What I Make

7 Days of {Easy + Scrumptious} Dinners

There are so many awesome food blogs out there containing tons of free recipes. Really we never have to buy cookbooks ever again, but perhaps we will to support Baptist churches or chefs we love or because we love real books with pages to dog ear and splash a bit of lemon juice on. I have a shelf full of cookbooks I love, but when it comes to planning dinner lately, I keep coming back to a few easy dinner recipes I stumbled upon online.

Here are seven of my favorite tried and true online dinners. For recipes, click the photo above each description. Put these on your fall rotation and enjoy!

 

Photo from jennysteffens.blogspot.com

Dinner 1: The Best Tomato Soup + The Best Grilled Cheese – Everyday Occasions

Alex and I have been on a tomato soup + grilled cheese kick for months now. It’s just the best combo. The soup is the best with fresh basil, though I have made it sans basil and with dried basil. And really any grilled cheese will do, but this one has THREE different kinds of cheese. I dare say you could serve this to guests.

 

Photo from wholesomeyum.com

Dinner 2: Healthy Taco Salad – Wholesome Yum

This salad is easy and so satisfying. It hits the spot if you’re craving Mexican food without being too heavy. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a time for tacos and rice.

 

Photo from southernliving.com

3. Eggs Simmered in Tomato Sauce – Southern Living

This dish is basically crushed tomatoes with seasonings, and then you poach eggs right in the sauce and top with cheese and herbs – delicious, simple and budget friendly! Serve with pita or naan.

 

Photo from wellplated.com

4. Healthy Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potatoes – Well Plated

First things first. Have you every made potatoes in a Crock Pot? GENIUS. This recipe doesn’t call for that, but what I do is place the sweet potatoes right on top of the meat in the Crock Pot. I made this dinner often in Houston on Tuesday nights last winter and spring when Alex and I ran with our track group. We’d come home late and so hungry to to this no-fuss, tangy, filling meal.

 

 

Photo from cafedelites.com

5. Slow Cooker Creamy Tortellini Soup – Cafe Delites

I usually shop at Aldi, which consistently carries (very inexpensive!) tortellini. It’s SO good in this soup. I usually use two cans of evaporated milk instead of three and it’s still plenty soup-y. You’ll love this.

 

Photo from therecipecritic.com

6. Baked Parmesan Garlic Herb Salmon in Foil – The Recipe Critic

Don’t you need more salmon in your life? This recipe has loads of flavor and is ready in less than 30 minutes. Roast an assortment of veggies – like cherry tomatoes, carrots, and asparagus tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper – on another pan while the salmon cooks. It’s so good!

 

Photo from gimmesomeoven.com

7. Chicken Pot Pie Soup – Gimme Some Oven

I don’t think this list can have too many soups. I’m convinced Ali of Gimme Some Oven is the smartest person alive. EVERYTHING I make from her blog is incredibly delicious, healthy, and totally doable. When you click on the recipe above, you’ll also find a recipe for Coconut Oil Biscuits. They are perfect with this soup. Her Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas and Baked Chicken Breasts are also favorite recipes of mine.

xoxo,

Sar

Share this post!
Facebook
Pinterest
RSS
Follow by Email
Google+
http://aninchofdaylight.com/?p=391
Twitter
Instagram
What I See

Favorite Things Friday

How is your week going? At any rate, you made it to Friday!

I’m still finding my niche as a stay-at-home mom with a very low maintenance baby. Ha. I have my joyful moments of seeing this time of not working before baby arrives as a short, sweet life season, which I am so very grateful for, and then other moments I feel a bit guilty  or pressured – by the enemy, not by anyone else – to have something fancy to show for my time. More than ever before I see how our culture glorifies busy and how I have totally been buying into it.

But lately, God is showing me that quiet and still is better right now. It’s a time to explore writing, to rest, to prepare for our baby, but ultimately it’s still a time to trust Him with EVERYTHING.

