Ode to the 80’s and the Moon

Ah, the days of Reese’s Pieces and ET phone home… Yup, those were the days, the 80’s. And eventually the wild-n-out RAWR of that decade morphed into the neon nineties. Somewhere in this mix of fashion adventure and extra terrestrials, an amazing shoe was born. It was over the top, the high top, to be exact. It was flashy. It was fahbyoulus. It was… the LA Gear Trainer.

LA-GEAR

Somehow (I can’t remember so it must be magic), I convinced my mom or my grandparents (again, I can’t remember, so maybe it was a wizard) to get me this pair of LA Gear High Tops, but in a crisp black and pink only (bottom right in image below). I will never forget the double laces and how supported my feet felt. I will always love the sassy touch of the side suede ribbing.

LA Gear Trainer

I do remember eeking out a small RAWR of excitement when I got my foot resting on the cushy sole, the double laces laced up, the velcro flap flipped over and velcroed down and the license plate flair promptly added to my key chain collection, I was ready to go. This is also when I discovered my power color. HOT PINK. And it made my wardrobe so much easier! Hot pink or Black leggings, check! Hot pink and black oversized sweatshirt, check! Hot pink or black scrunchie to complement my fountain bangs, CHECK!

So reminisce with me… In the spirit of the recent full moon, I’d like to share this handy mug. You can find it at Zazzle.com. Then, while you drink your coffee out of it, you can chuckle as you remember your early RAWRS.

moon mug

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Potbelly Adventure

Approaching a dangerous level of HANGRY this past week, Raul and I stopped in at a previously un-tested (by us) establishment aptly named Potbelly Sandwich Shop. I had a good feeling about this place. I’m not in Subway anymore.

Potbelly 3

Standing under the menu, trying to keep my mouth from gaping open and drooling, I carefully read through my options. Turkey is my go-to Beneficial meat so I order up.

With Mushrooms please.

Potbelly 3

The very nice lady behind the counter loads my sandwich into the oven where it ambles along the slow belt, toasting up under the heat. I’m too enthralled with my sandwich to look around. Quietly, Raul points out the T-Rex on their chalkboard cabinet.

Potbelly 1

A special lunch for someone who is REALLY HANGRY! RAAAWR!

Potbelly 2

Finally my sandwich is ready and I inhale it in three breaths. I was so HANGRY I forgot to snap a photo like my weird-self normally does, sorry! It was really good. Gooey cheese, turkey crisped at the edges, a nicely toasted bread and mushrooms.

As I’m cooling down from the HANGRY attack I finally look around the place and notice the fabulous job by the HVAC team. So clever!

Potbelly 4

Dino Friends at Freddies for Easter

While browsing the ridiculously low priced past-Valentine’s day candy to replenish my chocolate stash, I was shocked to see Easter toys already out! We’ve still got to get through St. Patty’s Day! So intrigued by the Easter toys and caught reminiscing about all my awesome Easter Egg hunts as a kid and their resulting chocolate stashes… I wandered the aisles until I stopped in my tracks at these cheerful rawrs.

Dino friends 1

They are NOT dog toys but dino buddies for your babies and big boys in cheery colors and a species for every species. A lot of kids come born with their RAWR out and unabashed and learn to tamper it down as they grow older, fitting in with society. Instead of the Rat Race, let’s stick with the Dinosaur Age and learn to RAWR a little.

Dino Friends 2

Dino Friends 3

Dino Friends 4

In my area, Fred Meyer sells Kroger, so you may find them at your local Kroger affiliate. Happy Hunting!

Dino Squishies at Target

With one big and one little Doggie-sidekick, I’m always on the look out for new “squishies”* or soft dog toys to keep their minds occupied. We have some pretty high standards too. Squishies must be well seamed, durable, and of course, enticing to gnaw on.

Dinosaur Dog Toys Target 1

Raul and I stumbled upon some new selections** at Target. They’ve got a few different color flavors to suit any dog. $7.99 for a slice of rawr, so check your local Target.

