The last few weeks have been packed with travel, including trips to San Francisco and San Diego, so I thankfully have had some time to sit down and really enjoy reading. Reading is one of my favorite things to do on trips – even business trips – as I don’t count on airplane wifi to be anything but abysmal even before trying to VPN into my corporate network. Outside of my trips, I unfortunately haven’t had a lot of time to read this month, so this list is pretty short and was all read in the past two weeks. Thanks to Krista at Covering the Bases for the inspiration (read: reminder) to write this post!

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

I decided to pick this book up after seeing it in Zoe Sugg’s book club list last summer. I read a couple of the other books from her selection, and enjoyed how light and entertaining they were and thought this would be the same. I also wanted to make sure that I read this prior to the upcoming movie adaptation as well, because I tend to be one of those kind of people who like to compare movies to the books they were based upon. Aside from the fact that this was well reviewed and well liked enough to merit a movie adaptation, I didn’t know much about the plot when I turned the first page. Similar to books like “We Were Liars” I think this is the best approach, so I won’t go into too much detail. I enjoyed this read and read it in just over two hours in one sitting. Take that as my review and run with it.

Worth the Wait by Jamie Beck

I mentioned in an earlier post how much I enjoy the idea of Kindle Unlimited. Why wouldn’t a voracious reader like a service that allows unlimited reading for a few dollars a month? Well – in theory that is true, but in practice, a lot of the books that are offered as part of the program are a little ridiculous. I’d be lying if I said I never read a free book that was about Scottish time traveling witches (true story, it was so bad that I can’t even name the book), but every once and a while you run across a good read that just happened to be free. This is the case with “Worth the Wait.” Am I smarter for having read this book? Nope. Did I feel transported to Block Island in the summer time? Yep, absolutely. I loved how this book made me feel as if I were also on summer vacation with the St. James family. It reminded me of childhood summers in Martha’s Vineyard, and I can’t complain about that as it continues to drizzle here in Seattle until June. This was a fun read, that is super similar in feeling to Emily Giffin’s “Something Borrowed”, which made it even more enjoyable and helped me to further pretend to be at the beach and not freezing cold in the Pacific Northwest.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Speaking of movie adaptations, this will make the best rom com we’ve seen in a while if it is made into a movie. As a woman who has had a crush on at least a couple of male coworkers, I could totally relate to Lucy Hutton as she slowly realized her feelings for her arch nemesis coworker, Josh. There’s something super fun about having a crush at work, and it was really entertaining to relive those feelings while reading this book. I’m not going to say that I didn’t find Lucy a bit childish throughout the story – Smurf collections? Constant (literal) games? But I’m also not going to say that we don’t all have our quirks either. I will say however that I found myself awake finishing this book at 2am on a work trip after having been up for a grand total of 22 hours straight. Thorne did such a great job of building that “will they/won’t they?” tension that I couldn’t put this book down.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

It’s 2011. I’m skipping class. I’m sitting in a twin bed in my studio apartment in Lugano, Switzerland in my pajamas. I’m live streaming the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Fairy tales exist. Prince charming is real. Dreams do come true. I decide to get my hair cut like Kate Middleton. I wonder why I didn’t study abroad at St. Andrews…

This book brought me back to that moment. If you know me even a little, you’ll probably know that I’m a little bit in love with all things British. So a novel about an American exchange student falling in love with the heir to the throne while at Oxford, that was loosely based on the real life romance of Will and Kate, is obviously right up my street. I may have read this book while sitting on a beach in San Diego, but I felt as if I were in Oxford with these characters. This month’s book theme must have been “novels that could be a rom com someday” and this one definitely fits that bill. I loved the main characters, but its supporting cast really made the story. Similar to the friends in “Notting Hill” or “Bridget Jones’ Diary” the friends of the main characters added a lot of depth to the story without adding too much fluff. I highly recommend this novel if you’re looking for a bit of escapism in the form of a modern day fairytale.

Currently Reading: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

I really haven’t had a chance to start this one yet, but it is next up on my Kindle. I’ll let you know how I get on with it next month! What other books do you have to recommend?