And of course, quiet and still yields fertile soil for enjoying those little gifts in life. Here are three I’m loving:

Library Card: These things are golden. Free books I don’t have to add to our already too big collection? Yes please. I just joined the library here and was so happy to find they have a ton of books on my to-read list.

Gallery Walls: If I can build gallery walls, so can you. I did one in my living room and one in my bedroom using pieces I already had. I didn’t spend a penny. Pinterest has some great ideas and templates. The main “rules” I took away for building a gallery wall is to a) use a mix of mediums like art, photos, shelves, and clocks, and b) use similar frames and colors to visually tie the mix together. I love the finished looks!

1 Pump of Pumpkin Spice at Starbucks:  So, a tall pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks comes with three pumps of sugary pumpkin spice. That’s a lot of sweet. (No judgment you if you like it that way.) And yes, yes, I too understand there is artificial junk in the beloved P Spice syrup. For when we can’t (or aren’t willing) to whip up our own at home, might I suggest the minimalist pumpkin lover’s version? I’ve been enjoying one pump of syrup in my drinks of choice this month, which have thus far been a latte, an Americano, and a steamer. I still taste fall, and I think it’s the perfect amount of sweet.

Happy weekending, friends. What are your favorites this week??

xoxo,

Sar

Share this post!
Facebook
Pinterest
RSS
Follow by Email
Google+
http://aninchofdaylight.com/?p=376
Twitter
Instagram
What I Learn

the happy hour LIVE! and Saying Yes

Have you ever stumbled upon a Best Day Ever kind of day? A day so unbelievably and perhaps unexpectedly splendid that you are totally in the moment, listening to every word, smelling every scent, tasting every morsel, enjoying every minute? I think these days can (and should!) happen more than once, but they are rare, and you can’t force them.

Friday was a Best Day Ever kind of day. My dear friend Ashley flew down from Illinois, and we  attended the happy hour LIVE! with Jamie Ivey just outside of Austin in Elgin, Texas. Since becoming faithful fans of Jamie’s podcast, Ashley and I have had this event on our bucket list. I am so grateful we had the opportunity to make it happen! The 30 hours we spent together after eight whole months apart was invaluable, and the event was all I had hoped it would be and more.

We got all gussied up, stepped onto the Pinterest perfect Green Acres scene, had our photos taken in the photo bus, talked with the gracious and lovely Jamie, noshed on a delicious Venezuelan dinner by Four Brothers in Austin, dove into our swag bags of so many goodies including Noonday earrings and a She Reads Truth Bible(!), and gathered under the stars with over 100 other women who love Jesus and love to laugh. (Side note: new bucket list item is to go glamping at Green Acres.)

In the words of Jamie herself, the night was “an amazing beat down.” It was one of those magical settings that made me pause with gratitude and awe at getting to be included. I felt pretty. I felt joyful being surrounded by lots of smiling women. Best of all, I felt community. Community is its own kind of fun. I need it badly. And God knows that.

In Annie Downs’ book Let’s All Be Brave, she writes about how she promised herself she’d say yes to all opportunities to be with new people when she first moved to Nashville. So lately, back in Tyler, God is sending this introverted girl opportunities to say yes to community – through going back to a vibrant, local church even though I haven’t tried all the other ones, through the local women’s Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) and through invitations to do this or that with new friends and with old friends passing through – a picnic, a meal at home, an impromptu visit to the zoo, even to babysit for an hour. Of course, I can and want to take the initiative at times to reach out to others, but how sweet it is of Jesus to give us opportunities to say yes.

What opportunities has He given you lately?