Dinosaur Dog Toy Target 2

If you’re looking for some solid dino Squishies, check out QPG’s other Dino collection. We’ve had good success with some of their toys, “Chicken” is a favorite.

Dinosaur Dog Toy Target 3

*Squishies is not in reference to any child. We do not condone doggies gnawing on kiddos. Or babies.

*We have not tested these particular dinosaur squishies yet, but will post a review when the girls have completed their evaluations.

Love, All Grown Up

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. Be a tree, give fruits, flowers, shade to others without expecting anything from others. Whatever you want from others first you have to give that to others. Whatever you give to others, you will be given in return. If you give love, respect to others then surely you will be given love and respect from others. That’s why we should learn to give good things to others.”- Deepak Panwar freeimage-814506 A couple years ago, my husband and I found ourselves in the midst of a marriage crisis. We had no idea how, but we had gone from twitterpated young lovers to disillusioned married people. We fought constantly, and our words were almost always disrespectful, sarcastic, and unkind. We tried everything we could think of to reconnect: Date nights, talking more, sharing interests… it all just ended up serving as the Band-Aid over the gunshot wound. We were toeing the line of ending a marriage and splitting a family.

I stumbled across an advertisement for a marriage self-help book one day. In my head I scoffed and thought about how silly and trite it probably was. But, part of me knew I was running out of options to save my marriage. I ordered it, and jumped into reading. Of course, some of it was exactly what I expected in terms of catch phrases and fluff. To my complete shock, the main message was absolutely revolutionary to me. It told me to stop demanding and expecting from my partner. To stop speaking and behaving disrespectfully. My brain rebelled, “But, he makes me angry! He disrespects me! I’m not going to roll over and let that happen to me! I’m not going to bend over backwards for someone who won’t do the same.” I sat with these feelings for a good week until I finally figured I could probably swallow my pride long enough to give it a go… because honestly, what else could I do?

We decided to table the issues we had been arguing about for months. It wasn’t about better listening or communicating more clearly. It wasn’t about expressing needs asking for concessions. The focus was on the here and now- our words and actions towards each other in each moment. We were challenged to behave as we did in the beginning of our relationship with random acts of kindness and love. It wasn’t overnight, but change started to happen. We began to look at our relationship in terms of what we could bring to each other, and not what the other person owed us. Hearts softened, and we learned that though we couldn’t take back old slights and wrongs, we could forgive them without having to battle over who was right or responsible. Our words and actions towards each other became kind and respectful. The knot in my stomach that was all the old hurt and anger I had been hanging onto started to melt away, and I felt like I could breathe again. Of course, no couple is perfect, and sometimes old habits like to run amuck. But, we continually came back to the idea that we were in this relationship to love each other, not to tear each other down or win emotional battles.

What is left today is a relationship that feels all grown up. We are happy and, dare I say, still a bit twitterpated. We are tackling life one day at a time, and we do it knowing that we are a team. Not because we have to be, but because we choose to be. We love, laugh, trust, respect, forgive, and keep moving forward.
couple on beach
Relationships grow and evolve through so many phases- lust, twitterpation, adventure, comfort… But I truly think that love grows into its finest form when you realize that your highest calling to your relationship is to treat your partner with infinite kindness and respect. When you can look at them and know that you want nothing more than to never be a source of pain or disrespect to them… and that is reflected back at you. That it’s not about being right or in charge. That it doesn’t matter who makes more money or has more success. I think it’s when you realize that you can take on the world and anything in it… because you are a unit based in respect and driven by the desire to do right by each other. That binds you tightly to each other, and how can trials tear you apart if there isn’t a gap for a foothold to be had?

#Erin

Happy RAWR day

What? It’s not RAWR day! It’s Valentine’s Day silly!

I can see how you might think that but don’t be fooled!

