Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

13 things I’ve learned from International Travel | Travel Tuesday

Sometimes you just need to channel James Bond at the Eiffel Tower

Sometimes you just need to channel James Bond at the Eiffel Tower

After traveling around for a bit, you tend to learn a thing or two about this world of ours. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to travel and learn and grow and become who you really are.

For those of you who are new to this space, I began traveling when I was about 12, first with a short trip of a few weeks to Mexico. After that, I was hooked. Read more about my travels here.

I’ve decided for today’s Travel Tuesday post I’m going to share my top 13 things I’ve learned from International Travel.

1. There’s a difference between travelers and tourists. Tourists are there for the pictures and the attractions. Travelers are there for the experience and to learn. That doesn’t mean that travelers don’t have their tourist moments, of course.

2. Moving slower and taking things down a notch won’t negatively impact you, or your work. Working faster does not always mean working better. It’s ok to slow life down a little.


3. Most people in the world are basically kind. In every country. It’s not difficult to find a nice person anywhere in the world.

4. Other countries don’t hate America. Or Americans. They probably don’t care. And no, you don’t have to tell them you’re from Canada.

5. Mean people are generally unhappy. Happy people are kind.

6. You don’t actually need a 50 pound suitcase. Travel backpacks are the best. “Things” and 30 changes of clothes are entirely overrated. A few staple items can go a long way.

7. Homesickness is ok sometimes. It happens. Your heart will get spread all over the world as you travel, and sometimes the place you feel homesick for the most won’t be where you came from.

8. Flexibility when it comes to plans and hand signals will get you a lot further than a set itinerary and not attempting to communicate with someone because of their language

9. Learn more languages. At least learn a few phrases in the language of the place you are spending time in.

10. An open mind goes further than an open wallet.

11. Don’t be afraid to go it alone. Solo travel will allow you to have complete spontaneity with your plans and learn a lot about yourself. I could write a post all in itself about this point. In fact, maybe I will.


12. You are capable of so much more than you think. Little by little, push yourself out of your comfort zone.

13. “This too shall pass” is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. As bad as things may seem, or as grand as they may seem, they will pass. You will get through. Always. Be grateful for the good times.


2008 and 2011. Your friends will be there through growth and change.


Travel Tuesday

5 Top Tips to Staying Organized.

Staying Organized


In this busy life, it’s easy to get behind on things and let some important dates or duties get a little neglected. Right now, as I’m working full time, living with my boyfriend, doing pre-work for Teach for America, and getting ready to move across the country to a whole new life, things are about as busy as they come.

It would be easy enough to throw my hands up and allow myself to feel overwhelmed by all the paperwork, packing, and big decisions I’m having to make right now, but thanks to being busy throughout college I’m more comfortable like this and have found a fool-proof system to keeping everything organized.

Number 1- Write things down. Above all else, write down all your to-do’s and tasks and important dates. I use both a planner and notebook, some people prefer one or the other. Whatever you do, just be sure that it makes sense for YOU.

  • Pros to a planner: Everything has its precise place, laid out to separate each day, often has notes sections for things that don’t quite fit
  • Pros to a notebook: More creative, draw, journal, doodle in whatever you want to keep or remember. Easier to write out snippets of blog post ideas.

Number 2 Carry your notebook/planner with you. Everywhere. I used to be the girl that left her planner at home. Not anymore! You best believe that baby is with me at work, out shopping, and in my purse on a daily basis. You never know when something will come up that you need to get down or remember or when you’ll get that uneasy feeling that you forgot to do something. If it’s with you, whip it out and check it!

This has also come in handy for me in a job interview. They asked how I stayed organized, and I was able to pull out my planner and show them! (Yep, I got the job)

Number 3– Color Coding. This is important. This keeps your work things separate from your cat (or kid) things and your friend things and your appointments. Some people don’t like colors, but they make me happy in addition to keeping me organized.

Color Coding

Number 4- Eliminate Clutter. This is one of my biggest things. Keeping my apartment clean helps to keep my head cleared of clutter as well. If things are messy around my home, they probably are in the rest of my life too, haha. I try to do a little cleaning every day (run a load of dishes, sort laundry, etc.) and then on the weekends I do a more thorough job of cleaning the floors, bathroom, kitchen, whatever needs it. Doing a little at a time helps me keep from feeling overwhelmed by messes and helps keep my house consistently clean at the same time. Win-win.

Number 5- Last but not least, SLEEP. Humans 100% cannot function properly without enough sleep. I get cranky and confused and sloppy with my work- it’s just not a good thing for anyone. I get extra emotional and have trouble focusing on the important things and generally feel like the sky is falling if I’m too sleep deprived. All in all it makes me INCREDIBLY unorganized. I’ve seen this in a lot of other people too. Take a nap, get a full 8 hours a few nights a week, and cut down on the 3am bedtimes.


