The first thing I should say is that I am not much of a bag lady. Sometimes I do look like a homeless person when I make a last minute run to the grocery store, but that's a whole other post. What I mean to say is that I'm not really into bags or purses and that Birkin bag episode of Sex + the City was completely lost on me. That being said, in summer 2013 I purchased my first what I call "adult bag" which meant I thought about it for months and it cost more than I normally spend on a plane ticket. It's a poppy Michael Kors Hamilton that I adore. And since it was a splurge for me, I hope and pray it lasts me for a very long time.
This summer before I went to Paris I wanted to make one more adult purchase and get a cross body fold over bag. This was important to me because I wanted a bag that I would feel safe traveling with, especially in crowded areas. I thought a fold over bag would be harder for a pick pocket to get into than my normal shoulder bags that just hang open. It literally took me three months to pull the trigger on splurging on another purse, but I have to say that it was completely worth it. I felt much safer and wasn't worried about someone reaching in and pulling anything out. Everything felt tucked safely inside.
Here are a few fold over bags that I'm loving right now - some "adult bags" and some that are classic yet inexpensive:
Is there a fold over bag in your future? I hope so. Have a good weekend everyone!
I'm very far from being an expert in European travel but I have learned a few tips (mostly through making mistakes!) since my first trip abroad 16 years ago. Here are just a few things I wanted to share from an American traveler visiting Europe.
1. Take money out of the ATMs - when I took my virgin trip 16 years ago, I remember my parents helping me prepare by going to the bank downtown and getting foreign paper money as well as travelers checks. Oh travelers checks. Remember those? Well, now that we're in the future and computers rule, I recommend taking cash out of the atm once you reach your destination. This way you don't have to worry about traveling with large amounts of dollars to change over to the local currency. ATMs can usually be found in baggage claim at the airport, just remember to watch those fees on your card.
2. Learn to say hello - you don't have to learn entire languages or fill your brain with as many words as possible but at the very least, learn to say hello. It will get you far. Locals will appreciate it. I've spent a solid chunk of time using the Duolingo app on my phone, which teaches you to read + say a lot of words or phrases in other languages. Give that a try before your trip.
3. It's ok to fly cheap airlines - when I was first traveling through Europe on my own, I was really hesitant to book anything on the smaller airlines that I wasn't familiar with. I only wanted to use the bigger ones I knew and trusted. The name EasyJet sounded a tad sketchy to me... how easy are we talking here? However, these smaller European airlines can be just as trustworthy and can be an absolute steal. (EasyJet is delightful, in case you were wondering!)
4. Take a train - the train system is a underrated method of transpiration in the US but it's very well utilized in Europe. They run heavily throughout many countries and to multiple big cities, with stops at little ones on the way. Plus the Europeans are masters of the bullet trains, which not only can provide you with a great view as you but get you there in record speed. I took the Eurostar under the channel from Paris to London in only two hours. Can't beat that now can you?
5. Reach out to a local - if you don't know anyone in the city where you're traveling, have someone put you in contact with someone they know. Facebook or Intstagram can be such a huge tool for this. In my opinon the best part of visitng Europe is getting to experience the wide range of cultures. Being given the insider tips from a local is priceless and by far the best way to make the most out of visiting a new country. Plus, you'll have a translator! Huge bonus along with the possibility of lifelong friends around the world.
I also recommend the Lonely Planet series of guidebooks. The little pocket size ones have long been my go-to's and I love looking at their little rainbow spines sitting on my bookshelf, reminding me of places I've been. Bon voyage!
Don't forget to check out My Best Tips for Traveling Solo and Five Tips for Taking a Long Term Trip to Paris (or Anywhere Else in the World!) A lot of the tips found on those posts crossover as well.
This post could have been called Never Not Working. Or Always on My Phone at the Pool. Or I Can Expense This, Right? I travel a lot. I work a lot. And as a freelancer + business owner, I am always working when I'm traveling. Always. I thought I would do some semi-personal and honest posts about combining work with travel and how I make it happen (or not) in my world.
