Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tales from my Kitchen: The Perfect Poolside Lemonade

I spent the last few weeks working and vacaying in the Los Angeles area and my dear, sweet friends from WB allowed me to couch surf their home LA between work trips. It came equipped with this bad boy!

Well, one most certainly cannot lay poolside without the perfect summer beverage. I wasn't sure what I was in the mood for, so I let Pinterest answer that for me. After the c

reative juices started flowing, I created the Perfect Poolside Lemonade (PPL).

Here is what you will need:
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 cups coursley chopped fresh peaches 
  • 1 cup chopped fresh rasberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed recommended)
Get Ready:
Boil water, peaches, raspberries, and sugar. Reduce heat. Simmer for 3-4 minutes

Place mixture in blender. Allow to cool for 30 minutes then puree

Just a little longer: 
Refrigerate for 5 hours. (I did this overnight)

 Approaching Heaven:
Sieve mixture into a large bowl. I suggest 2-3 times due to raspberry seeds. 

You made it:
Add fresh lemon juice and stir.

Pour into an ice cold glass with fresh peaches and raspberries

What is your favorite summer drink?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Think and Wonder, Wonder and Think

It is time to get real and there is no easier way of saying it than with the help of the brilliant Dr. Seuss:
deep breath

Being on the road long term sucks. 

“You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go.”

There are so many things that you can lose.

Your phone charger.
Your eating habits.
Your ability to exercise.
Your social life.
Your sanity.
You. Lose. It.

“You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room.” 

It can become gruesome. When you lose it, you begin to question everything, no matter how well you think you know yourself.

Why you packed this pair of shoes over those.
Why you haven't dyed your hair pink yet. 
Where you are living.
Your relationships. 
Your life decisions. 
You. Question. Everything.

"So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left."

It has taken 1 year of extensive traveling to feel like I have truly lost myself. 
It has taken 15 days of vacation to give everything in my life a big questioning. 

 “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...” 

But you know what? When you lose something, it must be found. It could take weeks. It could take months. But it is there, waiting for you. Post your flyers, offer rewards, and check your local lost and found. 

“I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!” 

It has taken 1 weekend at home with my family to find myself.
 It has taken 1 day of reflection to see what I have learned from it. 

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” 

I am going to take these learnings, and my baseball bat, and get back on the playing field. I am going to get back to me. When I hear that fastball flying at me again, I am going to knock it out of the park. 

“You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!” 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Travel Essentials: Hotel Livin'

People always ask how I can manage to live in a hotel for months on end. 
I can give you the, 

"I traveled for 9 months last year, I just got use to it" 

answer, but I would be telling a white lie. 
You never really get use to it, you just learn to make it work.

The best piece of advice I can give is:

Let loose. Don't let the hotel, the idea of no kitchen, and everyone else's opinions get in your head. Make it your own space.

During my first tour, I moved every few days and shared a room. Making it my own space was difficult. Now, I stay in a hotel for weeks at a time and have the opportunity to personalize my room a little. Below are a few things that make living in a hotel easier for me.

1. Hotel pillows are hit or miss. They are normally too firm, just like their beds, so I bring my pillow from home. Trust me, if I could bring my bed, I would!
Buy Here
2. It never fails that early morning sunlight seeps into hotel rooms causing you to wake up before your alarm. If you already wake up numerous times throughout the night, and believe that every second of sleep counts, try a sleep mask!
3. Are you addicted to your DVR back home? Then you will want a digital a/v adapter for your tablet or laptop.  You may think this is not necessary, but when your trips last months and you work from your hotel room, you will be happy you invested in one!
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4. If you are like me and like to cuddle up with your pillow, your road boyfriend, Hulu, and a nice glass of wine after a long days work, then you will need a corkscrew with bottle opener. These are compact in size and fit perfectly in your luggage pockets. Store one in your suitcase between trips to ensure you have one once you arrive to your destination!
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5. My two favorite hotel essentials are things you will always find in my home. They both mean a lot to me,  and a simple glance at them can turn my day around. If you know me, then you have probably guessed this by now, flowers and pictures of Family and Friends. I believe that flowers feed the soul and can liven up a room, even one as dull as a hotel room. Pictures remind you of your support system back home and that no matter how hard it gets, they are always there for you. 
*A fun, cheap, space saver way to store your flowers on the road is to use your empty wine bottle!

My next two items are not those of personalizing your room, but essentials one needs to make the stay easier.

6. Powerstrip. Most hotel rooms lack power outlets. If you are like me, you have a laptop, two cell phones, a tablet, an e-reader, and so on. One or two outlets just won't cut it! You pick up a power strip on the cheap at the local grocery store!

7. Laundry bag. If you are at a hotel for more than a week, chances are you will need to do laundry. Those little plastic bags that are provide in the closet will break with more than 3 pieces of clothing. Again, you can pick up a laundry bag at the local grocery store for a few dollars, and it will save a LOT of hassle!
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What are some of your hotel livin' essentials?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Travel Essentials: Jet Setter

I will be hittin' the road in a mere 5 days. Did I mention it was for 8 weeks?

 Initiate panic attack.

So, during the upcoming days I will am going to share with you my travel essentials, and today is for all of my jet setting friends. 