Now of course, I’m not a life expert and won’t claim to be, but I have had my fair share of busy days and am pretty organized if I do say so myself. This system has come as a result of trial and error and works great for me, but of course feel free to make adjustments and most importantly do what feels and works best for you. 

5 reasons why Flappy Bird is SO. DARN. ADDICTING.

Something’s come over my office. It’s been making us all less productive and less social. It’s been simultaneously uniting us and tearing us apart.

Not an illness, not a tragedy. It’s…. Flappy Bird.

Yes, that really is my pathetically low score.

Yes, that really is my pathetic high score.

The annoyingly low-tech app that has seemed to spread like wildfire lately. It spread though my office in a matter of hours and has had all of us college-educated working professionals cursing like teenagers and fearing phone calls coming our way that will interrupt game play. Now, we aren’t an office to be slacking, and our work is all still getting done, of course, but it’s at the mercy of a little flappy bird. It seems so childish but it’s oh-so-satisfying.

Now, 5 reasons that I think this game has become so popular:

1. It’s easy. All you do is tap the screen to make the bird fly through the (Mario-esque) pipes. Seriously. That’s it.

2. But it’s really, really hard. You try again and again to make it past 1 just to nose-dive and die at 2. And then you want to play again because you have to make it past 3. But then there’s the promise of 5…

3. It never ends. Even those who are really good at it (aka my boss, who holds the high score record in our office) you can still always do better! There is no reward for getting to a certain score- just a certain death and having to start all over again.

4. You don’t have to buy anything, ever. There’s no buying new levels or shiny coins that make your bird fly better or get rid of some pipes. Other than the adds at the top of the game that kind of just sit there out of the way, there’s nothing that you can buy to make you better.

5. It makes you mad, frustrated, and determined. Nothing like some good old fashioned competition against yourself to get your blood pumping. Every time that bird falls to the ground because he why-can’t-he-just-fly-himself-dangit?! You get more and more sure that you NEED to pass that level. And so it begins, all over again.

Have you gotten into the Flappy Bird craze? Is it something that should have been left in high school? What’s your high score?

Poor Bird!

Poor Bird!

The Expat Diaries | Packing Woes

Expat Diaries

Today, I’m linking up with The Expat Diaries! This link up is done once a month and is a place for travelers to share stories about their time abroad. It can be travel tips, photos, awkward moments, whatever!

Even though I’m no longer living abroad, (darn) sometimes living 2,500 miles from home feels like being abroad.  I’m going to share one of the less glamorous parts of living and traveling abroad or for long periods of time. Packing.

Oh, Packing. One of the least thought about and yet most frustrating parts of travel.

Over the years, I’ve pretty much named myself as a master packer. I can make everything I own fit into my car, everything for a year fit into a 50 pound suitcase, and month’s worth of clothing fit into a carry on bag. Like magic.

I’m also a chronic over-packer. The question of “what if I need this?” is always at the back of my mind. Did I really need my hair straightener in India? Nope. Do I need more than one nice dress any time I’m abroad? Not at all. However, knowing how to pack effectively means that sometimes I can slide the straightener into the edge of my suitcase and fold that dress into the bottom of my purse.

Let me share 5 of my best packing tips with you!

  1. Roll those clothes! Rolling them makes clothes take up less space. If you have space bags, use those too! They are super helpful for making more things fit. You can also use gallon Ziploc bags to put clothes in and then squeeze the air out and seal them! They work great!
  2. For your flight: Baby/face wipes are a must have! They can be used to clean things or freshen up your face and body when you’ve been on a plane for hours. You’d be amazed at how much better you’ll feel with a clean face!
    Note- For your ziplock bag of liquids- lotion, eye drops, contact solution (if you wear them) hand sanitizer. Tried and true needed things.
  3. Check the baggage rules in EVERY country you will be stopping in. Even if your plane is just touching down somewhere make sure you check the limits. You don’t want to get stuck halfway to your destination having to pay hundreds of dollars to get your bags the rest of the way there! It will suck, and you will cry.
  4. You need less shoes than you think you do. I promise. Take a couple of pairs out of your bag and you’ll still be fine.
  5. Don’t be afraid to wash your clothes on your trip! Learn to hand wash your clothes in a bathtub or sink and you won’t need to bring as much.

What are your best travel tips? How do you make sure you don’t over pack or under pack? How do you make it fit?

Want to join in on The Expat Diaries? Link up over here.