I’m a huge fan of day trips. It’s a chance to get away to a destination that’s right in your backyard. Sometimes we don’t get to discover some of the hidden treasures just outside of our home city because we’re so busy planning out adventures that require extensive transport and advanced detailing. Everyone deserves a mini-break from their lives, even if it is only 24 hours.
We leave for NYC for a week today and anxiety and excitement are running through my veins. I’ve traveled a lot this year and last year for my blog and social media which has been awesome! I’m grateful that as a family we’re able to take a long trip like this together considering that we moved into our new house in the beginning of the year and shelved the idea of any large (and expensive) family travel in 2018 due to adjustments that we needed to make in our budget. So for me, not only is this trip a much needed getaway for us to reconnect as a family, it’s symbolic to the hard work put in this year, being self-employed, to financially be able to do something like this.
This will be the first time my kids are going to New York and I’m so excited to share one of my favorite cities with them. Over the past few days we’ve been talking about all the things we want to see and do. Exploring the Met Museum, ice skating in Bryant Park, checking out Oculus at the World Trade Center, the view on the Rock, seeing all the window holiday displays, eating several slices of Prince Street Pizza (my personal favorite), and just soaking up the sounds and lights of New York.
My hopes for this trip…
As adults we are well aware of how much time, energy, and resources goes into planning a trip. I mean let’s be real here, being in a household where there’s two self-employed creative artists, money isn’t growing from trees. So I’m hoping that our kids will be grateful for the experience which I know they will, but traveling with kids can be stressful and challenging.
My other biggest hope for this trip will be that their minds can become a little more expansive by getting a taste of another perspective of life in someplace different. I think so often we’re caught up in our day to day experiences, problems, and routines that we forget to fill our hearts with gratitude, perspective, and compassion. One of the things all my traveling in this past year has really taught me was how to have compassion for myself when things go wrong or when plans don’t go accordingly, like missed flights or stress due to poor planning. Traveling has also opened up my mind to possibility that there’s so much more out there to see. I’m hoping that our daughters can taste a little bit of that after this trip too.
Your NYC recommendations
Last week on my Instagram stories I asked for some recommendations of places to see or check out during our family trip and a lot of you gave me some really awesome recommendations. I’m sharing them below!
Places to eat:
Negril’s in the Village - Savory Caribbean Cuisine
Rossaopomodoro - Neapolitan Cuisine
Russ & Daughters - One of Oprah’s favorite Brunch spots
Cafe Sabarksy - Viennese inspired cafe
Tao Downtown - Asian Inspired cuisine
Down the Hatch - Great little with the best Buffalo Wings
Catch - Creative Seafood
Cuba - Cuban cuisine
Pearl Oyster Bar - Oysters and seafood
Taco Mahal - Indian/Latin fusion tacos
Faicco’s Italian Specialities - Italian Deli
Best Bagel & Coffee - Bagels + Coffee
Beauty & Essex - New American Cuisine
Clinton Street Baking Co - Latin-Southern comfort food
Cookshop - Farm to Table
Jack’s Wife Freda - American Bistro
Rubirosa Ristorante - Pizza
Joe’s Pizza - Best NY style pizza
Don Antonio’s - Pizza
Fette Sau - BBQ in Brooklyn
Spotted Pig _ British & Italian Cuisine
Joe’s Shanghai - Dim Sum
Halal Guys - the real Halal truck on 53rd & 6th
Jacob’s Pickles - Southern Comfort Food
Eataly - Italian Cuisine
Magnolia Bakery for their banana pudding or cakes
Jeepney - Filipino Gastropub
Maharlika - Filipino Bistro
Pepolino - Italian & best Ricotta Cheesecake
Lucalis Pizza - Pizza in Brooklyn
Dr. Smood - coffee and healthy light bites
Sushi by Bou - 30 minute Omakase Speakeasy
Veselka - Ukranian food in East Village
Things to Do
Hope this list of places can help you guys plan your next trip to NYC. If there’s anywhere else you feel I should bring the kids that haven’t been mentioned feel free to leave me a comment below.