Today is a day to celebrate love and by most accounts there’s a few types of love that we’re celebrating today. There’s friend-love- that “gosh-I-just-love-my-bff-how-did-she-know-I-needed-that-bitch-sesh?!?-How did I survive without her?” There’s hubby-love- that “ooh!-He-did-get-me-the-special-expensive-chocolate-today!” and of course, kiddo-love. “Aww-my-sweet-kiddo-look-at-what-they-made-for-me!” I won’t leave out family-love because “I-love-you-too-ma!” But beneath all that love, there’s more, much more.

the Portland RAWR

the bright RAWR behind love and passion

Beneath the chocolates and the pleasantries and extra texts and phone calls, there’s love. Beneath love is passion. Beneath passion is RAWR. “RAAAAWWWRRRRR” is where we find the strength to love so deeply, care so much and panic like crazy to express it. Real love, that passionate love that would compel you to leap before a bus for your loved one, comes from a most primal spot in our hearts and souls. From that same spot comes our RAWR. In my humble opinion, RAWR is what powers love.

Even when we don’t have love, we still got RAWR. So today, Happy RAWR day.

RAWR & LOVE <3 Marie

RAWR & LOVE, Marie

Dino Diggs at Costco!

I happen to live pretty much equidistant between two Costco’s aaaannnddd I have a membership. So I go there. A lot. When I think about my culture, I’m pretty sure I’m a part of the Costco culture. As much as I love Costco, I am not quite one of their disciples. We usually go with a budget, which is less fun, but more practical.

If you aren’t familiar with Costco (or Sam’s Club, just Walmart’s version), I have to ask in what hole has your head been stuck for the last 10 years? So I will assume we all know how awesome Costco is. Yes, it’s hard to find anything for less than $10 and even harder to leave spending less than $100, but that is because they are so good at temptation.

“Oh yes, get your toilet paper, but we’ll make you walk to the back of the store for it, past all the goodies!!! MWAHAHAHA!”

With a little extra free time, I found myself wandering the aisles, contemplating what gadget or gizmo would actually make my life better.  Aside from the bulk quinoa and a dog bed, I didn’t find much. That is… until I found THESE! I had to restrain myself from L-I-T-E-R-A-L-L-Y  “SQUEEE”ing in the store. If I had a million dollars I’d buy these all up and distribute out RAWRS like party favors. But alas, I don’t have a million dollars, so you’ll have to settle for some photos.

Costco Dinosaurs 1 Costco Dinosaur 2 Costco Dinosaurs 2

My only two comments back to Costco would be, where are the PINK dinosaur jammies? Even girls like dinos. And find some grown up footie pajamas, please. You know those would sell like hot dogs!

Minions vs. Friends

Dear Readers, you have my apologies for the silence this past week. Sometime around last Tuesday, I hit that wall called the mental block and it wasn’t letting anything in, or out! It took a few days of some good girlfriends time, some good workouts, some nature time and a wee-bit of trashy tv. I just needed some time for my mind-funk to pass.  Of all that I did this past week to clear the mental blockage, time with my girlfriends hit it home the best. And that time (and, well, the trashy tv too) got me thinking… what does a good friend, a true friend, look like?

Growing up a military brat and moving every couple of years forced me to become somewhat adept at making friends.

I learned that you never say yes to the first guy at a new school who asks you out (reputations are transferable) and always treat everyone as you would want to be treated (you do catch more flies with honey than vinegar).

But none of that really adds up to equal good, lasting friendships. I’m not talking about the friends that you chit-chat with when you pass each other in the grocery store. I’m talking about the friendships that make you certain you knew this person in a previous life.

Goat friends

Hmm… maybe we were pigs in our last life?

In all my un-worldly travels, I’ve met a lot of gals who I thought wanted to be friends with me, but really, they just wanted minions. They want a “friend” to listen to all their woes, be at their side through adventure, be their shoulder to cry on and laugh at all their jokes. Um, isn’t that what a real friend does? Well, the catch is, when that effort is one-sided, she doesn’t want a friend, she wants a minion. Real friendships require reciprocity. Real friends will be your shoulder to cry on, but you also have to be their shoulder to cry on too. You gotta give a little, take a little, don’t make me start singing the story of love

freeimage-2035962

When trying to understand your relationships, you may have to ask yourself, of all the people in my life, who is looking for a minion and who is looking for a friend? It can be hard to tell. Minion-seekers will invite you out to do things. They’ll talk to you often. They’ll probably ask you for favors. So how do you know if you’re a minion or a friend?

