I recently posted a photo on Instagram holding up a mug that says the same four word phrase as my watch pictured above, to which one of my good friends commented, "You love that saying!". It's not so much that I love the saying as I can just really relate to it- I'll be the first to admit that I have more issues than Vogue. It's not that I think my life is problematic; I feel so blessed and truly love and adore the life I've been given. I relate to the saying more in that I am flawed, despite how perfect I strive to keep my Instagram feed or how clean my house is for a playdate. For every image I post on Instagram, there were at least 37 terrible ones taken where I had lipstick on my front teeth or left the price tag on the bottom of my shoe. And if my house happens to appear somewhat clean for a playdate, it's only because I shoved five large Amazon Prime boxes full of random junk into the laundry room ten minutes before everyone arrived. I have issues and struggles like everyone else, I just choose to post and share the non-messy moments because that's part of my job. Brands I work with prooooobably wouldn't be pleased if I posed in one of their pieces of clothing while sitting on the couch, eating Cheetos and watching Gilmore Girls. With a giant pile of laundry waiting to be folded right behind me, serving as one giant lumpy pillow. And Bear occasionally running by in his whitie tighties. Not that that's ever been a scene at our house......
I make mistakes. I can be messy, especially when I eat in the car (which I do on a regular basis). I am extremely forgetful and have to write everything down or else I'd never make it in life. I'm terrible at remembering names, and I have clothes laying on the floor of my closet 92% of the time (they're clean, at least). I'm somewhat nocturnal and cannot function properly before 10am, which means I'm inevitably late to anything prior to noon. I always have tangles in my hair. I don't really like to cook, which means a lot of take-out and sandwiches at our house. My socks never, ever match. I get lost easily, even with a GPS directing me step by step. I'm a people-pleaser to a fault. I forget to dust the ceiling fans in our house for months at a time (until Z finally reminds me and little dust bunnies are peeking over from the tops of the blades). I hate exercising, especially running, so I've been out of shape for nine years now. I'm technologically challenged which proves to be a major problem for my line of work at times- thank goodness for sweet friends who are willing to help! The inside of my desk drawers currently look like something you'd see on Hoarders. The only food in our freezer at the moment is six different containers of ice cream. And a frozen pizza. It's 1:12am and I just realized that I left the clothes in the dryer from earlier today. Not getting up now, so...wrinkles it is.
I'm telling y'all, the watch is right. More issues than Vogue. But you know what? I'm doing my very best, mistakes and all. And I'm gonna keep truckin', with price tags on the bottom of my shoes, because I really do love this life. At the end of the day, all of our quirky, unique "issues" are what makes this world such an incredible place. And if eating Chick Fil A in the car is wrong, I don't wanna be right, anyway.
p.s. EXCITING NEWS, you guys! I'm now officially a regular contributor over at CupcakeMAG, and today my very first post when live! I'm talking about my five must-have beauty products that I couldn't live without- you can check it out here!
photos by RaeTay Photography
I can't be the only one who misses the good old days when checking a bag at the airport was completely free. My, how we took that amenity for granted! Nowadays, checking a bag costs a minimum fee on almost every airline, making travelers everywhere want nothing more than to cram their entire life into their carry-on luggage (raising my hand over here #cheap). This can be difficult to do, however, especially if you're traveling somewhere cold where lots of coats and layers are needed. A tropical destination is a bit easier, but still tricky if you're a major over-packer like myself. Luckily I've learned a few tips and tricks along the way that have helped me learn to live out of my carry-on, even if the trip is a lengthy one.
Traveling without checking bags not only saves money, but arguably even more importantly saves time. You've planned this vacation for months and months- the last thing you want to do when you finally arrive at the destination of your dreams is stand at a baggage claim for thirty minutes next to the couple who argued on the entire flight and the hipster who hasn't showered in several weeks. Or even worse- your luggage never makes it around the Wheel of Misfortune and you have the unthinkable happen: your baggage is lost. I've had this happen to me not once but twice and it was enough to make me want to carry-on only for the rest of my days.
The next time you're jetting off and want to attempt fitting everything into a carry-on, here's the check-list to go over that ensures you can make it happen (giving you a giant virtual high-five):
Lay out every single item you want to bring on the bed (or floor, any large flat surface). I'm talking everything down to a nail file- the nitty gritty. Then evaluate. Will you really wear three different gray sweaters in a five day span? Will you have time to read two books? If the answer is no, leave it behind. Start by packing the items, in order, of what you absolutely have to have.
ROLL YOUR CLOTHES:
This may seem like an obvious one to most of you, but you'd be surprised how many people still do the old school fold & stack method. Rolling minimizes space by almost HALF of what stacking does if you roll tight enough, and don't even think twice about wrinkles. That's why hotels have a free iron ready for use!
USE TRAVEL SIZE EVERYTHING:
I have this leak-proof TSA approved set and use it every time I carry-on. Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, or any other liquid that you can't live without goes right into these trusty little bottles. You can also just buy any travel-size products at Walmart or your grocery store and they work just fine. Just be sure to pack them in a clear bag for the security check.