Keeping organized while on the road can be tricky and can cause a lot of stress regardless of whether or not you're constantly jet-setting or taking a trip once a year. Last year, I jumped on a plane 17 times for both work and pleasure. One of the greatest travel hacks I picked up during my travel were packing cubes!
Packing cubes are pretty standard in the world of travel, but not many travelers have managed to pick up this little life hack. I get it! It's not the prettiest when you try to recreate the many blogger photos of open pieces of luggage filled to the brim with the most Instagram worthy travel accessories. But packing cubes have been a stress saver for me and personally, I'd rather be mindful of my mental health by staying organized.
The benefits of packing cubes
I like to separate my workout clothing, my regular outfits, bathing suits, and underwear/PJs. This keeps my luggage neater and more organized especially if I need to zip it open during a layover. This also helps me from not overpacking when I can keep track of where things go in my luggage.
You can use packing cubes to compress your clothing for any trip. This is especially helpful if you're using a carry-on size.
Although I only use mine for clothing, you can also use them to separate camera gear, electronics, shoes, or anything else you want to store.
I know some people separate their clothing items with plastic bags or Ziploc bags. Nothing wrong with that, but we've slowly become a greener family and haven't bought plastic Ziploc bags for over a year and a half.
A majority of my travel these days has been for work and are typically short trips. What I love about my packing cubes is the ability to literally throw my packing cubes into the drawers of my hotel or AirBnb and I'm off to whatever adventure is on my itinerary. If there are no dressers available, all my clothes are neatly organized in my packing cubes and I can pull out what I need based on which cube is holding which clothing category.
How I pack with packing cubes
So now that I've shared why I love them and why I think it's a must need for everyone let's get into getting all packed up!
One other organization hack I recently learned was to store all my travel essentials in clear containers in my closet. This just helps with time management and efficiency because let's be real, NO ONE HAS TIME to dig out toiletries and beauty products from all their cabinets. I also store my packing cubes in another clear container. We have several packing cubes as everyone in the family uses them in their luggages as well.
Step 1: Lay out my clothes
I lay out all my clothes so that I know what I'm packing and can do a quick overview what I need to pack and what I don't need to pack. I tend to overpack on the bikinis/bathing suits anytime I'm heading to a beach destination, hope I'm not the only one.
Step 2: Get packing
As I mentioned above I like to separate my clothing. Activewear goes in one cube, regular clothes go into another. Skivvies, PJs, and socks will go into a smaller cube, and then my bathing suits will have a cube of their own.
3. Compress down
The beauty of packing cubes is the ability to literally press everything into a sweet little container. So fold your clothing neatly and pack it down.
4. Zip it up
Zip it up and call it a day, the toss it into your luggage!
5. Play a quick game of Tetris
The best thing about packing cubes is how neatly they fit into any luggage. You might find yourself playing a little game of Tetris if you prefer to have all of your clothes on on side of your luggage like I do.
Packing cubes are a life saver. The other thing that I love about them is that when its ready to pack up and go home, I separate the dirty items into one or more packing cubes and leave the clean items in another. This just helps when it comes to unpacking and doing laundry when I get back home. Last year I had some trips I had to take back to back so I left a packing cube filled with clean items in my luggage, washed the dirty clothes in one, and repacked it with a whole new set of clothes for my next trip! During trips when I have 2 or 3 days at home in between, this was such a game changer.
A few other travel must-haves
Travel sized cosmetics/toiletries
Stash all your travel cosmetics/toiletries for travel in other zippered bags. I like to compartmentalize everything when it comes to travel. My hair products will go in one little cosmetic bag and skincare will go into another. This is extremely helpful when it comes to unpacking at your destination or finding things in your luggage.
GUA SHA/JADE ROLLER
These are a must bring on every trip regardless of the duration. You can read all about the benefits of Gua Sha and Jade Rolling in a previous blog post.