How to tell if you’re a friend or a minion…

Are you a Minion or a Friend?

Are you a Minion or a Friend?

1. When you chat, do they ask detailed questions about your life now? If they ask you a couple of general questions and then switch the topic to their problems for the entire conversation, you might be a minion. Real friends will know details about what’s been going on in your life and they’ll remember to ask you for updates, even years later.

2. Do you hang out alone or are there always other people around? If they are always surrounded by an entourage and you’re just a face in the passing crowd, you might be a minion. If they are always surrounded by an entourage but you get dibs after Queen Friend, you might be a minion.  Real friends will seek time out with you, even if it’s just a few minutes, to connect with just you.

3. If you ask them for a small favor, how do they respond?  If you ask something reasonable and get a no with a lame-o excuse, (“Um, I have to wash my dogs hair at 2pm on Thursday), you might be a minion. Any form of yes (even if a payment is required, such as a day pass to a nekked spa), you know you got a keeper.

So if you find yourself a minion, and you’re ok with a one-sided relationship. Congrats. I think you should contact Bravo because they’ve got a spot on a show for you!

If you find yourself a minion and you want real friends with real cares and real fun, then be brave young Rex and cut that Minion-seeker out of your life! Real friends do take time and energy, but when it’s reciprocated, it’s worth it.

If you find yourself with real friends, congratulations for real because you have a solid network of people who love you.

If YOU are the minion-seeker, quite frankly, I don’t expect you to see yourself as one. I just hope your minions take a bite of your power and RAWR with some real friends soon.

If YOU are a real friend, thank you. You save lives by caring.

Here’s to eating the minions and RAWR-ING with real friends!

Too many d*cks on the dancefloor…

A Reader: There’s the Testosterone Conundrum… Teenage boy + step father = constant conflict & disagreements so what do I do?

Father and Son

Boys boys boys. Growing up in a house full of two “little” brothers, a wrestling match or stinky hamper was never far away. Neither was a fight over our mom’s attention. Like two dueling dancers, they’d each try to out-do the other until she noticed. Even when you love the boys in your life they can be stinky, LOUD, rude, and messy all at once without realizing it themselves. Lots of testosterone can certainly strain a family relationship. It doesn’t even take a full grown boy to disrupt a family dynamic, even a Preggosaurus Rex growing a little boy can produce enough testosterone to kick the circus off-queue. So what is a mama rex to do when the going gets too RAWR?

The first step is to channel it. I like to think of testosterone as steam in a kettle. The more of it a guy has, the more forcefully he needs it to be turned into spent energy. You can’t just cap the steam and expect it to go away, it needs a healthy outlet. Finding some activity they can do together, maybe it’s race RC cars, or go to batting practice or work on a car, or whatever it may be for your boys, will go a long way in helping them bond in a healthy way. The more healthy outlets they have in common, the stronger a relationship they’ll be able to build.

There’s also some sticky family dynamics at play, underneath all the hormones and beating their chests with fists. There is a father-son dynamic that needs support. Right now, as a teenager, your son can’t see the big picture and long term because his pre-frontal cortex is just not quite there. It will take him a few years to realize your husbands’ actions aren’t putting restrictions on him or reigning him in just to be mean, but rather to give him guidance that typically comes from Dad. Finding ways to nurture this bond is tricky and often, a well-intentioned plan can backfire in your face. Some degree of Mama-Sneak is called for, but not too much. You can send them on errands together, find new activities that they both have to try (outdoor stuff is good because they burn much more energy and come home tired!), but be careful being too sneaky in setting activities up.

