pockets.

Please forgive the photos.  They were taken at midnight... in bad lighting... with my phone... while I was furiously packing so that I could get to bed.

Travel Underwear Review

Remember how I bought some synthetic Gillian & O'Malley undies at Target a few weeks ago?  They did not work out.  Maybe it was the cut but they rode up my butt and/or caused impressive panty lines.  I bought two pairs but after wearing and disliking one pair, I returned the other pair.

I bit the bullet and bought the pricey Ex Officio travel undies that everyone was raving about.  Oh yes I did!  Since I wasn't about ready to pay $22 per pair, I luckily found discounts on  I bought 2 pairs in nude and 1 pair in white grape (a light pinkish purple color).

I bought my usual size medium.  They run large; I could have/should have gone with a size small.  Oh well.

I packed them for the Disneyland trip and wore a pair 2 out of the 3 days we were there.  I wasn't too impressed.  They feel great on, very lightweight, but... um... my very-closely-trimmed hair would sometimes get caught in the fibers.  It wasn't painful, just annoying.  I wonder if it has something to do with them being slightly too large.

As a result, I've decided that I'm going to bring both 100% cotton undies and synthetic Ex Officio undies to Europe.

On Being My Own Travel Agent

Today I'm recovering from the flu so I thought it would be a great time to catch up on some posts.

Our travel agent sent us her hotel itinerary last weekend.  Holy smokes, talk about expensive!  4 nights in Paris for $1,370?  2 nights in Munich for $621?  And the kicker: 3 nights in London for $1,542?


Jun 21, 2013

Our Draft European Itinerary

I haven't been able to comment about the trip because there was nothing to report.  This is the first trip we're using a travel agent and our experience has been really shoddy.  Long story there, full of broken promises to deliver, but I'll just say that we fired our travel agent on Tuesday.

We now have a new travel agent and she is awesome!  In just one day she's finalized 90% of the reservations for hotels and trains.  Wow!  I love her.

Jun 13, 2013

More Disneyland Resort Tips

Be sure to read my original post "How to Maximize Your Time in Disneyland" first if you haven't already.

I thought I would update my tips about making the most of your time in Disneyland after our most recent trip (June 2-4, 2013).  Without a doubt, the most important tip for getting the most bang for your buck is to make sure you arrive at opening time.

Jun 10, 2013

Disneyland Recap

We survived!  3 days straight in Disneyland Resort and I'm still recovering 5 days later, which is why I've been MIA.  It was certainly tiring but we had lots of fun!

Every day since returning, Gümby has been announcing, "I love Disneyland" and "I want to go back to Disneyland."

May 31, 2013

Finding A Pair Of Cute and Comfortable Sandals Should Not Be This Hard

After several weeks, I finally have a pair of black sandals that meet my feet's finicky requirements.  It was not easy.  I needed black sandals I could walk all day in without pain and that would look good with skirts and dresses.  I specifically needed these sandals for Disneyland and Europe.  But the requirements didn't stop there.  My feet have needs.  I cannot tolerate things between my toes, I need an ankle strap, and I need a slight heel.

May 28, 2013

Chocolate Chia Pudding

As you already know, I am newly infatuated with chia seeds.  There is a recipe on the back of the Trader Joe's chia seeds I bought last week so I decided to give it a whirl.
It's no-cook and has just 4 ingredients.  What's not to love??!

May 25, 2013

Weekend Links

What I'm loving this week:

Surprising study shows moderate-fat Mediterranean diet is significantly healthier than reduced-fat diet at One Medical Group

How your marriage can thrive even in the busyness of life at Scream-Free Institute

A Guide to Becoming Unbusy at Becoming Minimalist.  I'm going to try to make a habit of responding to the question of "how are you?" with "fine" or "good"... or really anything other than "busy".

Lana Del Rey's Born to Die

The Great Gatsby movie soundtrack

Have a wonderful Memorial Day holiday!

May 23, 2013

Trader Joe's Chia Seeds

While I was doing my weekly shopping in Trader Joe's earlier this week, I noticed small bags of chia seeds on the shelves next to the oatmeal and granola bars.  I had vague recollections of friends discussing their health benefits.  Right on the bag it said:
6g of fiber
2.9g Omega 3
Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia [Seeds]
3g protein

May 22, 2013

International Travel Luggage Purchased!

I wrestled for weeks with the luggage dilemma.  Do I buy rolling wheels, swivel wheels, or convertible backpack style?  And what about the kids: rolling or backpack?  And are they old enough to be accountable for their own luggage in crowded airports and train stations?

In the end, I decided to go with a convertible backpack style.  The biggest reason for this was because I will be flying back from Europe solo with the kids.  In case they wimp out and/or melt down, I'll need to have both hands free to handle their luggage.

We're doing carry-on luggage only.

May 21, 2013

Travel Overpacking: Lessons Learned

I've been looking at photos from my 1995 Europe trip.  I spent 10 days as an exchange student in Bavaria, Germany then 10 days sightseeing solo in Austria, Switzerland, France, and Holland in late June and early July.

I was explicitly told to bring hiking boots and sleeping bag for the educational exchange.  So, what else did I bring?

May 14, 2013

Planning My Capsule Wardrobe, Part 1

I've already started purchasing necessities for our Europe trip in mid July.  I believe it's better to spend $500 spread out over 2 months rather than right before the trip when there's already a lot of money moving out of the bank account, i.e. I can more easily absorb the expense.

Since we're traveling solely with carry-on luggage, we'll be packing light.  Everything I've been reading says to pack for 5 days whether you're traveling 5 days or 5 months.  Anything over 5 days and you'll have to do laundry.  However, Laundromats in Europe are supposedly very expensive.  Plus, I'm not convinced we'll be able to easily find one when we need one.  To alleviate Laundromat worry, I'm now thinking it will just be easier to pack a bar of laundry soap and a large poly mailer and wash clothes myself in the hotel room, then hang to dry.

May 13, 2013

7 Ways to Survive Stress

Extreme stress.  Have you experienced it?  You feel so stressed out you feel like you're going to explode or have a nervous breakdown.  You can't sleep.  Your stomach is upset and you don't have much of an appetite.  You are moody.

This type of stress is usually situational.  You may have an intense deadline, lost a job, are going through a break-up or divorce, or have lost a loved one.

The following 7 tools can help you get through your most stressful days:

May 8, 2013

Maximize Your Time in Disneyland

We are heading to the happiest place on earth in three weeks and can't be more thrilled!  Our last trip to Disneyland was in August 2011, when Crumpet was 7 years old and Gümby was 3.  That trip was the first Disneyland trip where we used my newfound "Divide & Conquer" method - it was a big hit!  I was amazed at how much we could see in just two days at Disneyland Resort during peak season (August).

May 7, 2013

Miffed at Arcane Legends

I just spent an unreasonable amount of time fixing my son's tablet software for his beloved Arcane Legends game.  Okay, nearly 3 hours but who's counting?!

He's been unable to play his favorite game for the past week.  He's been seeking solace in the Arcane Legends game he downloaded onto my cell phone (why did I approve that?!) in the meantime.

The Beginning

Hello again!  It's been 14 years since I started my first blog (called an online diary back then) and 6 years since I've written in it.  It's sadly growing cobwebs over in Diaryland land.

Why start another now?  Well, most importantly, I miss writing.  I miss the focus and insight it allowed... and I feel like I've lost a little piece of myself by giving it up.  Writing is one of my first loves.  I've been writing since my early elementary school years.  I remember my teachers asking for, say, 2 pages of creative writing; I'd turn in 8.  I loved making up stories and with as much detail as possible.

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