Share this post!
Facebook
Pinterest
RSS
Follow by Email
Google+
http://aninchofdaylight.com/?p=364
Twitter
Instagram
What I See

Favorite Things Friday: Harvey Relief

www.etsy.com/listing/555024097

My heart aches for those throughout the state who have been displaced from their homes, who have lost decades worth of treasures and tangible memories, and for those who have lost their lives in the hurricane chaos. This is a very real and continuing storm for so many. If you’re like me, it has been gut-wrenching to sit back and watch Hurricane Harvey wreck Houston and other parts of Southeast Texas. Houston was my home three months ago. I’m constantly thinking about my former neighbors, church, co-workers, my community.

One beacon of light we get to see is that, in the middle of all of this brokenness, people are helping people. They are linking arms in the name of community and love. What a sight for sore eyes. So, my favorite things lately are ways that we, ordinary people, perhaps people not physically affected by Harvey, can do extraordinary things. There are tons of ways to reach out and link arms, even if you’re hours or states or continents away. Here are three.

  • Give. Bethel Church of Houston, my former church, has a benevolence fund for Hurricane Harvey relief. If you’d like to give money and ensure it’s going fully to families who need it, this is perfect. Check it out here.
  • Eat lunch at an East TX Whataburger today. From 11 am – 1 pm today, 100% of proceeds at 32 East Texas Whataburger locations will be going to the East TX Food Bank for their Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Click here for info and the list of locations.
  • Purchase a shirt with a purpose. Through the end of September, all proceeds from the sales of Magnolia Market’s “Texas Forever” T-shirt will be donated to Hurricane Harvey disaster relief efforts.

We are praying for you, hurricane victims! Stay strong.

xoxo,
Sar

Share this post!
Facebook
Pinterest
RSS
Follow by Email
Google+
http://aninchofdaylight.com/?p=355
Twitter
Instagram
What I See

My Stitch Fix Experience

Gone are the days I enjoyed clothes shopping. What happened?! Maybe it’s that I feel clueless on what’s trendy or that I’d rather spend extra money on a date night or books or décor. Before I started my job in Houston in 2012, my sweet Aunt Tammy took me on a hunt for professional things – cardigans and belts and skirts.  I still wear a few tried and true items from high school (Is that terrible??), and any new clothes are deals my mom finds at T.J. Maxx.

After considering my last 10 years of clothing sources, it’s clear: I need a personal shopper. Enter Stitch Fix, an online styling service that mails five clothing and accessory items per order directly to your home. Translation: No shopping malls, no sifting through piles for hours, no dressing rooms. {And this is not a paid advertisement. J}

I received two Stitch Fix gift cards for Christmas and as of last month hadn’t used them. When I found out that Stitch Fix offers maternity wear, I placed my order earlier this month to see what they could do, knowing I’d soon need some maternity shorts and pants especially.

How It Works

After creating an account, you fill out a Style Profile, which not only includes clothing sizes but everything from what type of fit you prefer to your ideal price point to types of clothing you don’t want in your shipment.

Then, you select a delivery date. When your stylist puts together your box, Stitch Fix charges your account a $20 “styling fee.” But the $20 is credited back to you when you make a purchase.

The fun comes of course when the box comes and you get to try everything on! You have three days to buy what you want to keep and send back what you don’t in a prepaid envelope. Lastly, you provide feedback on what you kept or returned and why. If you choose to keep all five items, they give you 25% off your total.

My box arrived 3 days earlier than expected. Here’s what came:

  1. Fossil Crossbody– Oh how I loved this bag. It was priced at $138 though. I entertained the thought of keeping it, but then the practical side of my won over. There’s no place for a diaper, lady.
  2. Campton Maternity Knit Top – Fun shirt, great fit. I’m definitely a pink, black, and white girl but the combo and design was something different, and I liked it a lot. Priced at $48.
  3. Coretta Maternity Cuffed Shorts – This was the only item that didn’t fit perfectly; they seemed a little big and bunched a bit in the front. Still, they weren’t awful, and while I’d never seek out yellow shorts, I really liked the color. Priced at $58.
  4. Worley Maternity Skinny Jeans – These fit like a glove and were so comfy. I loved the dark wash, the skinny feel, and the cute, rough cut at the bottom. And of course, that hidden panel is everything. Priced at $88. That’s a price I usually wouldn’t go for – especially knowing it’s an item I’ll wear short-term. But this was hands down my favorite item and the one I knew I’d wear most into fall and winter.
  5. Kwenuke Short Sleeve Maternity Knit Top – With a solid navy front and a pretty floral back, this maternity top was as cute as could be! Priced at $48.