Something that seems to work well for the men I love in my life, but certainly is not appropriate for everyone, is being the rube for them in those crucial bonding situations. When they can be on the same ‘team’ because they’re both laughing with (and usually at) me, I don’t take it personal because I know they in the end, they’ll be more bonded, and it’s not like there’s any less love then.

The other consideration is to be an open listener for your son. This means to LISTEN and not judge or try to problem solve but just listen. He’s reaching an age where he wants to emotionally attach and if you and him have a good relationship, he’ll attach back to you. This is not attachment in some weird way but rather he’ll develop a deeper trust with you. He’ll be comfortable sharing more than the typical teenage boy shares with his mother about the happenings of his life. The goal is for you and his Step-father to be there for him as a solid support- through dumb decisions and good decisions.

And when all else fails, “RAWR” at them.

The only biscuits worth a RAWR

The Biscuit Showdown

SATURDAY

Mmmmaaaaauuuuggghhh… A Homer-style moan with drool pours from between my teeth as I dream of biscuits. No, not those biscuits, mind out of the gutter and into the flour please. A well-formed and perfectly baked biscuit is a surefire start to a great brunch. What’s that you say Marie? Biscuits for brunch? Why yes dear reader. Biscuits for brunch is my favorite weekend pastime in Portland, Oregon and is so RAWR-worthy. A few weekends ago Raul, his sister and I found ourselves on a Biscuit Showdown. Without showboating, let’s just say we were seeking some incredible biscuits and found them.

It began early Saturday, well, early enough. On a brisk, sunny morning, we left homebase and began the trek. A short walk brought us to the doorstep of the Grand Central Bakery. One step inside yields smells that will haunt you for a lifetime- that sweet bakery aroma. Tempting me with pastries, it takes all my strength to stay on task… biscuit! Needing a shot of protein I go for the Cheddar Egg biscuit sandwich.
Cheddar Egg Biscuit Sandwich

After an impatient wait spent pacing, I was handed a warm goodie wrapped in branded paper. Ruthlessly ripping open the paper as if I was going to find some Channing Tatum but instead it was even better… a light, fluffy and just ever-so-slightly crumbly biscuit cradling a soft and perfectly cooked and peppered egg and cheddary cheese center. I barely got a photo before it got devoured.

After inhaling the amazing biscuit combination, I didn’t need a nap afterwards (though I took one anyway).

SUNDAY

Awaking from a good sleep, Raul, his sister and I embarked on the next adventure to Pine State Biscuits. We chose the location with the most seats so the three of us would have the best shot at eating indoors, on location. All I remember about getting there was the rumble of my tummy and the anxious anticipation awaiting my taste buds. Raul has been there before but to me, this was all new. Arriving at the door, we’re greeted by a sign saying to wait outside if there isn’t room inside. Ok then, crowd control is usually a good sign. We barely squeak through the door with no real room to spare in line behind us. Thankfully the wait is enough time to study the menu posted above.

Deciding to keep it biscuits to biscuits, I forego the more famous combinations and order an Egg & Cheese biscuit sandwich. Not to disappoint my dear readers, Raul orders the Reggie, his sister orders the Reggie Deluxe. We luck out on seats just inside the main dining space (which seats about 20 people).

Eager waiting and watching for our order pays off as dish by dish gets called up. Anticipating a photo before the food came, once it arrived in front of me, I actually forgot to take a photo. It was that good. I don’t think I can fully describe it because I inhaled it. Literally i-n-h-a-l-e-d it.  We all forgot to take a photo so I am including one right from the source. Below is the Pine State Biscuits’ money shot of the Reggie Deluxe. Are you speechless yet?

Pine State Biscuits

So for a biscuit-to-biscuit comparison here’s

the breakdown:

Egg & Cheese Biscuit Sandwich: The RAWRS go to Grand Central Bakery. For a light, crisp biscuit paired perfectly with a just-done-enough egg and the tang of aged cheddar stacked against the denser, less flaky biscuit from Pine State makes the comparison clear.