1. Carry on bag! For my extended trips I like to carry a small duffle bag. Naturally, this will carry all of my essentials below. I have a Steven Madden duffle that I acquired from Marshall's. She has been wonderful, and of course, half the price!
Buy here
2. Comfortable shoes. I personally like my cowboy boots or Chuck Taylors. Let's be honest, security is a pain in our tushies so I make sure to wear shoes I can get in and out of in a snap. Sandals would be the easiest, but who wants to walk barefoot on that ground? Not this gal.
Buy here
3. Cardigan. No matter how you cut it, planes get cold. I always carry a little cardigan or light jacket with me. They stow easily, and can make a plane ride that much easier.
Buy Here
4. Water Bottle. Traveling dehydrates you. Why pay a bajillon dollars for water at the airport when you can refill your own water bottle for free? I suggest a filtered bottle. You never know how a city filters their water, or how it is going to taste. You may pay a little bit for a filtered bottle, but I promise it is 100% worth it in the long run!
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5. Toothbrush and toothpaste. You never know what could happen. Flight delayed, or worse, cancelled. Airlines lose your checked bags. You decide to eat those raw onions on your sandwich. All call for a toothbrush and toothpaste. You can Never be too safe!

6. Chap stick. Like I mentioned before, traveling dehydrates, especially flying. So care for those beautiful lips. My favorite is C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve, the apple flavor is magical!
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(ps. they are B2G1 right now!)
7. Portable charger. We all complain about our smartphones battery life, which can be no more! Someone smarty pants finally created a portable charger. The best thing about this one is that it is universal! I can use it on my phone, tablet, or ereader! We should all send a big thank you to who ever created this!
Buy Here
8. E-Reader. I love to read and I don't get a lot of down time for it making jet-setting a crucial catch up time. I prefer a back lit device so I love the Nook family, but I have heard WONDERFUL things about the Kindle Paperwhite.
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9. Nose cancelling headphone. Bose headphones are a lifesaver. I have a hard time flying with screaming babies and angry cats. Yes you heard me correctly, angry cats. You can listen to your music, watch tv/movies, or simply wear them to muffle the sounds around you. Big investment. Big lifesaver.
Buy Here
10. Document holder. I like to deal with one day through security so I typically check my purse in my bag. Therefore, I like to carry a document holder, or clutch will do, that you can toss in your carry-on bag. I want something big enough to carry my cards, my flight information, and any other essential personal information.
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What are your must-haves when jet-setting?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

On Repeat

Y'all, I have a problem. There are two albums that I just cannot get enough of.  They have been on repeat for way too long. They both draw me into a trance that I cannot seem to get out of, but in a great way. I could not even begin to explain what it is about the two albums, but I can honestly say that there is not a single song that I ever feel tempted to skip. 

The first:

Unapologetic by Rihanna

Top picks:
Lost in Paradise
Love without Tragedy/Mother Mary
What Now
Right Now

I have learned that this next album is either loved or hated. There doesn't seem to be much in between.

The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake

Top picks:
That Girl
Tunnel Vision
Let the Groove Get In
Blue Ocean Floor

Take the next 8 minutes to join JT's music video for Mirrors. I really enjoy this song, but the music video is what drew me in. It is about his grandparents, and long last marriage. You will not see JT for a little over 5 minutes, in which he catches his grandmothers wedding ring. Gives me tears every time. 

What song do you have on repeat?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

Well y'all, it's official: 
I'll be taking my talents to South Beach. 
Well, not permanently, I am also traveling to Houston, and New York City! 

It is that time of year again, where I will travel for an extended period of time for work. This time not only do I get to spend a few weeks in markets I have only spent a few days in, but I get to plan the events we will attend-the perks of a big girl job!

My first stop will be Houston, TX. 
 Naturally, I'm not too thrilled about returning to this market as I spent about 5 weeks there last year, but I'll make the most of it. After all, my Big Sis lives there now! 
Talk about a throw back...
Followed by: New York City
I have to the city numerous times, but I am thrilled to really explore on a level I have always wanted to. Double bonus: A lot of my friends have relocated to the City, or I have met some who have been living in the area most of their lives!

Our last stop...Bet you can't guess it!
I have some great memories from South Beach. The shopping and beach are great, and the night life is killer, especially on the pocket. But, the thing I am most excited about? The art distract. I hear it is amazing, and I am thrilled that I can finally explore the area!

Unfortunately, work will rule the schedule when I am in each of these markets, but having my first tour under my belt, I will be able to manage my free time a little bit better. 

I am very excited for this tour, and the new adventures it will bring!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Travel Essentials: Tea Infusers

I love coffee. But, with my recent endeavors into eating healthy I wanted to steer clear of cream and sugar, so I made the switch to green tea. I would be lying if I told you I did not flavor my tea with honey, but at least it is raw, organic honey!

Making tea at home is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy with my Keurig, but I cannot take her with me on the road. Most people would say, "No worries, that is what tea bags are for." Welp, this girl is not a fan. I always manage to break tea bags. 

So my solution? 
Tea Infusers. 
They are so dang cute, compact, and there is no way could screw this one up!
Check out a few of my favorites:
Rocket ship.
My number one means of travel. 
Tea Diver.
After all, I am a scuba diver!
Enough said.
Rubber Ducky.
The newest addition to the past year's travel collection?
Evil, yet compelling.
I cannot decide which one is the winner, but I need to decide quickly, I leave in 3 weeks! (more on that later)

Which one is your favorite?