Packed it all in

Needless to say, we successfully made it to our honeymoon – and our suitcases were just at the perfect weight.

My biggest packing mistake was not laying all of my outfits out – and packing too many statement pieces. Everything ended up alright, but there were just not enough combinations in my bag to make me happy. I had enough jumpsuits to get me through, but not quite enough tops to toss on with jeans when we were running out to grab a drink.

I managed to coordinate outfits with one pair of sandals – although I needlessly packed two pairs of wedges as well. Pro tip: don’t bother with wedges or heels in any part of Greece. There are so many charming stairs and cobblestone roads, it’s painful to watch some girls attempt to balance in wedges.

As anticipated, the islands got a little chilly at night. I had expected this and packed along a few summer sweaters and my trusty jean jacket. I can’t go anywhere in the summer without my jean jacket along for the ride. I highly suggest bringing one along.

It’s always hard to balance looking cute, site seeing, and having enough packed for day and night outfits. And being comfortable and photo ready!

Apart from what I actually brought along, the logistics of moving everything between locations was tricky. My husband and I each packed a large suitcase as well as a carry-on suitcase. I brought an oversized pocketbook and he brought a backpack. I think we could have consolidated more, but having these bags gave us the opportunity to bring back gifts, and some incredible wine.

It did get tricky traveling by ferry out to the islands – the ferry system in Greece is very different than what you experience heading out to the Vineyard or Nantucket. It somehow is very efficient, but very disorganized and a bit overwhelming. Moving on and off the ferries is where we struggled the most with luggage, and I’m so grateful we had packed on wheels!

Honeymoon packing is sort of a once in a lifetime thing, but I definitely learned a few things about packing for multiple weeks of travel!

Honeymoon Hurry

My brand new husband and I had decided to delay our honeymoon by about two months. We were married in March and between balancing work schedules and both of our part-time MBA programs, going immediately after just wasn’t the right move for us.

Let me tell you, I’m so glad we waited. After the wedding we went away for a few nights on a mini-moon, which gave us some much needed rest and much appreciated alone time. We were able to recharge and relive our wedding, but only a two hour drive away.

The slight delay also gave us something amazing to look forward to! A lot of brides deal with a crash after their wedding/honeymoon. You’ve been the center of attention and had your favorite day to look forward to – and now, well now you’ve got your soulmate but not so much attention as being a bride. We didn’t experience this!

The downfall of the delay was that life got hectic and crazy again. We were running around with a million things to do, and never finished planning our honeymoon! We have flights, hotels, and recommendations, but no solid plan. And we haven’t packed.

I’ve made some piles and did a Target run to get some travel essentials (gum, hand sanitizer, and basically every travel side product they offer just for good measure- whups!).

We received brand new luggage for our shower and were excited to put it to good use. The only concern is that we might have too much space – and we have to keep our bags under a certain weight to avoid charges at the airport. We’ll also be moving five times throughout our honeymoon, so we want to be as consolidated as possible.

My plan is to think through the spectrum of things we’ll be doing – hiking, site seeing, swimming, and hopefully a few romantic dinners. Whenever I pack for a longer trip, I try to focus around a color scheme. This always makes shoe and purse choices more cohesive.

When actually packing, I always roll my clothes. I’ve seen some packing hack videos online – and I imagine they do work to save space. But having everything folded in on itself is not practical for finding something when you don’t want to fully unpack in each hotel.

I’ve remembered some key items too:

  • Power converter – remember, not every country has the same plugs!
  • Eye mask! I am a horrible sleeper and being on a plane or a new place doesn’t help with that – an eye mask helps me get some much needed rest.
  • Essential oils – a weird thing to bring for some, but for me, they help me relax. They’re clutch during a bumpy flight or a jet lagged evening.
  • Travel size steamer – I know from previous trips to Europe, not all hotels have irons
  • Comfy shoes that can be worn with a dress while site seeing.
  • A key jacket – this jacket is functional in that it has inside pockets and rain resistant. It’s also adorable and can be added to a casual outfit or balance out a dressier look.
  • Warm clothes for the plane ride – and socks because on long flights I always kick off my shoes.
  • After sun aloe. Believe me, I stocked up on sunscreen, but that’s really not enough for me and my skin routine.

My entire life I’ve packed weeks in advance of every trip – but before my honeymoon, I’m packing the night before we leave the country for 15 days.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Power Positive

You may have read my earlier post about my personal positivity project. I set out to change my thinking by changing my words. No whining, complaining, or self-bashing for 24 hours.

And you know what – it’s really freaking hard, and that’s not a complaint, it’s a statement.