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This week I’m jetting off to San Francisco for a quick work trip. I can’t wait to go meet with co-workers that I hardly ever see, and will be heading straight from the airport to the office as a result. I am super into the idea of bringing only a carry on (or two), in order to decrease the amount of time I have to spend at the airport both before and after my flight. I really don’t have the time to get to the airport early just to check a bag – this time around I’ll have to leave my house at like 5am to drop the pup off at boarding, prior to making my way over to the airport for a 7am flight. Morning struggle, I’ll see you on Thursday.

 

The Bags

I am in. love. with my AWAY carry on and my Lo. & Sons OG weekender. The combination of the two bags allows me to pack for well over a long weekend, and provides plenty of room for me to tote all my work stuff along with me.

 

The OG

This would be considered my personal item, though I could probably pack for a three day trip in this bag alone. While it has Mary Poppins like qualities, it is small enough to fit under the seat on the plane and still allows for plenty of room for my feet to stretch out. I like to keep all the things I’ll need during the flight in this bag, which may or may not include my computer if I’m planning on getting WiFi or not. If not, then I’d rather keep it overhead. Other things that I’ll keep in this bag include: wallet, phone, keys, headphones, kindle, a sweater or scarf, and my toiletries/makeup bag.

I just got the Bose QC30 in ear bluetooth headphones and can’t wait to see how they do on a flight. As I’m writing this, they are canceling out the noise of Brodie chewing on his bone, so I’ll give them a thumbs up already.

I also love to travel with my Kindle. Most of the time, trying to use my laptop on the plane results in me feeling like I’m invading my neighbors’ space with my elbows as I type. Thus, a Kindle is a perfect way to pass the time in the sky. I devour books, often like potato chips, so Kindle Unlimited is a lifesaver. I love that I can read as many books as I want, and don’t feel like I’m breaking the bank. Quite a few best sellers and popular books aren’t included, but that’s okay.

In my toiletries bag I always keep makeup wipes, face lotion and lip balm. I don’t really like flying with makeup on – the plane air turns my skin into a dry and flaky, yet greasy and shiny mess – so keeping my face clean and hydrated is a must, even on short flights. Before landing, I’ll wipe down my face, moisturize, and then go about putting on some makeup. This is especially important on early morning flights like the one I’m taking this week, where I’ll need to go straight from the plane to the office.

I love that this bag easily transitions from a carry on to a work/laptop bag. I never know what my seating situation will be as I arrive in new offices, so it’s good to have all the essentials for the day in one place.

 

The Away Carry On – 

What I keep in my carry on suitcase is pretty self explanatory – clothes and odds and ends I won’t need in flight. Since I’m bringing everything along with me, I also don’t feel nervous about keeping some of my valuables in my suitcase. I will likely put my jewelry, camera, and lenses in this bag, tucked snug in some sweaters, as the hard sides and built in lock of the suitcase will keep it protected. I also won’t need to use the camera in flight, either, so there’s no need for it in my other bag.

As far as clothes go, I am a big fan of rolling clothes and packing cubes. I’ll roll up outfits and place each in a packing cube to keep things organized. My favorite feature of the Away Carry On is the compression panel on the right hand side. Unlike my previous suitcases, the compression panel actually compresses your clothes. I can fit an entire week and a half’s worth of clothes in just the one side of the case thanks to that panel! Earlier today my colleagues balked at the news that I would not be checking a bag on an upcoming 5 day trip, but I know that it’s easily doable in this bag.

I’ll also keep my cords and chargers in this bag (with exception of my iPhone cord). Even though the Away carry on features its own battery for charing small electronics, I always pack an external battery for while I’m out and about on my trips… You never want to find yourself in a photo op but without phone battery to post on Instagram or Snapchat! Other cords I’ll need are my camera charger and of course, my laptop charger as this is a business trip.

This bag also includes some seriously heavy duty spinner wheels that can take bumpy walkways, but most importantly have withstood even a few collie nibbles. While it can pack quite a lot inside, it’s sadly still too small for Brodie to stow away in (though he tries)!

