Holiday Travel: the good, the bad, the ugly

Holiday travel can be unpleasant, to put it mildly! I hate traveling on the average day (the flights, not the destinations and experiences), but somehow the holidays amplify the stress and bring out a little extra crazy. I’m now flying home from the West Coast and opt for overnight flights to avoid losing a day at home or work, plus these flights are often less pricy. In an effort to make my travel as comfortable as possible, I’ve come up with a few tips and tricks that help me.

  1. Make a packing list: you’ll probably tell yourself “oh, I would never forget that..,” but there is nothing worse than arriving at your destination without underwear or the murder mystery you were halfway done reading.
  2. Packing cubes:
  3. Water bottle:
  4. Chargers:

Specific to overnight flights:

  • Pack a pillow! I recently bought a Turtl pillow (yes, I realize how silly they look). It is so important to have good neck support so you can sleep and wake up without serious neck pain when you arrive at your destination.
  • Take something to help you sleep whether that’s melatonin or a low grade sleeping aid; just ensure that you have enough time in the air after you take it so you are not too drowsy when you land. Depending on what you take, I like to have a minimum of six hours of buffer time after I’ve taken my melatonin or other sleep aid.
  • Pack socks–nothing is worse than cold feet! They take up so little room and will definitely be worth it.

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Will you be traveling this holiday season? What are your best travel tips?

Gratitude in Action

We talk so much about gratitude; usually we talk about expressing gratitude, but it often revolves around reflection–or events in the past we now feel grateful for.

But what about the gratitude of the NOW? Of the present moment?

I had a surreal day where I made a particular effort to be mindful of my gratitude in the moment, and it truly enriched my experience. Living in California has been both the scariest change and this biggest blessing in my life. I had the chance to go horseback riding along a beach trail and every moment felt like a magical gift.

Image uploaded from iOS (2)

I love horses. Sure, they smell and there are more flies, but these are wise animals. I feel a strange sense of security and calm when riding. It was a quiet, peaceful ride along near the beach, through a woodsy trail, culminating at a pristine beach.

Image uploaded from iOS (1)

We had to leave our phones behind (a wonderful exercise for living in the present) so while we couldn’t take great selfies, we could fully embrace the beauty and experience. I felt so calm, centered, and fulfilled afterwards and will continue to seek out experiences that force me out of my routine, cut me off from technology, and let me immerse myself in deep gratitude.

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Do you practice gratitude in the now?

Some Bay Area Eats (Part 1)

I moved to the Bay Area about a month ago and time has absolutely flown by! It’s been a hectic, fun experience and I’ve had the chance to try out quite a few different restaurants! I’ve found a few gems, and a few I wouldn’t recommend…

1. I’ll start with the not so good. While this isn’t a picture of the actual food, the food from The Third Eye Restaurant and Bar was not photogenic OR tasty. I think my sister enjoyed her Momo, but the other dishes, including tandoori chicken and an eggplant dish, were awful. We were surprised because the restaurant had fairly good reviews.

2. Maverick Jack’s caught my eye immediately; the building is right on the train tracks, has yellow trim, and looks like an old train station (which it is!). Luckily the food lived up to the cute look. The menu includes an assortment of interesting drinks and milkshakes–the strawberry lemonade was delicious and was made with plenty of freshly mashed strawberries. I ordered the southwestern salad, shown below, but everything was delicious.

3. We arrived in San Francisco with about 20 minutes to eat before our play started so this pick was based mostly on convenience, but it was delicious! After Osha was tasty and quick. I enjoyed my sweet and sour mushroom soup and we split fresh, tasty spring rolls.

4. I went out to eat with my cousins and they picked a great place in Burlingame–Steelhead Brewing Company. I am obsessed with jicama so I had to go with the southwestern salad, and it was a good choice! So fresh and so much food. Also, if you’re a fan of shoe string French fries–this is the place for you!

6. This Greek place Souvla was AMAZING. My friend and I spent like an hour deciding where to eat, and this meal made every minute worth it. I ordered the warm roasted chicken salad with fennel and she got the lamb gyro. Check out those pickled veggies!

Expect more good eats to come!

Travel+Eats+Emotions in Northern California 

My mom and I booked a last minute trip to visit San Mateo after learning this will be my new home! After leaving the house at 4AM Tuesday morning, we arrived in San Francisco exhausted, but ready to explore.

 

We took it easy and explored the area and looked at a few potential housing options before grabbing a late dinner in downtown San Mateo at Hummus. I thought it was just okay–nothing too special!

The next day just so happened to be my birthday, and yes I am feeling 22! So we went to Half Moon Bay, enjoyed artisan tea at the cutest coffee shop, went thrifting, and finally stopped at an adorable produce stand on the side of the road.

We also stopped at this great restaurant called Tres Amigos! I got the grilled chicken salad–I loved the addition of jicama and orange slices!

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Doesn’t this look so fresh?

That night we drove to Mountain View and met up with a dear friend who works at Google. He gave us a tour of the incredible campus–from snack bars to arcade rooms! After the tour, we grabbed a delicious dinner together.

A plate of goodies from the buffet style cafeteria!


The next day, Thursday, was just as busy with apartment hunting! After scoping out a few places I found one I loved and submitted an application, which was followed by a celebratory Whole Foods lunch! We went back to our hotel exhausted later that evening, got a quick dinner, then enjoyed popcorn, Questbars, and the show “Girlboss” on Netflix (we were not big fans of the show).

Delicious fresh lunch from the Whole Foods hot bar!


We certainly needed the night of R&R before our last day. We got up and went to more apartment viewings and then got the wonderful news that I had an apartment secured! I was so excited, but that also meant the move actually felt real…

*cue the water works*

So I completely lost it in the Smart & Final parking lot for a solid 30 minutes, but I am SO beyond excited for this new adventure. After my mini-meltdown, we got a delicious lunch in cutesy downtown Burlingame and eventually went into the city to see a show called Mortified before our red eye back home.

Thai Chicken Salad–this chicken was some of the best I’ve had in my life!


So much has happened within the past week; it is mind-boggling, but in the best of ways.

I think this sign I saw in San Francisco sums it up pretty well.