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Thursday, September 18, 2014

How to Fit Your Life Into a Carry-On Bag

Packing into a carry-on bag has forever been considered an old wives' tale in my opinion. How can one possibly fit their entire lives into a small, backpack-sized carry-on bag? This is a trick question. The answer is clearly no.


If you are familiar with RyanAir, you will know that some airline companies are extremely strict when it comes to their baggage size requirements and will charge outrageous fees if you bring a second bag. I'm here to tell you from personal experience that not only is it possible to pack for longer trips into a small carry-on bag that avoids these ridiculous baggage costs, but that you don't have to look like a complete hobo during your travels by doing such!

This is a win for everyone involved, because will you have mastered the art of packing in confined spaces and everyone else around you won't be horrified by the sight of your everyday appearance during your journey. 

So let's dive in and learn some nifty tips and tricks in order to accomplish this seemingly impossible task. If I can pack for 4 days in Paris in a miniature backpack, then you can pack your life into a carry-on too.

1. Limit the amount of bulky items you bring with you.

If your travel destination is someplace warm, then this should be a lot easier because you won't really be needing heavy coats and sweatshirts. However, if you are traveling someplace that is expected to have low temperatures, you will clearly be needing clothing that will not cause you to get frostbite and lose limbs (Nothing is more awkward than traveling with someone who's losing body parts). Try to bring one coat/sweatshirt that can be used over multiple outfits to maximize your storage. Another great discovery I made while living and traveling abroad was TURTLENECKS. You may think that these retro beauties have lost their charm, but they're easy to fold and very compact, making them packing wonders. They're also great to throw on underneath a coat and won't make you look like a walking marshmallow. 

WHAT NOT TO BRING: Big, bulky sweaters/sweatshirts that will take up a lot of room.

WHAT TO BRING: Light, slim turtlenecks that will provide warmth without taking up a lot of room.

2. Wear your bulkiest items on the plane.

Just as Joey from "Friends" depicts in the above photo, it's important to make use of what you wear while riding the plane in order to maximize the space you have in your carry-on. If you are choosing to bring a giant sweatshirt or sweater, wear it on the plane. I don't care how long the plane ride is or how uncomfortable you are throughout the flight because you will thank me when you are able to bring more of your belongings with you. 

3. Roll your clothes when packing.

When you roll your clothing, it is easier to fit more in your bag. Folding clothing (especially when packing into a backpack-sized carry-on) takes up more room, a.k.a. a huge no-no for your packing endeavors. So get like dough and roll those clothes. 

4. Bring clothing pieces that can be worn again with different outfits (and nobody will really know!)

Leggings are your new best friend. Black leggings especially can be paired with many different tops to create varying casual and more dressed up looks, and they are incredibly compact and easy to roll when it comes to packing. If you are headed to a warm destination that is going to warrant shorts, a pair of nondescript black or white shorts that are made from lighter material can also be substituted because they are still easy to roll and won't be bulky in the packing process. In addition, try to only bring one pair of shoes that can be paired with a variety of outfits so you can save room in your carry-on for toiletries rather than take up all of the room with another pair of shoes. If you are bringing jewelry, the same rule applies in which you should attempt to only bring one pair of earrings and/or one necklace. 

Here are examples of how I created four different outfits using the same pair of leggings, shoes, and jewelry: 


5. Pack all of your toiletries into baggies.

You will thank me when liquids don't spill all over your clothes. Trust me from personal experience, there is nothing that brings me greater joy than opening my bag after a long flight to find that "items shifted during flight" and created a wonderful spill (heavy sarcasm). 

I hope that these five tips gave you a better insight on how your are going to tackle the task of packing into a carry-on bag. No matter how many tips and tricks you receive, it is a process that one can only master once they've had to go through it themselves. So best of luck to you on your packing and travel adventures, the world awaits you.

Until next time,

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Art of the Selfie

If you want to write a novel but you hate reading, you probably won't get very far. The same logic goes for bloggers: If you want to own a successful blog, you have to read other blogs. So, taking my own advice, I often find myself perusing various blogs in my spare time. Thanks to the "Popular Posts" section of Bloglovin' (,  I was able to stumble upon a great post by "Helene in Between" that listed 30 creative blog topics one should try. You can check out her post by clicking HERE! All of ideas were interesting and fun, but one in particular stuck out to me.

Idea #2: Your Favorite Selfie and Why. 

I personally consider myself to be the selfie queen, and often find myself snapping a quickie regardless of where I am or who I'm with. Walking to class in the middle of campus? Selfie. Running at the gym? Selfie. Listening to a lecture in class? Selfie. I am virtually unstoppable when it comes to selfie mode. It only gets awkward when you forget your phone volume is up as you snap a pic, instantly taking you from incognito mode to broadcasting mode. 

I've decided to accept Helene's challenge and amplified the requirements.

I now present to you my FIVE favorite selfies and why. 

1.) The "I'm Trying to Catch Flies in My Mouth" Selfie

This picture was taken in Lagos, Portugal while I was studying abroad last year. The views and scenery were absolutely indescribable and it is an experience I will surely never forget. I like this selfie because you are able to catch a small, small, microscopic glimpse of the picturesque surroundings. Only a small peek though. The main star of this photo is my face, which is clearly more important. I appear to be somewhere in the middle of screaming out in pain and squealing with excitement. Maybe my mouth really is closed and I have an unfortunately large gap in between my two rows my teeth, just like when I was little: 

Wow, those are some jacked up teeth!

2.) The "I Got the Whole World In My Hand" Selfie

This fun little photo was taken in Morocco last year during my study abroad experience. Setting foot on the continent of Africa had always been on my bucket list, so finally being able to cross it off was a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. This particular selfie features the infamous "duck lips," a crime for which I am a repeat offender. What I like about this photo is that the duck lips aren't as pronounced as "in your face" as most duck lips normally are. In fact, what I truly appreciate about this selfie is the apparent effort to hold back those eager duck lips, creating a sort of "pursed lips" appearance. Having Morocco in the background ain't too shabby either.

3.) The "I'm Storing Nuts for the Winter" Selfie

For Selfie #3 I have decided to use my "Phone a Friend" lifeline. This selfie features my friend Hannah as we cheer at the Real Betis fĂștbol game in Sevilla on Halloween. There are a couple of reasons why I enjoy this selfie. One, I am no longer alone in my selfie efforts. Though most of Hannah's body is cut out of the shot in order to make room for the more important subject, me, her face is clearly in the shot and thus it counts as a dual-person selfie. Two, I decided to dress up for Halloween as a CIA agent. Wearing a coral scarf. In all fairness, at least no one would suspect me of being a secret agent. 

4.) The "What is Even Happening" Selfie

It was my 21st birthday. I was celebrating in Sevilla, Spain. I accidentally took a shot of absinthe. Quite a remarkable evening. 

5.) The "Monkey See, Monkey Do" Selfie

One of the most enjoyable activities I found while studying abroad was to take awkward selfies in front of pieces of artwork or statues. In said selfies, I would attempt to imitate the exact same expression the artwork was displaying. This particular selfie was taken on my last day in Sevilla, the day after my entire family flew in and my brother surprised me by visiting as well. They were all standing by, watching as this magical moment took place. My dad joined in on the photography fun and now has a picture of me taking this exact selfie. 

Until next time,