I'm not shy about saying that I think I have the best job in the world. I get to design stuff, I get to create stuff, I get to share stuff. And it affords me the freedom to travel whenever I'd like to. Which I am happy to take advantage of for as long as I can before I have other responsibilities that limit my travel. The best job in the world does have its disadvantages along with the perks and one of them is that I am always working. There's no set hours, no five o'clock peace out, no set two day weekend where I feel good about work not entering my brain.
Years ago I went on my very first trip to Miami with a successful business owner. I distinctly remember going down to the beach to stand with our feet in the ocean, taking in how beautiful it was and thinking we were having the most romantic time. Then I looked over and he was on his phone, checking his email. Oh man. I judged him so hard. Fast forward to now owning my own business, having people that I am responsible for, products that I want to be top quality - and that's me. Feet in the ocean, eyes on my phone. Checking sales, placing orders, responding to customer emails.
I sleep with my computer next to me in bed. I get anxiety about being away from my email while on long flights. When I'm traveling I skip places I want to get out and see because I need to type up a blog post to go up in the morning. Every photo taken gets cataloged in my brain for future use - blog, scrapbook, mini album, Project Life, oooh ooh what am I going to do with this picture of a my latte art? What time of day should I eat lunch so that I'll have perfect light to snap a picture? It's a freaking funny life. I'm a freaking funny person. But I signed up for it all. I made my life my work and in turn my travel my work. The pros though? Yeah, they kick the cons' ass right on outta here.
You may see me traveling. You probably will never see me working. But I am. Using my hotel bed as an office and plane tray table as a desk.
I know it's not Friday yet but I miss posting great links on my old Five on Friday posts, so I thought I'd bring it back. A little Five on Tuesday, if you will. Here are some cool things I think you might enjoy.
1. How Powerful is Your Passport - how do you think Americans rank on the freedom of International travel? This infographic show you just that.
2. Searching for 'Anne of Green Gables' on Prince Edward Island - this article from the New York Times is delightful. Anne is one of my all-time favorite literary characters and the two mini series are in my top watched + beloved still at this age. I visited Prince Edward Island when I was just a little kid and reading this piece has me itching to go back.
3. 80 French Style Lessons to Learn Now - Refinery29 dares to say that Paris just might have the best street style in the world. It definitely was fun to flip through this slideshow. What do you think? Oui or non?
4. Schoolhouse Electric - when I was in Portland a few weeks ago, Katie + I spent the afternoon in this store. Best place ever. Portland, you rule.
5. Watch Second Graders Eat a Seven Course Tasting Menu - this has been making its way around the Interwebs and I think it's hilarious. They say how they really feel about a $220 per person meal at NYC's Daniel and it's adorable.
I'm so excited to release my first self-paced e-course: Snap, Sketch, Scrap! I've spent the past couple of years taking and teaching a variety of online courses and one of my goals is to start doing more of my own. There are some exciting plans for things I'm putting together and if you would like to see any topics or courses in particular, I'd love your input.
Snap, Sketch, Scrap focuses on a topic that I really enjoy teaching - sketches. It is full of inspiration to help you get and stay motivated. The course is made up of eight lessons that are broken down into three projects (at least two layouts and then a third layout or Project Life spread.) You'll also receive a corresponding sketch for each layout along with bonus spin-off sketches. With a total of nineteen layouts, five double page 12x12 Project Life spreads, and thirty-two sketches you'll be ready to snap, sketch, and scrap on your own!
The e-course is hosted on a password protected private blog, with unlimited access at anytime. You will also receive a complete PDF of all thirty-two sketches and two bonus full page PDF printables. The workshop is designed for you to work at your own pace and refer to the information whenever you need it.
You can purchase Snap, Sketch, Scrap in my shop right here.
I also updated the shop with my new Travelogue kit (I love this one a lot!) and have put in some downloadable items as well. Every month you'll be able to purchase the digital files for the stamps plus there are printable cards that coordinate with Travelogue. I hope you enjoy all the new items and thank you as always for your support!