What I Loved

  1. I could “trust” the items. Again, trends aren’t really on my radar. It took the pressure off to know that every item was not only stylish but also personalized.
  2. I loved trying items that were out of the box for me like pattered shirts, as I tend to wear a lot of solids. And I never would have picked out yellow shorts, but they were so fun!
  3. The prepaid envelope made the return process super convenient. Free shipping always makes me happy.
  4. You don’t have to keep a monthly subscription going. You can simply place an order whenever you want.

What I Didn’t Like

Ultimately, the cost of these items prohibited me from purchasing more. My gift cards totaled $70 and I wanted to stay under $100 total. In the style profile, you can answer how much you’re willing to pay for each item. Price points range from “The cheaper, the better!” to $200+. I requested “The cheaper, the better!” for each category. I felt like my stylist sabotaged my 25% off potential by including that $138 bag. No hard feelings, though. I still love you, Quencie. In a perfect world, I would have purchased every item.

Would I recommend StitchFix? Absolutely, if for no other reason than it is so much fun to try on things that a stylist picked out specifically for you! And Stitch Fix is truly as close to effortless as shopping can be. I’d love to save up and try it one more time with a maternity clothes box.

Have you tried Stitch Fix? Did you like it?

xoxo,

Sar

Share this post!
Facebook
Pinterest
RSS
Follow by Email
Google+
http://aninchofdaylight.com/?p=342
Twitter
Instagram
What I Learn

Heart Hums on Trusting God Now

wonderfelle.com

 

trust

/trəst/ verb:  believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of.

synonyms: rely on, depend on, bank on, count on, be sure of

Shouldn’t trusting God come naturally to Christians? I sometimes think this and want it to be true. I belong to God; shouldn’t it follow that I trust him with what’s already his . . . me? At seven years old, I answered God’s tug on my heart, proclaiming to my parents, my church, and my own heart that Jesus is the best. Wasn’t I saying yes to trusting him forever, like a one and done kind of thing?

But some days, trusting God – with my today, with my tomorrows, with my finances, with my marriage, with my unborn baby, with every part of my life – seems so much easier than others. If I’m being honest, trusting God seems easy when life seems easy. But am I really trusting him in those times, or am I just relying on myself because it seems like I can handle things, all the while pretending that’s what trusting God looks like? (Of course that’s an illusion – I can never really “handle things” on my own.)

It’s in the challenging seasons when trusting God gets real. That’s when we lean into him, stare at his beautiful face because we don’t have the strength to look anywhere else, and see the grace he shows in giving us another breath.

I’ve had a song on repeat lately called “Hills and Valleys” by Tauren Wells. The chorus goes like this: “On the mountains I will bow my life to the One who set me there / In the valley I will lift my eyes to the One who sees me there / When I’m standing on the mountain I didn’t get there on my own / When I’m walking through the valley I know I am not alone / You’re the God of the hills and valleys . . . and I am not alone.”

I love these words. Whether we’re in the middle of the best time in our life or the hardest, we’re standing in God’s grace, and his grace is enough.

