Friday, December 19, 2014

Frock Fridays: Animal Print

The other day, as Jon and I strolled the West End - London's shopping district, more or less encompassing everything between Marble Arch and Covent Garden - marveling at the festive lights and decorations, I gave in to the pressure of all the pre-Christmas sales.  Actually, I was only really lured into one shop: Hobbs.  I'd perused all their dresses online when working on last Friday's blog post, so I didn't think I'd be tempted too much by anything I saw on the racks, but you know what they say about hubris.  Unsurprisingly, I walked out with a little bag on my arm and a big smile on my face.

I'm absolutely in love with the dress I bought - for £49 down from the original £99 - and, in fact, am wearing it today!  (I'm taking Jon out for part one of his Christmas present this afternoon.  Check Instagram later to see both the dress in action and where we're going!)

Hobbs animal

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

For Your Next Transatlantic Flight

Just in time for the last shopping weekend before Christmas, I'm posting a gift guide aimed at frequent travelers.  Except - no, let's not call it a gift guide, because we all have feelings about the proliferation of those on blogs at this time of year.  And, despite its theme, it's missing most of the usual things included on globetrotters' lists, like scratch-off maps and cork globes and necklaces engraved with coordinates.

So here's what it is: it's a collection of things that, in the past few years of making as many transatlantic flights as my wallet and work schedule would allow, I've realized would be super helpful to own.  If you do a lot of traveling, especially on airplanes and/or to international destinations, you might be interested in them, too!

1. When my suitcase went missing, a lot of you expressed "there but for the grace of God go I" sentiments.  If you're worried that your luggage might be misplaced - or that it might decide to go to Israel rather than join you in Barcelona, which happened to my sister a few years ago - you might want to look into Trakdot, a device just bigger than a deck of cards that you put into your bag which communicates its location via an app on your phone.

2. I have a few international adaptors that I bring with me whenever I leave the States, but I almost always end up charging my iPhone from my Mac when I travel.  This Fujifilm international plug can charge two USB cables when not being used as an adaptor.  No more toting my laptop everywhere just to make sure my phone stays juiced up!

3. Confession: I Skyped my mom the other day because I wanted to see Charlie.  It's always helpful to have Skype credit on hand, and I just learned that you can give it as a gift!  This would be perfect if you're in a long-distance relationship, travel for extended periods of time, or have family in far-flung locations.

4. Despite all the occasions while traveling when I wished I had a big fancy camera (and knew how to use it), I'm glad not to lug a DSLR around.  I do want to up my photography game a bit, though, so I have my eye on this olloclip 4-in-1 lens for iPhones.  It includes a fisheye lens, a wide-angle lens, and two macro lenses, and they just clip right onto your phone without taking up tons of space in your bag.

5. More often than not, I discover that my suitcase is overweight when I arrive at the airport and have to do a horrible awkward shuffling of belongings between my carryon and the bag I want to check.  A hand-held digital luggage scale would really help me pack appropriately before leaving the house!

6. I have never owned a neck pillow.  Actually, I don't think I've ever even borrowed a neck pillow.  I rely on airline pillows and whatever scarves and jackets I've carried onto the plane with me when I want to sleep on a flight.  I'd much rather use this bear, though, which unzips into a neck pillow when you need it for a snatched nap!

7. On this trip, I packed a cable for my iPhone, a cable for my Kindle, and a cable for my Garmin as well as the cable for my laptop.  As luck would have it, the one I want is generally the last one I fish out of my bag.  Life would be so much neater if I had this handy-dandy cord wrap to hold and display all of my cables in one place!

8. Remember what I said about my overweight luggage in #5?  In my perfect travel scenario, the only thing I bring on board with me is my purse.  However, I almost always pack an empty carryon-sized bag in the suitcase I'm checking just in case my bag is overweight and I need to transfer things to a carryon to lighten the load.  This LLBean duffle folds up easily and is lightweight, which means it won't tip the scales if it stays in my checked bag, but is also sturdy and handsome, so I'll feel confident carrying it around the airport if necessary.

9. When I was a kid, I loved filling out the paper luggage tags I'd find at airline check-in counters.  I've since grown out of that, but not all of my bags come with their own durable tags, so I need an alternative.  These clever Anne Taintor tags are perfect - one says "we all have our baggage," another says "think of me as 'unexpected turbulence,'" and the third says "are we there yet?"