I tried setting reminders in my phone, and reflecting before speaking – but it’s still really hard. It’s hard in strange ways too – particularly in supporting friends. It’s hard to listen to someone complain and feel like you’re responding empathetically without ultimately saying, “You’re right – that does suck.”

In responding to friends, I tend to try to get them to look on the positive side, but sometimes that’s not being a good friend. I think. Sometimes, you just have to let them complain and support them in what they’re saying.

But does that negativity infect me?

I’m starting to think that it does. I’m not saying I don’t want to support my friends, or hear about their challenges, but does everything have to be a complaint? Is everything an issue? Am I the issue?

My own personal positivity project was originally thought up to change my own words – and I intend to continue with it until I really reach 24 hours without complaints. It’s also made me aware of how others speak around me, though. The environment you’re in, and the people you surround yourself with, the people you invest in – all of it influences your wellbeing.

It’s something to think about.

As for my 24 hours of positivity, I highly encourage each of you to try it. It’s harder than you think.

Positivity Project

Do you ever notice that you’re just in a rut? Complaining a lot? Feeling over overwhelmed, overworked, over everything?

Have you ever noticed how that makes your whole body drag? Makes things heavy, hard to move, hard to breathe.

Although the spring sunshine has made everything brighter for me, sometimes I feel like I just whine a lot. About everything! About work, about my graduate program, about my weight, my friends, my general commitments. And every once in a while, I realize I’m complaining for something to say. Just to talk.

So this week I’m going to try to not complain for 24 hours. No whining, no negative talk, no self-bashing. Only positive things.

I’ve heard that this is a great exercise – but I also can only imagine how challenging this is. It’s all about changing your perspective. In moments of stress, it’s easy to overlook all you’re grateful for. It’s also easy to let that spiral continue into a very negative space.

I’m planning to hold myself accountable on this positivity project in a few ways:

  • I’m going to set reminders on my phone to think positively – because in the middle of the 4pm sugar crash, it might be easy to forget.
  • I’m going to do my best to put myself in positive environments and around people who lift me up rather than drag me down.
  • I’m going to stick to the “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” rule.
  • I’m going to also tell one or two loved ones – people I talk to consistently and that will hold me accountable.
  • I’m even going to put a post-it on my bathroom mirror so I remember first thing in the morning!

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Best Bridesmaids

Keeping up with our new Seven on Saturday move, I want to share 7 tips for successfully planning  a bridal shower. Remember, these tips are not about how to be a good bridesmaid – although I’ll share those soon. These are specifically focused on how to plan a memorable shower for the bride-to-be – or groom-to-be depending on the wedding!

Being a Bridesmaid is certainly a unique experience and can vary significantly from one wedding to another. And in some cases can be really fun and in others a giant ball of stress. 

Depending on the dynamic, you might need to really pull your weight in planning a shower, but you also may need to only offer to help and just show up smiling if the MOH and maybe family member takes charge. If you’re being asked to help shape the day here are some quick tips for how to plan the perfect shower.

  1. Talk to the bride – this should absolutely be the first step. Now, the bride may not be a bride and it could be a happy couple or it could be brides. Whoever you’re throwing the shower for, have a quick conversation. Ask if they have a vision, any special requests. Do they have a theme in mind? Do they have a venue they’d love? Do they have a special date? Do they like games? Hate games? How do they see their shower making them feel? Showers really vary these days – a shower can go a more traditional route of a brunch/lunch/tea for ladies, or it can be a Thursday night for cocktails and presents with everyone! Find out what your bride wants – and then figure out who else might have an opinion that matters (read: the parents of the bride or groom). 
  2. Resolve who wants to – and can – contribute – financially and in support. Family dynamics can be hard to balance, especially when money is involved. It’s up to whoever is in charge to figure out who is willing and able to financially contribute. This research might fall to the bride’s parents, the Maid of Honor, or a helpful bridesmaid. Depending on your personal position and your income, I’ve seen bridesmaids contribute anywhere from maybe a plate, some decorations, coordinate games and prizes, or up to $200. It could definitely be a lot higher, depending on your lifestyle/the bride’s life, but make sure you’re comfortable and make sure you have a budget before you start planning.
  3. Do your research – unless the bride has their heart set on a specific place, shop around. Price out venues and play with the idea of hosting the event in a home if you need to keep costs down. Having a shower – or any event – outside can be risky since it’s hard to anticipate what the weather will be. If you’re pricing out a venue, make sure you ask all of your questions – we’ll get in to this later.
  4. Pick a clear theme – even if your bride isn’t really a “theme” kind of girl. It’s important to have consistency across decorations. Themes can even help influence the food, games, and invitation. You might consider leaning in to any themes that will be at the wedding, or something unique about the couple. This is also key to helping keep everyone on the same page. You might end up planning a shower that involves the bridesmaids, bride’s mom, groom’s mom, and eager aunts. Having one theme you can tie everything back to will help make look the event consistent and thoughtful. 
  5. Delegate – everything. If you’re the Maid of Honor, it’s important that you not take this on all on your own. Worse still, if you’re a bridesmaid who is just stepping up because the MOH has no experience in doing this, you’ll have support. Family members and other friends can help with things as well. If you’re having a shower in a home and an aunt offers to bring a plate – let them! Think through jobs – games, decorations, playlists, packing the essentials – and let people sign up for them. It becomes managing the tasks rather than completing the tasks.
  6. Send invitations early – it’s better to give guests notice than to send around information last minute. Whether you’re ordering formal invitations or sharing an evite, make sure you give your guests anywhere between six and ten weeks notice. Include a RSVP by date on your invitation to be sure you have a clear guest count. If you’ve never extended formal invitations before, make sure you spell check and double-check key details. You’ll also want to keep a clear list of who you invited, and track all responses in an organized way! I’ll share tips in upcoming posts on how to stay organized through a wedding. 
  7. Keep tabs on everyone’s emotions – as we all know, weddings are a very emotional process. Your bride might feel anxious about the shower, or there might be other dynamics going on. A common issue is the role of the groom’s mom. It’s easy for her to feel excluded from the shower planning process. See if the bride’s mom would be comfortable including the groom’s mom in some special way. On the other side of this, you might find that the groom’s mom has a long guest list, but no interest in helping! Just be sure you’re keeping everything even for your bride. I’ll share tips on how to do this in the coming weeks!