For me, this season of change is both a challenge and a joy, and so some days I feel like I’m looking out on top of a mountain and others I’m tiptoeing through a dark, cold valley. (The pregnancy hormones also may have something to do with these feelings.) I have this brand new opportunity to explore a new city, make new friends, become a part of a new church community, make a new home, and learn what it looks like to be productive without a job. It’s so exciting and so terrifying. And it’s much more exciting than terrifying when I choose to trust God. Here are a few verses from the Bible about trusting God. (All verses from ESV translation)

On Trusting God

“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26.4

“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’” Isaiah 30.15

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3.5

“Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” Proverbs 16.20

“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” Proverbs 29.25

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm 37.5

On God’s Trustworthiness

We’ve established the command to trust God. Here are some verses that describe God as trustworthy.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41.10

“The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” Psalm 19.7

“The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.” Psalm 111.7

 

What about you? Do you find it difficult at times to trust God? What does it look like for you to trust God today?

xoxo,

Sar

Share this post!
Facebook
Pinterest
RSS
Follow by Email
Google+
http://aninchofdaylight.com/?p=327
Twitter
Instagram
What I See

Favorite Things Friday

Happy Fri-yay! After such a heavy week in our world, I had to ask myself whether I believe it’s out of line, shallow, or mindless to write about something so frivolous as favorite things. And I have to say I think it’s okay. I believe it’s okay to keep writing about things other than politics and current events. Despite the evil and brokenness around us, there is still beauty and room for fun.

Summer and moving have brought some new favorites my way. I want to share!

1. Grove Collaborative

Grove Collaborative is the perfect one-stop shop for really great natural household products at affordable prices – from Mrs. Meyer’s Hand Soap to Tom’s Toothpaste and more. Use this link for $10 off your order! You can also sign up for a free 60 day VIP trial (that’s what I did) to get free shipping.

The photo above shows what I bought during a special Grove ran last month – spend $20, get 5 items free. So I spent $22 on Seventh Generation Dishwasher Powder, Method Daily Shower Spray, Mrs. Meyer’s Hand Soap Refill, Tom’s Mouthwash, and Bon Ami Powder Cleanser, and I received Mrs. Meyer’s Dish Soap, Mrs. Meyer’s Hand Soap, Mrs. Meyer’s Multi-Surface Cleaner, 2 scrubber sponges, and a cute dish towel FOR FREE. I’m telling you these items have been a game changer as I start out in a new apartment and as a mama-to-be. I enjoy using these products knowing they don’t contain icky chemicals.

 

2. e.l.f. Brow Pencil

Before
After

This is the best makeup purchase I’ve made in years. I heard one too many times about how filling in eyebrows (but not overdoing it) provides a polished look and is easy to do, so I decided to try it out. I found that I’m no pro yet, but I like it a lot! One end is a brow brush and the other is a pencil. The best part: This puppy is a super sweet $2 at Target!

3. Triplus Fineliner Pens 

These pens were actually a pre-summer find and birthday present from Alex, but I really started to use and enjoy them this summer. I love pretty pens. These are so fun for bullet journaling, and I tried them out in this little hand lettering project, which now hangs in my bedroom:

What are some of your favorites lately?? I’d love to know!

Share this post!
Facebook
Pinterest
RSS
Follow by Email
Google+
http://aninchofdaylight.com/?p=303
Twitter
Instagram
What I Learn

Friendship Born in Houston: Celebrating Moriah


It’s been so fun sharing some of my friends with you these past couple of months! As I reflect on my season in Houston and transition into a new city, I am more grateful than ever for good friendships and for how God has brought such awesome ladies into my life.

As a wrap to this little series, I want to share Moriah with you. Moriah and I met through church in 2012 and were roommates the six months before Alex and I married. She is the reason I volunteered in the middle school ministry, as she nudged me about it one too many times until I gave in and roped Alex in too. 😉

Moriah is a friend of strong convictions, and I love that about her. Her convictions aren’t just faith related, though her beliefs are unshakable. She also feels strongly about the goodness of cats, Houston, Bruce Springsteen, and more. She values quality time and has taught me to do the same. She loves people so well. She answers the hard questions thrown out by middle school girls with wisdom and truth every time. It does my soul good to be around her, and while I’m sad to no longer live in the same city, I know there are reunions in our future. Below is a little more about this super fun friend. Her recent reads are now on my what to read next list!