Fried Chicken and Biscuits: Are you ready for the twist? When you throw a piece of crisply fried chicken in-between those dense biscuits, magic happens. The sandwich takes on a whole new dimension of goodness. The biscuits carefully cradle the chicken adding a saltiness that leaves you licking your fingers.

Tough guys don’t mess with dinosaurs

Many thanks to I Fucking Love Science for putting this cozy ensemble on our radar. Don’t get caught un-armed ever again!

little rexes_2

Give your RAWRS a a real punch of intensity with this comfy gear.

Even better, your little rexes and big rexes can find a size!

big rexes_1

Prefer Raptor? There’s one for you too!

Little Rex_1

  little rexes_3

Find your hoodie at www.nothingbutdinosaurs.com!

Grief: the silent RAWR

Grief. Loss. I am not a fan of those words for so many reasons, but they hold weight over us in a way that few other words are capable of.

Grief we feel, loss is what we almost had or had once upon a time. Beyond the letters themselves, there are few other words that can adequately describe to another human being what grief feels like. Wanting someone to understand grief without experiencing a loss is, in my humble opinion, darn near impossible. What is also striking is that the loss or reasons for grief can vary dramatically from person to person but the depth of pain, hurt and fear knows no bounds.

Whether you’ve lost a friend, a grandparent, a parent, a spouse, a child, a fur-baby or any other being or maybe even a job or the dream of a future, it hurts. It hurts a lot. It feels like your heart has literally been shattered into pieces, left in broken tatters. You wonder how you haven’t died from a broken heart…yet. You wish you could go with them just so the pain will stop. You wish you could turn back time to when that future was possible. Each breath hurts. Each smile takes pain to crack. Some days you wonder how you will ever carry on.

I say carry on because moving on is not possible. You will never forget, not for a day, rarely for a moment. Moving on, getting over it, letting it go, growing up, all of those mean words imply forgetting. You can’t forget. Forgetting is not an option. Carrying on is. When you carry on, you carefully and compassionately pick up the pieces of your broken heart (oftentimes with help) and with a brave face, move into the next present moment. You carry your loss with you, in your heart. The scars on your heart make you stronger. If you allow it, the cracks in your heart let love sweep in and out like the ocean waves.

Frozen tear on leaf

Grief hits your insides like waves, sometimes a large wave tumbles over you when you least expect it. Sometimes you brace for impact only to find the wave barely crossing your toes. To lessen the waves of grief, there are things you can do. There are tools to help you find and pick up those broken heart pieces.

When faced with a wall of grief and a shattered heart, it is time to mourn. Mourning is the work you do to process the grief. Mourning takes many outward forms: crying, writing, crafting, talking, sharing and so many more. Mourning is what saves us.

You will mourn not only the past and the present but also the future. Honoring the future you thought you had by acknowledging the present you’ve been given requires a strength that feels impossible to summon at times, but is absolutely possible.

If any of the above strikes a chord with your heart, I encourage you with all of mine and all of my RAWR to find a HEALTHY outlet for your grief. Many people turn to destructive behaviors which will only cause more pain and suffering. It takes strength to talk to a friend, go for a walk, cry, smile, write, sing, play, work, create, and mourn.

Just when you think you can’t go on, you can’t possibly be strong enough to [insert mourning activity here], that is the moment to think of your loss. Feel the love you had for that person or dream. It is in that love that you will find the strength to carry on.

Marie and Rauls lucky 5 leaf clover

searching for clovers of hope

I carry on. I am a survivor of grief. I mourn. I mourn on a daily basis. This post is my mourning. This post, and so many other moments of mourning are what saved me. What moments of mourning have or will save you?

*this post was originally published on A Day at A Time

**this post is dedicated to Indy and George. ❤

Dinos for dessert

Several of my friends have kiddos approaching or passing their first birthday. In the spirit of birthday RAWR, I thought it fitting to share a slideshow of Dinosaur Birthday cakes to get your creative juices flowing! Many thanks to iVillage for compiling the full list of cakes, images and RECIPES. For the full article, CLICK RAWR.