UTILIZE THE "PERSONAL ITEM":
Ohhhh the "personal item". I couldn't make it without this beautiful little exception to the rules! This item is required to fit under the seat in front of you, and you can smoosh that bad boy under there any way you need to so long as it fits and isn't bulging out from it's hiding place. I typically go with a large tote, like this one, and lay it sideways under the seat. I stick my purse inside of the tote and pack both the tote and purse as full as I can. I always have my laptop, iPad, book, wallet, camera, gum, chargers, make-up bag, and lots more randomness with me in my tote. This is a life-saver and you've got to take full advantage. During our trip to Denver last November, Zach and I both shoved two coats EACH into our "personal items", on top of everything else I just listed. This saved us so much room in our carry-ons and we were able to fit souvenirs we bought during our trip on the way back without having to pay for a checked bag.
WEAR BULKY ITEMS DURING TRAVEL:
Just because you know it's going to be hot on the plane doesn't mean you can't shed your coat once you're on it. Don't pack big bulky items if you don't have to- go ahead and wear them during your flight. I've even been known to wear two coats while traveling, just because I didn't have room to pack them. Whatever works! Scarves and boots are also items you should wear during travel; tennis shoes may be more comfortable but wearing boots during the flight frees up a lot more room in your carry-on bag.
Chances are you aren't traveling alone or if you are, you know someone that will be meeting you at your destination. Communicate with these people and help one another out! Maybe you have a little extra room to fit something for a friend on the trip there, and she can free up space to haul your souvenirs back home. My friend Dede always carries on only and when we went to NYFW last fall, she had those of us checking bags and traveling a few days later bring some items she couldn't fit in her bag. Talk to your travel buddies and work out a plan that helps everyone get their sh*t together (literally). Communication is key, always!
A few other tips:
1. The Three Standard "S" Shoes- Everyone who knows me knows that I love shoes and have a tendency to overpack them when I travel (I packed an entire suitcase solely of shoes when I went to Europe for 10 days in '05). These days, I stick to the three "S" shoes when I'm traveling (unless it's for fashion week, of course):
Sensible: A pair of slip-ons, like my favorite ballet flats or TOMS
Sexy- 5 inch nude Louboutin pumps
Sweat-worthy- a good pair of Nike trainers
2. Reversible items all the way- Reversible means a total two for one, which is a light-packers' dream! No-one will even notice that you're wearing the same outfit two completely different ways. Lululemon has tons of items that are reversible and great for comfy travel.
3. Put things in your shoes- Let no space go unused! Cram socks, chargers, toiletry bags, even your hair brush into your shoes to maximize space.
Thank you so much for stopping by and sticking with this long-winded post! It's 12:53am and it's been a long day, so I apologize in advance for any typos that I'm too tired to reread and edit. I also need to apologize because I've gotten a ton of emails with questions from you guys this week and haven't gotten around to answering any of them- I promise I will! Hoping to tackle those in the next few days and don't want you to think I'm ignoring any of them. I LOVE hearing from you and can't thank you enough for being so kind and supportive of this little blog!
I just realized that I haven't shared a recipe on here since January, so it's been over three weeks without any diet-busters for you guys! I've actually had this post in the arsenal for several weeks now, just waiting for the right moment to divulge this sinfully delicious recipe to the world. My friend Shelbi recently told me she's never had a Cadbury Creme Egg; in fact she'd never even heard of one until I mentioned that they'd hit stores last month. My mind was officially blown and I'm forcing her to try one ASAP despite the fact that she doesn't like chocolate (how we are friends, I'll never know).
I still remember my first CCE- I was a senior in high school on our spring break trip to England and Scotland. Cadbury originated in England, so the selection of chocolates there is much more extensive than what we have in the states. Biting into my first creme egg was pure heaven- I'd never had anything quite like it before. They were also serving Cadbury Creme Egg McFlurries at McDonalds while we were in England, which were life-changing and partially inspired this recipe. Let's just say the college "freshman fifteen" started a few months early for me with that trip. My love for these tasty little eggs only grew from there, as my college golf teammates were all addicted to them as well. We couldn't go on a road trip without boxes Cadbury Eggs- our assistant coach would buy them in bulk after Easter and keep them in the freezer just for us. Looking back, it's a wonder I haven't had more root canals (notice I say more rather than any).
Trust me when I say that this will be your new favorite Easter treat. This dip is rich, creamy, and and packed-full of that delicious creme center we all know and love. Except Shelbi, of course. Even if you don't love chocolate, I think you'll still be a big fan of this dip. It almost has a cheesecake taste to it, but even better. Put this on the table at your next party and your guests will go wild- it's perfectly sweet and oh-so-yummy.
Eggs not pictured above because I had previously hidden them from Zach and Bear- I'm normally a giving person except when it comes to chocolate.
8 Cadbury Creme Eggs
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
chocolate graham crackers
1. Put all ingredients into a medium-sized bowl except for the Cadbury Eggs and beat with a mixer until smooth.
2. Chop up 7 Cadbury Eggs and add to the bowl. Mix again for an additional minute.
3. Pour into your desired serving dish and garnish with the reserved egg, cut in half.
If you're not a huge fan of chocolate grahams, animal crackers, Nilla Wafers, or apple slices would all be delicious options, too! I sliced up a granny smith apple once we ran out of graham crackers and let me just say...the combo of the crunchy, juicy apple with this decadent, creamy dip was pretty much perfection. Bear's friend Carson was over playing this particular day and my taste testers were very much pleased! Who am I kidding- if it contains sugar, four year olds are sold.
This recipe is dedicated to sweet Beanie Sue and "E", my fellow Cadbury Creme Egg devourers and lovers of all things chocolate.