Things I've Loved As I Traveled This Summer
Things I've Loved As I Traveled This Summer
Through a fluke of scheduling, I've travelled more this summer than I have in a long time. Scratch that, I vacationed more this summer than I ever have in my life. That feels bougie, and let me assure you, it WAS bougie and I had a great time. I had a spa treatment in Bath where Sebastiana rubbed hot oils on me and braided my hair. But now I shall return to my very regular life of waking up to Cy artfully decorating his crib with his own feces and wondering if can stay awake long enough to watch season 3 of Stranger Things (so far, no).
Anyway, I thought it might be fun to share some of the things I drew a heart around during my travels. Some of these are travel-specific and others are just, yeah, I think I like tea now?
I know people talk about their stupid Away luggage all the time, but guys: it really is that amazing. I took everything I needed for an entire week in England in the Bigger Carry-on (because I now ride hard for carry-on life). I get that forking out that kind of cash for luggage seems silly, but 1) lifetime guarantee and 2) you know what else is expensive? Buying a new suitcase at TJ Maxx every year and a half because American Airlines lost your luggage or broke a wheel or the handle. If you travel by air more than three times a year, it's 4000% worth it. I even started carrying the ejectable battery around with me in London in my fanny pack (also yes to the #fannypacklyfe) to give my phone a lil battery boost after taking 196 pictures of a 12th-century cathedral window.
So I like tea now?
My friend Emma (isn't it funny how you can travel for a week with internet strangers and suddenly if you decided to have another wedding, they would totally be your bridesmaids? You don't know their middle names, but they are now named in your last will and testament?), who is from Australia (also if you live in Australia and you need business support with heart, she is the best), told me that afternoon tea is a thing in basically every part of the world except for the States. I was today years old when I learned that every country has an afternoon snack and rest time and we do not. So begins my one-woman campaign to reignite the flame of afternoon snack. We're still in branding mode (I need something catchy, so HMU), but I have a feeling it's going to take flight. If not, catch me still doing it. All that to say, I found the act of making tea (or having tea made for me) and sitting down with a little spoon and some cubed sugar to be like a spa for my brain. I love it fancy, I love it non-fancy, I love it with scones in London, I love it with Mango Jo-Jos in the Popcast office. I'm a tea newbie, but I'm here to learn. I'm adding cream to tea. It's magical! Why didn't anyone tell me about cream in tea?! I love saucers now! When we were London, we had high tea at The Swan and they served your tea in these vintage Bakelite kettles and mine had "Anna" engraved on the side. If I had my bigger bag, I would have popped that Anna kettle in it and left an extra 40 Liz-faces on the table; it was precious. I've been scouring Etsy for something similar because ANNA! Anyway, I went to Fortnum and Mason's and procured some of their Smoky Earl Grey, their Elderflower green tea, and their Moroccan Mint (I did discover that Fortnum and Mason has product at Williams-Sonoma [it is unFORTCH still vurry expensive, but treat yourself] therefore us sloppy Americans can still partake in this fine tradition). So yes, I'm very INTO tea now.
For $80 and an interview at a slightly shady location downtown, I am a Pre-Check believer. If you fly even once a year (it lasts for 5 years), I think it's worth it. PLUS if you travel with kids, guess who also gets to go through Pre-Check? All those tiny people with their jackets and their shoes and their strollers. Plus I secretly think TSA is just a touch lax with the Pre-Check folks since they have your fingerprints and everything.
Well everyone, I'm at that age and weight where, if I want to look cute in a dress and walk around a big city all dang day, I need my thighs to not rub together enough to start a bonfire. While I did not have these shorts in London, I wished literally every waking moment that I did. I even tried to have them Amazon Primed to our guesthouse after the first day but alas, no dice.
Speaking of cute dresses...
I bought a couple before my London trip and ended up really loving them. This dress in the red print (you'll need a tank and slip for underneath as it is very see-through), and then this plain black one. These two dresses and my Madewell shorts were the only things I packed that weren't Universal Thread.
The life-giving power of creative women
My trip to London was led by traveller-par-excellence-slash-finder-of-beautiful-hidden-things Tsh Oxenreider and queen of the soul nurturers, Emily P. Freeman. Yes, friends. I died. I'm not even going to act like it wasn't a transformative experience because you'd all know that I'm lying. The other women on the trip were absolute magic, and I want to make sure you know about them. I already mentioned Emma (she of business support fame), but Annie B. Jones of Bookshelf fame, Erienne Jones of Some Call Me Crunchy fame, and Morgan Thomason of Winsome Paper Goods fame were also in attendance and these women are a force. Women working with kindness and passion and diligence and care in their places on this Earth, and it was so inspiring to be with them. I urge you to check out the work they do (Independent books! Caring for their clients! An amazing dry shampoo! Beautiful art!) and if you like what you see, support them. Their thoughtfulness about their work and the why behind what they do will never cease to amaze.
Kindle & Libby/Overdrive
Yes yes yes, I love the smell of old books and the feel of paper in my hands and whatever, but I also love not having back problems from carrying a bunch of books around. I know it's not romantic but I have tea to make me romantic now, so it's fine. I really liked having my Kindle with me, mainly because it enabled me to download a weird PDF about Westminster Abbey (that was free!) the night after our tour AND I can download books (and audiobooks!) from my library via Libby. I know this is not new news to literally anyone else, but it felt like a difficult concept for me to understand and execute, so I never did it. But it's a new day, I have confidence like never before, so I'm downloading books and audiobooks and drinking tea and putting cream in it.
I've been trying to find a signature scent for a bit now. Not necessarily because I like perfume (it honestly stresses me out because I once wore a lavender-scented Bath and Body Works spray and someone commented that it "smells like the inside of a tampon box" and I've JUST NOW RECOVERED)(also I have friends who get migraines around perfumed ladies and I want to be respectful of all olfactory-disabilities), but after I've passed, I really want my kids to get a hint of scent and be reminded of how much they love me. I read articles about how to wear perfume so one is not the odor-equivalent of a nuclear bomb (although for the record, I will NEVER spray perfume on my belly. I am not ever in a situation where my belly needs to be bescented). I took many quizzes to figure out what scents I prefer to smell like - answer: fresh and citrus (as a side note, I'm having a very citrus moment in my life as a whole: I have oranges everywhere in my house, I bought a lime tree, and I smell like a lemon). I bought two trial-sized fragrances: Replica's Under the Lemon Trees (which I loved but a tiny person who is no respecter of property broke it after about a month), and Atelier Cologne's Clementine California (which I also loved). When I was in London, Jamie had the brilliant idea that I should go by Jo Malone and find something I liked there, to commemorate the experience. I thought this was a great idea and really liked the Orange Blossom scent. They even engraved my initials on the bottle cap, which made me feel super fancy and not at all like the inside of a tampon box.
Fanny Pack/Belt Bag
As you know, I am very into that fanny pack life. I had this one, but it was too minimal for my needs (read: it didn't hold my phone, but I liked it AND it's on sale right now) and so I got this one, which I love. Anything to add more girth to my waist: that's what I always say.
Yes, I like Jane Austen now, I have fully repented to those who desperately tried me to see the light forever ago, and the internet at large, so we can move on with our lives. I mentioned in my Stories that I have an immersion plan to fully embrace life as an Austen-ite, and it is as follows:
1. Finish Jane's Letters (I have the paperback but this illustrated one is so pretty!)
2. Finish Jane Austen: At Home
3. Read Jane Austen: A Life
4. Read Persuasion
5. Re-read Pride & Prejudice
I have a phase II list, and don't worry, I'm sure it has your fave on it.