Of the 21 cakes shared, my favorite is this guy…

Dinosaur Cake

Doesn’t he just look tasty? For this Rex’s recipe, click RAWR.

How to avoid packing the kitchen sink: 15 tips for RAWR-free travel

Flying and traveling is in my blood. Ever since my dad was a 7 year old little boy flown on his first plane ride in a rickety, gut-lifting bug smasher- he was hooked. He ever so kindly passed along the love of gut-lifting excitement to his eldest, me. There’s nothing quite like that moment when your intestines rise in defiance of gravity and your body exudes adrenaline and your mouth utters an unstoppable “WHEEE!!!!!”. At least for me it’s a positive feeling (unlike poor Raul who is NOT a fan of gut-lift). However, that feeling doesn’t always come to me in positive moments of pure blissful excitement. I also get that feeling anytime I’m about to start packing.
High Flying Marie
There is something about delineating my daily needs into a finite space that must travel with me for X days that is gut-liftingly terrifying. The thought of picking only ONE black sweater and only TWO pairs of shoes and maybe just the RIGHT dress leaves my heart racing and a panic attack around the corner.

Usually a two or three day jaunt only takes me a few hours to whittle my possessions down. The worst was when I did a study abroad and was going to be in Europe for a month. Beyond buying the biggest suitcase I could find (tip: Bigger is not always better, especially when you need to carry that big ass bag across Roman-era cobblestones!), I spent close to a week picking out clothes only to put them back. I stayed up ALL NIGHT the night before my flight, obsessing over all the little things I could or should bring. I consulted all the travel guides I could afford. I was going for that sleek world-traveler look and ended up over packing what I didn’t need and under packing what I could have used (um, Europeans wear jeans. Somehow I didn’t think that was possible and did not pack a single pair. Wearing khakis and dresses left me standing out more than if I’d brought that saggy pair of GAP jeans! How was that NOT in my guide books?!?)!
Flight Tracker
Having been packing up my belongings and moving or embarking on road trips or plane hops since I was just a wee fat baby, I’ve learned a few things in my traveling years. This is my attempt to help you avoid an angry RAWR and experience easier traveling days ahead…

1. Have one sturdy, medium-large checkable suitcase. Hard sides help protecting your stuff but can also be restrictive in what you can pack. Plan to use this suitcase for any trip lasting longer than a week to a destination requiring anything more than skimpy swimsuits.

2. Have one light carry-on suitcase that fits the maximum carry-on dimensions for the airlines you fly. Make sure it has wheels and a long handle. It’s even better if the wheels are ultra flexible and can move in more than two directions (back and forth only sucks, aim for multi-directional).

3. Have one lighter bag that is larger than a purse but still fits the required dimensions for carry-on. A computer bag is a good example- you can really max out a good computer bag. Also make sure it has a good strap. Few things suck more than getting a hickey and a fat bruise on your shoulder because you’re running for gate 19 with a bag that has a poorly designed strap.

4. You really can fit more everyday clothes in a bag if you roll them. But know they get wrinkly so pick a place with an iron, a steamy bathroom or hosts who don’t care. Before stuffing your life’s possessions into a carrier, be sure to place suits and nice dresses carefully and flatly along the bottom of the suitcase.

5. Always bring extra socks and undies, but you don’t need to roll them. 😉

6. Pack one outfit for a cold day and one for a hot day (relative to where you’re headed). Then pack layers to get you between the two. For instance, a tank top, camisole or undershirt, a short sleeved shirt and a long sleeved shirt can easily get you a few days of wear.

7. Pack only one nice outfit, but two nice shirts. If you find yourself surprised with a dressy event, you won’t have to re-wear your only nice outfit but won’t have to lug two full outfits with you.

8. If you’ll be gone for less than a week, you shouldn’t check a bag. I’m serious. Suck it up and pare it down. Even with all the 20 minute bag delivery promises, do you really want some creepy TSA guy searching through your chonies for explosives that didn’t originate from you?