Occupation: HR Coordinator at Francesca’s

Years in Houston: 27 years in greater Houston area!

Favorite Thing About Living in Houston: The food, shopping, breweries, and my family!

Biggest Houston Pet Peeve: Traffic.

Recent Reads: Hamilton and Seeking Allah Finding Jesus. Next up is Between Heaven & the Real World.

How She Recharges: Reading on Saturday mornings.

3 Things She’s Loving: Succulents, my new book light, and cats.

Share this post!
Facebook
Pinterest
RSS
Follow by Email
Google+
http://aninchofdaylight.com/?p=298
Twitter
Instagram
What I Learn

Friendships Born in Houston: Celebrating Heather

I took a little hiatus on sharing some of my beloved Houston friends, but it’s just not fair to keep Heather from you any longer.

Heather and her husband, Michael, are the two most selflessly hospitable people I know. They don’t just host people in their home occasionally or halfheartedly; they host friends multiple times a week, spending their time after work cooking or Saturday mornings making coffee for their super fun IHOC – International House of Coffee. Think brunch + as many different kinds of coffee as your caffeine meter can handle + hanging out with old friends and new. That’s my kind of event. Their home is a safe place. It’s a place where people get to choose their own mug to sip from and where conversation flows effortlessly.

Michael and Heather host a community group each week, and Alex and I were blessed to be part of it for 3 years. On weeks when we couldn’t make it, Heather would still text me during prayer time asking how she could pray for me that week. In fact, she still does that now, and I am grateful.

In short, Heather makes Houston better. She has made my life better by inviting me to open up my real self in conversation and prayer in her living room, even though she knew I was just passing through. And she has taught me much about the beauty of hospitality. Meet Heather!

Occupation: Geosciences Analyst Coordinator for a petroleum consulting firm (it’s Houston – gotta love oil & gas!)

Has lived in Houston: All my life except while in the promised land of Aggieland 😉

Favorite thing about living in Houston: I think Houston is a great place to live! We have a strong economy, the conveniences of a big city, access to culture, diversity in the population, and fantastic restaurants. OH – but you asked for a favorite…oops. If I can just pick one, it has to be the restaurants.

Biggest Houston pet peeve: Honestly, I struggle with the fact that a lot of people don’t stay. I’m finding that a lot of people are “just passing through.” A lot of my favorite people have left or are leaving… a side benefit is that my husband and I have a lot of places we can travel and visit friends! Sar’s note: Tears. But Heather and Michael now have a place to stay in east Texas!

What Heather is reading lately: Weeeeelllll, I don’t actually have much time to read, so I listen to audiobooks while I’m driving or walking. I’m working through another “Bible in a Year” plan, I just finished a listen through the Harry Potter series again, and I’m listening to The Reason for God by Tim Keller. I have started Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and I’m looking for another good fiction… any suggestions? 🙂

How she recharges: I love to travel! It is my favorite hobby, but it isn’t always practical. On a regular day, I recharge by having a cup of coffee in the lawn chairs with my husband or by spending some quality time with good friends playing a board game. On my commute this morning, I spent the time praying for a few of my friends instead of listening to a book, and that was pretty refreshing, too.

3 things she’s loving: God opened my eyes to the fact these recent months are a really sweet time and I should enjoy them as much as I can. I’m thankful to have realized that during the sweet days and not after they’d already passed. 🙂 We have two couples who are good friends of ours leaving in the next two months, so I’m loving opportunities to spend time with them. I’m also loving my workouts, and I’m loving spending a little extra time with my husband.

Share this post!
Facebook
Pinterest
RSS
Follow by Email
Google+
http://aninchofdaylight.com/?p=242
Twitter
Instagram
What I See

Australia Recap + Top 5 International Travel Tips

Happy summer! I’m still pinching myself after our Australia trip. I want to remember every city we drove through, every hug, every sense of “Ahhh THIS is what I missed,” every good meal, every adventurous day.

