Tag Archives: travel

Easy Travel Wardrobe

Traveling with one (or two) bags turned out to be harder than I expected. After some shopping, editing and pinterest perusing, my 4 night trip down to Orlando created a wardrobe of mix and match pieces.

Green Capsule Wardrobe

Pieces I mixed all weekend:

L to R, Top: Dark blue skinny leggings, cutout yoga pants, black linen shorts, my “tiki” dress

L to R, Bottom: Ryan Adams t shirt, Dark green tank top, black sleeveless shirt, white oversized tshirt, green lacy tshirt, green crop top, gray cardigan

I somehow didn’t take many photos of the outfits but I learned how to mix and match on the fly and realized that I needed perhaps one more top and to leave the skinnies at home (it was hot!). I also threw in a comfy dress that can be worn as a dress or to sleep in, and it worked for both.  I kept the shoes to a minimum too by packing only a pair of Vans sneakers that I bought specifically to be nice but comfy for the trip.

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This is the outfit I wore for the flight down, opting for the Ryan Adams shirt (I mean, it has a cat on it!), gray cardi and the black linen shorts.  I also packed a large Marimekko print sarong/scarf and it was great to wrap up in when I got chilly and also was perfect for when I got a little chilly at the airport waiting to travel down.

Being the diva on the OTR radio show
Having fun in the green lace top at Mangos

Overall, I felt pretty awesome about packing all my clothes in a smallish backpack and making them work for the entire weekend. Have you every packed using this method? How did it work for you? Any tips?

Thanks for reading!


Taking First Flight


Shocking as it may sound, at the age of 29.5, I recently took my first flight.  Yes, it took almost 30 years to step on a plane and ascend into the air.

I was traveling from Chattanooga to Orlando solo and only had a few days to spend on my long weekend trip, so driving was out of the question, plus who wants to waste two whole days of a short vacay?

The flight out was on Allegiant and, despite an extra 2.5 hours at the Chattanooga airport (yay for outlets & free wifi!), it wasn’t bad at all. I’d watched some videos on youtube on the process and I was admittedly more nervous about going through security than getting on the bird.


One of the best parts of the delay in leaving meant we were flying after dark. For my first adventure, this wound up being awesome. Instead of being freaked out over seeing the clouds and ground, I was distracted from being scared by paying attention to the lights and watching as we flew over each city.


Take off wasn’t too bad and I went into it expecting what it felt like: just like riding a roller coaster going up. The best part of going from Tennessee to Florida is the time…a little over an hour later and I was finally meeting up with my friends. It was the ultimate distance saver. I also have to say that I’m already hopeful for my next set of travel dates down to Orlando to spend more time with these awesome people and check out what I can only describe as where I feel I belong. Not too shabby for a little trek that was an hour and change from home, right?


A Visit to Pulse, March 2017


I woke up June 12, 2016 and was scared. After a quick scan through my social media, I found out about the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.  The first thing that came to mind was a good friend and if he had been present that night. I knew he went out to some of the clubs in town and I hadn’t heard him mention it directly, but it was a possibility.

Thankfully, I sent a message and heard back pretty quickly- he was ok, but 49 fellow LGBTQ+ community members and supporters were not ok. This hit me hard.  The terrorist attack in Chattanooga in 2015 happened (one of the locations) 3 miles or less from my front door, the attacker lived in my in law’s neighborhood, but Pulse hurt so so so much more. I was close with someone who could have very easily been there- I found out later he only went Wednesdays. I am so thankful for this.

This month, I finally made my pilgrimage. I planned a visit to my friend and get shown the lay of the Orlando land- honestly I knew way too much about new building permits and roads that I’d never seen, so it was time to finally make it happen. On the top of my list was visiting Pulse and paying my respects to all of those taken too soon.

The trip finally came around and Orlando won my heart. Head over heels won my heart. Part of that is the community that I felt. On a Friday night, we planned to visit Pulse. As we drove through downtown, we went past the hospital and my friend pointed out the ER that people were taken to. My stomach was in knots. We drove a few more blocks to an area I’d seen on the news, that is until I couldn’t handle it anymore and had to turn the tv off the year before. We parked the car and as we walked towards the club’s parking lot, I told him “I might need a hug in about three minutes”.  He simply responded that we both would.


As we walked up to the fenced in building, I was surprised that I didn’t cry. There was no one else around at that point but there were candles burning, freshly lit. People had left many mementos of remembrance and sorrow and love and celebration. All along the fence were pieces of art that had been created specifically for this place. Visitors had written all along these and left messages of hope.

One of the things that sticks out so much to me is the speech that Lin-Manuel Miranda gave at the Tony Awards in 2015, which happened to occur on the same evening as the early morning attack. Lin gave an eloquent speech with the memorable sentiment of “Love is Love is Love is Love is Love”. I remember watching this speech as he gave it live on tv, tears streaming down my face.

On the top of one of the tarps, my friend pointed out where it had been written in large letters: “Love is Love is Love”.