9. If you do have to check a bag, leave some dirty chonies on top. No one wants to touch your dirty undies. I know it sounds pretty disgusting but even creepy TSA guys get grossed out by dirty chonies. (Just not the really really creepy ones, but let’s hope the TSA has been good at weeding them out or keeping them away from our chonies.) Ever since I started doing this packing arrangement for checked luggage, even the times my bag is “Searched” it’s not really searched. I know because they don’t set off the boobie traps, they just leave the flyer that your bag has been searched.

10. Pack extra ziploc bags (sandwich and larger for a flexible variety) and include some plastic grocery bags. Use the grocery bags to keep your shoes’ cooties off your goods. The other bags will be self-evident the moment you need them.

11. Leave the jewelry at home. Seriously. Don’t hold up the security line because you have 10 pieces of jewelry to strip out of. Don’t go to a country more impoverished than the one you came from with all your precious family jewels around your neck or on your fingers. You’re just asking for trouble.

12. Getting through security quickly can be a breeze: Pick shoes that slip on and off. I personally love wearing my Costco-sourced slippers because they’re comfy and if they get gross, I won’t feel bad about tossing them. Pick an outfit to wear while traveling that is comfy and easily washed while traveling. Please, leave the bedazzled jean jacket at home. No one likes the person holding up the security line because they didn’t think about what they were going to wear to the airport. Remember to empty your pockets before you hand over your ID and boarding pass, even that cell phone that has grown into one of your appendages should be tucked away in a bag.

13. Go to your favorite department store’s make-up counter the week before your flight and schmooze a nice sales lady into giving you a couple free samples. Usually a face wash or mask will last more than one use and you won’t need to lug a huge bottle or buy new at your destination. If you feel bad about schmoozing, buy just one thing then you won’t feel so bad. But the idea is to get little sample packets that pack nicely.

14. Still wondering how NOT to pack the kitchen sink… here’s my method for a trip lasting 3 days to a week:
Bare Essentials
-1 pair of undies and socks for EVERY day you’re gone
-1 casual outfit (jeans or khakis and a t-shirt or comfortable clothes suitable for being in public)
-1 nice outfit (slacks and nice top with sweater or suit)
-1 crazy comfy outfit (pi’s, ounge wear, sweatpants and non-public-worthy clothing is good)
-1 medium weight jacket or sweater (even airplanes are cold on the way to Cabo)
-1 nice pair of shoes and 1 casual pair of shoes you can walk for more than an hour in
– If your destination climate is cold, pack 1 pair of long johns
– If your destination climate is hot, remember your swim suit. Unless you’re going to a nude beach, no one wants to see your junk.
– Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, face soap, moisturizer and sunblock, a comb, make-up (if you wear it!).

15. Backups:
How much quantity you bring depends on the number of days traveling. If you’ll be gone for more than a week, multiply quantities by two for each extra week of travel up to four weeks.
– 1 or two casual tops- to be layered or mixed with casual pants
– 1 ‘Sunday best’ shirt or top to be worn with Nice outfit
– Ladies can substitute a skirt or dress for any outfit above
– work out clothes and shoes
– scarves, sweaters and accessories- aim for ones that coordinate with multiple outfits to save space

I’m sure there’s more and may need to write a sequel because I know I’m forgetting some very important tips… but enough about me.

What are some of your best traveling tips?

Dino Yummies for Doggies

Dinosaur Nylabone

Maybe your dog isn’t motivated by ripping the guts out of simulated nature. Maybe, just maybe, your dog wants to just chew on bones. All day. Bone in paw, butt on sofa, ah, heaven. If that’s the case, check out this Nylabone shaped T Rex! Maybe your dog is a dino-snob and would rather spare the T-Rexes.

They’ve got you covered with the Stegosaurus and Brontosaurus. Nylabone Stegasaurus

Now, before you go rush out and buy a bunch of new chew toys, make sure you read the ingredients and watch for signs of allergies. Many dogs are allergic to certain foods, sometimes contained in chewable products like Nylabone. If you suspect your dog is having an allergic reaction, please seek veterinary support.

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