I’d been aching to return to Australia since I left in 2012, and we decided this summer would be the right time for a big trip in celebration of Alex’s graduation and before moving to Tyler for Alex’s new job.

At 8 weeks pregnant, 20+ hours of travel didn’t seem ideal, but I have a hunch our baby bear enjoyed the trip. Though I definitely tired more easily, I never got sick and felt mostly great throughout the whole three weeks! All praise and glory to God for that. The trip went smoothly and was so much fun – minus missing our flight from Brisbane to Melbourne the day before we left Melbourne for the U.S. Then I lost my Kindle later that day. No one was hurt or hospitalized though, so I call that a win.

After staying the first week in Mornington catching up with friends, we went on a two-week road trip across Victoria to Adelaide, through Wagga Wagga to Sydney and up to Brisbane with stops along the way in amazing, picturesque little towns . . . totaling 2,500 miles on the road! This map shows where we drove:

From Brisbane, we flew back to Melbourne, stayed in Mornington one final night, and then Sue and Rod took us to the airport in Melbourne the next morning. Whew! We made it back to LA exhausted and elated.

Looking back a few weeks later, the trip was as memorable and as meaningful as I prayed for. And now that our family is growing, I am all the more thankful we were able to get away for the journey. While all international trips are different, and I am by no means a travel expert, here are 5 tips I wanted to share to help make your next trip smooth, safe, and tons of fun – wherever you go!

1. Get your hands on a guidebook. We purchased Lonely Planet’s Australia guide at Barnes and Noble in the spring to start getting ideas. It was a huge help in finding restaurants and things to do once we arrived in a particular city.

2. Plan ahead, but not too much. While we booked things like plane tickets in advance, called our bank, and researched the best way to pay for things so there wasn’t an exchange fee, we planned and booked almost everything else while in Australia – usually just a day or two before. Maybe it had to do with visiting in winter instead of summer, but there were plenty of Airbnb options in our price range that we booked the day before. And Alex and I aren’t into a super structured vacation schedule, so this worked well for us.

3. Treat yourself right during an international flight. One of the best things to do before and during a flight is drink LOTS of water and little to no coffee or soda. If this means you have to get up several times to go to the bathroom, just think of it as bonus stretching time. I also try to avoid bread and other foods that make me feel less than light on long flights. And when the cabin lights go off, I brush my teeth in the bathroom to make it feel like bedtime, then put on my eye mask and try to sleep several hours. My sweet husband let me wear his compression running socks, and I didn’t have any swelling in my feet or ankles. (He did. Sorry Al.)

4. Pack purposefully. I didn’t do this well and packed way more clothes and shoes than I needed. And I realized 2 weeks into the trip that those skinny jeans didn’t appeal nearly as much as yoga pants while 10 weeks pregnant. When we arrived at the airport, our friend Ian gawked at our large suitcases. “What’d you bring all that for??” he asked. He had the same reaction six years ago. Ha.

Along those lines, be sure to look up the maximum weight per checked bag allowed by your airlines. We ended up paying extra on top of the original fee in Dallas because one of our bags was over Spirit’s 40 lb. limit. We only checked Air New Zealand’s 50 lb. limit. But if you’re packing minimally in the first place, you’ll probably avoid this issue.

5. Choose to relax and have fun. Enjoy the time off work exploring a different part of the world. Take a chance on that Airbnb on a banana farm. Wander to the nearest park for some exercise and views of the gum trees you don’t have at home. Talk to locals. Everything won’t go perfectly, but if you choose to be content and grateful despite whatever bumps come along the way, you will truly be able to unwind and create memories to last your whole life!


Share this post!
Facebook
Pinterest
RSS
Follow by Email
Google+
http://aninchofdaylight.com/?p=247
Twitter
Instagram