I’m a little salty about this…

As you may have read, I tried a new health move this week – adding Himalayan Pink Salt to my morning ounces.

The first time I tried it, I sprinkled the salt into the standing water and sipped away. It wasn’t refreshing – but I didn’t gag. In truth, I definitely need to do this for more days before I make a formal assessment, but I think I felt more energized the first day I drank it. We all know the mind is a powerful thing, though, and that the placebo effect is real. Real real.

Ultimately, I wasn’t impressed. I was expecting the water to taste refreshing – but I felt thirstier after. Maybe this is secretly the trick to getting you more hydrated! This drink makes you really thirsty, and therefore you drink additional water, thus hydrating you.

I don’t really think that – but hey, it’s a theory.

The second day I tried this, I added significantly more salt to my glass, then added water and stirred. I think I maybe had four mouth-fulls of water before I dumped it. I hate wasting food/water, but I really couldn’t stomach it. I tried adding water to the mix, and it didn’t dilute it by any noticeable amount. I even tried to chug it – but that was a no-go as well.

Although I’m hesitant to say it, I think this adventure was a fail. I’m going to look for more recipes and guidance on how to make this more manageable for my taste buds. I’ll definitely try this again, but not any day soon.

Salty Water

For anyone who has any sense of consciousness about staying healthy, you already know the importance of staying hydrated. It’s no surprising that drinking water is an essential part of life – and I think we’re all on the same page about how it’s supposed to help your mental health, your skin, your breath, weight loss…and the list goes on.

Recently, I’ve been hearing about Himalayan Salt and the benefits of adding it to your water.

Forgive me for being skeptical, but I’ve always understood that if you are lost at sea, you cannot drink the ocean water, because it has salt in it, and  you will just dehydrate yourself. It seems counter-intuitive to me to add salt – known to dehydrate you, or so I’ve always thought – to your water.

But hey, the point of this blog is to try new things – so here we go!

As usual, I start with a quick Google search. Try it – I typed in “Himalayan Pink Salt Water” and a gazillion results popped up about health benefits.

This NDTV Food article, “5 Benefits of Starting Your Day with Himalayan Salt Water (Sole Water,” shares just that – 5 benefits.

This particular article sites the benefits as: staying hydrated, getting vitamins and minerals, clearing skin, better sleep, and improved digestion.

This post from “Wellness Mama” also adds in detoxifying the body, weight loss, and boosting energy to the list.

All stuff I am here for.

But – is it true? How does it taste?

As usual, I’ve found step by step directions – but I’m going rogue and just going to add some sea salt to my water for the first try, and then I’ll follow the directions for the second day.

I’m going to follow the directions shared here, just to be authentic.

Trader Joe's Himalayan Pink Salt and 16 ounces of water

I normally have a 16 ounce glass of water as soon as I get up. Maybe I’m a weirdo, but I always use warm water for this. Some days I add mint, other days lemon – sometimes both. This week I’ll add Trader Joe’s Himalayan Pink Salt.

I’ll let you know how it goes.