I had painted a pride flag and carried it 500+ miles to find where I it felt it belonged. I placed it on top of a podium that had pictures of the fallen on the base and their names listed on the top. It was hard to read but their faces did enough talking.  My friend came over and pointed out where the door in was and where the bathrooms where that people hid out in. I knew I was really there but I didn’t feel like I was really there, just on the other side of that fence.


My friend hadn’t been even past the club since before the attack. I felt bad dragging him out there, but in hindsight, I am so glad that he was who I went to this place with. We hugged and held hands. I tried to somehow squeeze some sort of relief to him through hugs, but I’m not sure how well it worked. I do know that I was a lucky person to be able to support of a friend I care so deeply about in a moment that was harder than I will even ever know.

As we walked around, I took a few photos of the things people had left to honor those beautiful people that we lost. I couldn’t bring myself to take a photo of the club’s sign, though. I had seen it so many times on TV and photos and refused to take yet another image of it. I felt like if I took a photo, I was simply a tourist and seeing it simply because I was in Orlando. That would have bothered me more than anything else.

After about 20 minutes, a handful of people showed up (a Friday around 10 pm, mind you) and we decided it was time to move along. I made sure to tell my friend multiple times thank you for taking me to this place and for helping me go through the emotions I had, even from so far away.

It took some time to reflect on our visit, but I realized the next night, sitting by myself, looking at a lake at a Disney World hotel, what it left me with. Seeing the candles lit, people coming by to pay their respects and all of the words of encouragement and hope that had been left, it was about LOVE. Love and Hope.


We live in a world where bad things happen and people ban together sometimes afterwards. The feeling and everything I saw in Orlando is one of unity. One of the things my friend told me that night was how much the city totally came together when this terrifying act occurred. There were insanely huge crowds at the city wide memorial at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center to celebrate these lives last June. I saw the photos. I didn’t start to get the monstrosity of the size of things until I was riding through the area. I will never ever know the full monstrosity of these events, but I look forward to joining the Orlando community, being an ally, showing loving and doing whatever I can to make it a better place. I have felt if from afar, I’ve seen it felt by someone who is part of it and I hope to never forget what happened but remember and celebrate these lives and all of those they touched.  


A Visit to MTSU

After our weekend at GMX in Nashville, Loss and I took advantage of our Monday off work and made a stop in my old college town, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. We had lunch at one of my old favorites, Sir Pizza, and then took a little walk around the MTSU (Middle TN State University) campus with my friend from that still lives in town, Sarah.


We revisited some places in my past, and a photo in front of my first dorm, circa 2005, had to happen. Of course, I’m sharing a throw back picture here- down in the lobby, one random fall or winter night.


Peck Hall aka the English Department

I hadn’t been back on campus, pretty much, since I graduated with my undergrad degree in English back in 2010 and so much has changed. Granted, Peck Hall, where I pretty much lived my last two years at MTSU, has barely changed at all.


The blue horseshoe is outside of Peck Hall and is where they normally do the Raider Walk (basically a pep rally) before the football games. Yeah, I never really went to football games but twice, but it’s something I’m coming around to the idea of more now.


We also made a stop at Kirksey Old Main, one of the oldest buildings on the awesome campus, and made sure a legend was made come true.  I remember hearing on a tour of campus way back when that if you kiss your love on the steps of the KOM, it’ll be forever. So, well, we wanted to make sure that the legend is true.

After making Loss take another kissy photo, we ventured to find the new buildings on campus- one of which I didn’t even know existed! We saw the new science building- it looks like a crazy NASA building- and it’s super gorgeous inside- amazing!


Crazy Awesome New Science Building

We also took a little trek into the new Student Union building. It opened up a year or two after I left and, WOW, I’m glad to know that my tuition all those years helped pay for it. You guys, it was gorgeous.


Look at all this pretty wood & fancy restaurants!

So there’s the blast from my past. I feel like it’s been long enough since I’ve been at MT, so now I’m ready to be sentimental and love it. I picked up an alumni shirt while I was on campus and am looking to get an MT tervis at some point this fall. I’m even debating going to homecoming next year! I love my little adopted hometown of Murfreesboro and even though I don’t visit as often as I should, it’s a great place and holds a very special place in my heart.

Thanks for the tour, Sarah!






Hurricane Matthew from TN



So I’ve been a busy lady & it’s after 10 pm, aka after when I normally go to bed, but I’ve got to get these thoughts out…Hurricane Matthew has gotten me feeling super nervous.

Some of you might know that I’m a Tennessee resident & that’s where my sweet hubs & I live. I’ve never lived in Florida, but the idea of a huge storm down there is really getting to me. This is all (pretty much) due to twitter. I count myself as part of the Disney Twittersphere & have quite a few acquaintances & friends who are part of that community who actually live in central Florida.

So, cut to me being glued to the Weather Channel. I’ve been watching last night & tonight as well, crossing my fingers that atleast Orlando and the surrounding areas are spared & I don’t have to see my friends hurt or losing their homes or things with the massive waters.

It always trips me out to see places we have been or that we have atleast driven through going through a crazy event, but it’s started & everytime I hear Orlando, St. Augustine & a few more cities, it makes me just hope for the best & that everyone can stay safe.