I lost track of what day it is and someday I'll have it all together and post when I mean to post but this is all to say I've got a shop update on Monday morning at 11am EST. And it's a goodie. Hope you all have a great weekend!
Just one of the things I miss about Paris are my frequent trips to Merci. You might know it as the shop with the little red Mini out front. It was about fifteen mintues from my apartment and I would pop in quite often. A fantastic three floor concept store, it's a wonderful place for inspiration.
I took a few photos on one of my last stops in. They had just switched the floor to a more autumn feel and I especially loved the new clothes they brought in. Layers layers layers. The mannequins did a great job of convincing me I needed a thick new scarf.
Upstairs is a small stationary section with a lot of great travel items. My favorite part of the store of course.
A trip to Merci isn't complete without a stop in the Used Book Cafe (with floor to ceiling walls lined with books - dreamy!) The Cinema Cafe next to the shop is also one of my favorite places to take friends. Hours were spent eating salads, couscous, and their fabulous charcuterie plate. Oh Merci, how I miss you so.
In contrast to my trip to Copenhagen, I fell in love quickly with Prague. I visited back in July and my next trip there will have to be in the winter - I hear it's a completely different (and enchanting) city. Over my four days, I had very little sunshine but that didn't bother me. I walked all over this gorgeous city, deciding it was one of the most beautiful places I've been.
Prague is an extremely inexpensive city and the best thing you can do there is free - walk around! Taking in all of the architecture and historic buildings was wonderful. I literally walked around with my face up in the air so I could look at the tops of buildings. Each one more intricate than the next.
Prague was one of the very few cities I've been to that I didn't step foot inside a museum. I simply walked and ate (and ate and ate!) There was no shortage of things to see. I walked up to the castle on the hill, which provided a perfect view of the city.
I can't wait to go back, for so many reasons. I have a full list of fantastic food recommendations (and one of the best cups of coffee ever) but I'll save that for another post. There's just so much in Prague to love.
Don't forget to check out my Prague scrapbook in this post on Putting Together a Travel Binder.
My cute + creative friend Liz Kartchner tagged me to do a little Q+A blog tour. I haven't done a post like this in a while but it's great timing to share some fun stuff that I'm working on. Here we go...
1. What are you working on right now? So many projects in progress in this fun factory. My October kit will go up in my shop on Monday, October 13th and the December kit will go up for preorder on Monday, October 20th. They're both awesome, if I do say so myself.
I've also been making layouts. Layouts! This week I've got a brand new e-course that will go up for sale with eighteen layouts along with some Project Life spreads and tons of sketches. It's been fun to actually scrap in 12x12 again. Also down the pipeline are some really great workshops for 2015. Super excited about these.
2. How long does it take you to create a project? Layouts right now take me about an hour (down from hours, I mean hooooours, in the past.) A Project Life spread takes a bit longer but only because I print my photos at home as needed and this takes me a lot of time.
3. What are my favorite things to create with at the moment? My Second City line from BasicGrey. I picked a color line that would be perfect for autumn pages and I keep reaching for the embellishments like leaves + feathers. I love seeing what you're making right now using it too.
4. How do I become inspired and stay inspired? It comes and goes in waves. I get super inspired by traveling. Being somewhere new, spending time with people who motivate me to be a better business owner/creative person/writer/documenter/maker. I think that's been the key for me recently. I've traveled almost non-stop and gotten to have long talks with friends who are crushing it creatively in their own lives. I leave feeling so energized and inspired.
For more tips on inspiration from me, you can check out Inspiration Live - which is an online even that Amy + I are hosting on November 1st. More information can be found here and my class kit is now in the Studio Calico shop.
5. What is my signature style? Graphic and bright. Lately lots of layers. No kids or babies, it's all about me around here.
One more thing to note, I am teaching new classes using Second City this month at two of my favorite locations. You can join in the fun at Paper Tales in San Diego on October 18th (details found here) and at the Scrapadoodledo retreat in New Jersey on October 25th (details found here.) Hope to see some of you at one of these events!