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I definitely have been feeling the travel bug recently. For Christmas, I was so excited to receive an AWAY carry on suitcase, and a Lo&Sons carry on bag… Now I can’t wait to put them to good use. Here are a few of the destinations I already have planned, and an incomplete list of where all I’d like to go this year. 🙂

 

Domestic

San Francisco, CA –

Okay, so I am trying to parlay a work trip into a long weekend in San Francisco/Northern California. I actually have a few places I’d like to go in this region – Napa, Monterrey, Big Sur, Yosemite National Park… the list could go on. I also want to try to snag tickets to see Hamilton in San Francisco, so that may be a trip as well so I can be “in the room where it happens”. I have one trip planned next week, and hope to spend my Saturday taking photos and shopping for a bridesmaids dress for my friend’s wedding in July.

 

San Diego, CA –

I had drafted this post a while ago, and knew that I would be going to San Diego at some point early this year. However, I didn’t know it would happen quite so soon! I had a last minute trip to San Diego for work, and spent the weekend chasing sunshine and shorelines in Coronado and La Jolla. I’ll be going back down there soon, so I can’t wait to explore Balboa Park, Old Town, and maybe go out on a yacht to whale watch! I’m going down in early March and plan on spending my down-time in the sun on a sandy beach at the very least.

 

Washington, DC – 

I’ll be in DC this spring for my Grandfather’s Funeral. He was in the Air Force in World War II, and will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. While the reason for going is quite somber, I am very proud of my Grandfather’s service during the war, and am glad that I will be there to honor his life with the rest of my family. I was last in DC in high school for a future lawyers summit (lol), and as it has been quite some time, I’m hoping to visit some of the museums and monuments whist I am there.

 

Austin, TX

One of my best friends is getting married in July, and I will be in her wedding as a bridesmaid! This is actually my first time being in a wedding, and I cannot wait for all of the festivities to begin. I moved to Seattle from Austin two and a half years ago (!) and have been back only three times since. This year, I’ll be going back for a weekend spend wine tasting in the Hill Country for the bachelorette party, and then again for the wedding itself. I can’t wait to see my friends and see how much the city has changed. I’ll also be a red-eye flight pro by the time this is all said and done. The flight schedule between Seattle and Austin is seriously lacking… but it will be so worth it! 🙂

 

International Trips

Banff, Alberta, Canada – 

I think a road trip from Seattle to Banff this summer would be fabulous. I have had several friends go, and would love to bask in the beauty of Lake Louise and the Fairmont Chateau. It’s about an 8 hour drive, so it would be great to stop somewhere along the way, too. IF I go on this trip, I’ll need to find dog friendly options, as I think it would be awesome to bring Brodie with me. His instagram game will be so strong. More research is needed…

 

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (again) – 

I went to Victoria for a day trip with my Mom on one of my first trips to Seattle, and LOVED it. However, we spent a lot of time allowing me to photograph/admire harbour seals for hours. I would really like to visit the Butchart Gardens and spend the day photographing/admiring flowers instead. The Victoria Clipper high-speed ferry makes this a super easy day trip from Seattle’s waterfront.

 

Australia – 

This one is totally dependent on work things, but there is a possibility that I will be able to go to Australia for a second time. Last year I went to Melbourne for a week long business trip, and sadly didn’t carve out much time to explore. While my reasons at the time were totally valid, this time around I’ll want to extend my trip by a bit in order to see either more of Australia or New Zealand, or Fiji…? The possibilities are endless. I loved what I saw in Melbourne last year. I’ll need to do a post about that trip, as I surprisingly didn’t do much with any of the photos I shot due to work and life craziness at the time.