Thanks for letting me get this out- I kinda needed it out of my head.





Podcast Review: TDR Now


Let’s just say it: I blame Chris & Patricia for helping convince me a Japan trip needs to happen. I’m in no means upset by this though (as you can probably tell). If it tells you anything, I found Chris & crew from the fantastic Tom Bricker at Disney Tourist Blog in his Japan trip reports & guides as well.

TDR Now is the first English speaking podcast about Tokyo Disney Sea, coming from Japan directly. The podcast, focusing on Tokyo Disney Resort (Tokyo Disney Sea and Tokyo Disneyland), is released biweekly (or sometimes a little more often) and focuses on current events, news and information at TDR and also other areas around Japan.

Along with all of the great, up to date info from the podcast, Chris, Patricia & their crew run TDR Explorer. They have some awesome trip planning information and I’ve already bugged Chris with a question or two with our trip planning process, which he awesomely answered. I highly suggest the guides & they’ve even got a little Shanghai & Hong Kong Disney content as well.

I mean, where else can I get my Gelatoni fix? You better believe it’s from TDR Now & TDR Explorer!

You can find TDR Explorer on Itunes, Google Play Store & also the RSS Feed. Also find TDR Now on Twitter for lots of awesomeness.



#Adulting: It Still Surprises Me

This is what adults look like these days?

I won’t lie, I still get surprised when I have those moments of realization that “Wow, you’re really #adulting now!”. At 29, these moments happen generally when paying a bill for something big that seems pretty stupid, but it’s always still empowering to have that moment of “yea, it’s taken care of & we took care of it”.

All of this is to say, despite my excitement to see My Morning Jacket in my hometown, Losson & I won’t be attending. We tried really hard to get tickets through the presale release on Thursday, but given the venue is so small, they were gone in a minute or two. Thursday night I got to looking more in depth at hostels in different cities around Japan and realized that the $150 I’d put in savings for the trip & then pulled out to spend on MMJ tickets could cover 3-4 nights on our trip. I’m not the best at it, but I did the math…

3 hours (ish) concert OR 3-4 nights stay on our 2 week long trip

So the hostel stay won out.

I talked to my mom on Friday about the whole thing & she told me what this was an example of: “Delayed Gratification”.

My response? “It really sucks”

But it will be so worth it.

So here’s to an exercise in delayed gratification (Yeah, I’m part of that generation that hates it, I guess) & #adulting. I’m honestly just proud to have something I’m so motivated by, particularly in the money saving arena.



The Ultimate Dream Trip: Japan

Japan. Let’s go!

One of the coolest things I’ve found in the past year in the world of apps is Periscope. It is run by the same folks who do Twitter & is an app to view & also take live streams & interact with others on that stream through a chat. The neatest part of Periscope is the fact that it is accessible most everywhere there is internet access. Feeling bored some time? Find a place on the world map & see if folks are scoping (streaming their live feed).

Using Periscope has helped me find interesting places & spark interests- specifically that of traveling to Japan. Scoper DaveInOsaka (you can view videos through his twitter account- it will lead you to Persicope) has taught me quite a bit about Japanese culture, food (YUM!), travel & everyday life through his slice of life videos. Learning what I have, along with talking to some friends who have traveled abroad to that area of the world, has led me to daydream about traveling to Japan.

(It has just occurred to me I should probably explain that Dave is Canadian & has lived in Japan for 15 years & teaches English to students at a university, hence he does his videos in English.)

I didn’t know until after I was knee deep into this new interest that Losson was also quite interested in the country as well & when he was growing up, that’s one place he really wanted to visit & possibly live one day. It’s so awesome how that just randomly happened.

We have talked about seriously visiting Japan & all the things we would do, all the places we would visit & all that we would eat (ok, that’s totally partially what I’d plan on doing) & hopefully can make a trek to the other side of the world happen in 2017. I’ve looked into many different AirBnBs all over the country & have a pinterest board chock full of places to go. The biggest part of funding the trip would be the air travel, hence the biggest reason we are going to have to wait a little longer to visit.

This guy moves around some up there & is in Osaka. (Source: gojapango.com)

We don’t just want to see Tokyo, either. I’ll save the list of specific places we are dreaming of visiting for later (you can see quite a few on my pinterest), but thanks to Dave’s videos, we’ve been able to learn about & see life in Osaka, Kyoto & other small places. Things could change, but the culture & daily life in Japan speaks to me so much at this point, I’d possibly be interested in teaching English myself over there at some point. But that’s after checking it out & seeing what we think is the best in the future for Losson & I. All I know is we’re getting passports this year for some other (hopeful!) travel & 2017 is definitely earmarked in my brain for a big trip abroad to Japan. Who knows where life will take us, but might as well give it all a good look, right?

PS There are also 3 Disney parks in that section of the world (Tokyo, Hong Kong & Shanghai). Tokyo has a cat, Gelatoni, as one of their big mascots. This might help the need to travel… just a little!

I’ve got to get to Tokyo Disneyland to see Gelatoni. They even themed the hand holds on the monorail to him! (Images from this twitter search)