 

Scottish Highlands –

I read that Scotland is a great place for solo travel, but if I’m being honest, the scenery and cinematography of the show “Outlander” was really all I needed to convince me that Scotland needs to be on the top of my list. I love driving and taking trips on the the open road at home, and I’d love to see Scotland and its castles, lochs, and mountains by car in the fall this year. I have a few friends who have been recently, and have had only the best things to say about their time in Edinburgh. While I’m there, I’d like to explore the city, learn about the history of the highlands, take copious photos of landscapes,

 

Iceland –

Who wouldn’t want to go on a trip to sit in a hot spring under the beauty of the northern lights? Sounds pretty ideal to me. Add in the panoramic beauty of glaciers, mountains, and fields dotted with Icelandic Horses, and I’m all set for things that I want to see, photograph, and commit to memory. Flights to Reykjavik from Seattle aren’t really all that expensive on Iceland Air, and they have a program where you can extend your layover in Iceland on your way to/from Europe. The idea of a two-fer on my UK trip sounds like a great idea.

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I, like so many others, love avocado. On toast, on chips, in sushi, on any type of taco imaginable, alone with a pinch of Tajín… you get it. I very clearly remember my first experience with an avocado. I was about 6, and wondered how a fruit could be green and not even sweet. To say I was perplexed by this contradiction was an understatement. This skepticism lasted throughout my early years, but when I finally did give those little green fruits a chance, it was love at first bite.

 

In addition to being delicious, and a versatile food appropriate for any dish, avocado is amazing for you. It is a healthy source of fat, is a solid source of fiber, and has even more potassium than a banana. I love to keep these in my kitchen whenever possible.

 

However, living on my own, I find that I often miss that perfect window of opportunity to catch my avocados at their ripest, ripe-but-not-too-ripe, state. Or I’ll buy avocados and just get too many, and can’t eat them all before they turn to brown mush.

 

I’ve done some research, and can’t wait to try freezing avocados. Yes, it is possible. Here’s a quick how to, and some tips that I will be trying as I try to save the ‘cado.

 

  • Before freezing, wash the outside of the avocado and thoroughly dry.
  • You can freeze your avocados in two ways:
    • Cut the avocado in half, drizzle on some lemon or lime juice to prevent browning, and place each half in a freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible.
    • Pureé the avocado as if you were making guacamole, or in a food processor for a smoother consistency. Mix in some lemon or lime juice to prevent browning, and distribute the mashed avocado into portion sized, freezer safe containers.
  • To thaw your avocados, place the frozen fruit in the refrigerator overnight, or for about 6 hours.

 
No matter which method you choose, you’ll want to eat the thawed avocado shortly thereafter, so have your toast or tortilla chips ready! ¡Buen provecho!

 

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Last weekend I spent some time in San Diego following a quick trip for work. After spending my Saturday in Coronado, pretending to stay at The Del, I had a few hours to kill on Sunday prior to heading to the airport for a late afternoon flight. My hotel was in La Jolla, so I thought I’d take a quick Uber trip to La Jolla Village and La Jolla Cove.

I had a quick lunch at Duke’s, and followed that up with a stroll along La Jolla cove to walk off all of that seafood. I am a huge animal lover, so imagine my delight upon discovering that there were sea lions, seals, and birds everywhere. The sea lions were not at all bothered by the paparazzi line of fellow tourists ogling them and taking pictures. Every time I’ve seen sea lions in my travels, I can’t help but take a moment and just watch them laze about. They remind me so much of my dog! It cracks me up that they love to sunbathe, and don’t like being disturbed while napping (like my parents’ dog). I was so happy to get to see not one, but two pups hanging out with the rest of the adults. I’d like to think that the pup highlighted below was having a good snuggle with its dad.

 

I kept walking along the coast and came to Children’s Cove, where a bunch of seals were sunning themselves on a sandy beach. There is a long sea wall that curves to create the cove, and the waves kept crashing hard enough to soak whoever stood on the end of the wall. It made for some great photos 🙂

 

 

This little guy came and landed on this lifeguard box, and seemed to be keeping an eye on the beaches below. While he took his job seriously, I can’t say that I trust a seagull to keep everyone safe.

 

 

About a mile and a half down from where I started, the shoreline opened up into a mixture of flat stone and sandy beaches. On one of these beaches, I briefly thought a rock was a massive turtle. I sadly was mistaken…

 

 

I loved being able to pass the afternoon just walking around and enjoying the sunshine. This has just made me so excited for summer to come in Seattle, and for more adventures in San Diego in the coming months.

 

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