Lo & Sons Fanny Pack
Fanny packs are back! I love them and this one, in particular, is great for traveling! You can use it as a clutch and remove all the straps. What I love is that I stash my lipgloss, ID, phone, and credit cards in it and it's easy to access at the airport.
Hope you enjoyed this travel hack. Share me your favorites in the comments below.
I love to travel, its probably one of my favorite hobbies and self-care practices and I'm so grateful that in 2017 I had the opportunity to really put on some miles and travel 17 times! As many of you guys followed along on Instagram I was just in Seattle, CA with EVEN Hotels checking out one of their latest property in Seattle, WA and let me tell you, they nailed the entire wellness centered hotel property to help #KeepYourGoodThingGoing.
Ever since nearly facing a divorce with my husband I’ve had to re-shift my thinking and redefine my overall health perspective. It’s not that I don’t believe in fitness or exercise these days, but I’ve had to evolve the relationship with it and change some things in my day to day life to make it work for me, my busy schedule, and the new family life we want to create.
When I first started this fitness journey I thought fitness meant working out 5 days a week eating clean all the time and performance performance performance! Little did I realize, I was becoming addicted to exercise and sacrificing personal time for meal prepping and personal records at the gym. It's so easy to become consumed by something that gives us results. I mean, of course, its no surprise that exercise makes you feel better, "Hello endorphin rush!" But what I didn’t recognize then was I was so hyper-focused on fitness goals that I didn’t realize what I needed to Live Out Loud Every Day was a combination of exercise, eating well AND living life outside of work and the gym.
Once weekends were consumed by multiple workouts in the day, are now replaced by finding hobbies outside of fitness like plant shopping and exploring my new neighborhood. This past weekend I went to Temescal Alley here in Oakland, CA.
Here’s a little day in the life (weekend edition):
7:00AM - wake up. Yes, I'm that crazy person who loves to wake up early on the weekends. I don't really remember the last time I slept in. #momlife
10:30AM - Check out the local plant shop Crimson Hort and to add some new additions to my growing collection. I have this growing obsession with plants.
Window shopped at a few other stores in Temescal Alley and found a jewelry that I loved from Marisa Mason which I walked away from because furniture > jewelry at the moment.
Toting around the perfect gym/everyday living bag, the Lily Bag by Lolë Women. The bag converts to a backpack and has a slot for a laptop and is durable enough to withstand adventures both in and out of the gym. Which is perfect for me because when I’m out an about its typically right after a morning gym session after seeing my kids off to school and there’s no time for swapping bags.
The Maelle Sweater by Lolë Women is one of the coziest sweaters I own. It;s lightweight and perfect as a transitional piece from winter to spring. I love the oversized look of it which is great for throwing on with a pair of jeans.
The Cayo Leggings are made from post-consumer waste such as fishing nets and is from their swim line which is Chlorine Resistant, Sunscreen resistant and has sun protection up to UPF 50+.
Piper Jacket, a packable rain jacket that's been my go-to for these spring days. Living in the SF area you never know when rain is going to roll right in.
12:31 PM - Lunch break, because exploring can make a girl hungry! Dona Tomas is a great little Mexican restaurant in Temescal Alley and of course, I ordered the Chilaquiles Verde because it's my fav! You can check out my recipe here.
2:00 PM - Get home and work on a few emails. The hustle never stops, but these days it doesn’t seem to bother me because I’m so in love with what I do. I have a standing desk which I love and from time to time you’ll catch me doing stretching or barre moves just to re-energize for the day.
4:35 PM - Get a little bendy and do a little yoga. One of the things I've realized is my body craves the deep stretching. So I roll out my Air Yoga Mat and bust some moves. The Air Yoga mat is made of eco-friendly material and has a non-slip surface on both sides perfect for the floors in our new house.
Yoga is one of those practices that I struggle with. I'll admit, I think it terrifies me because of the act of sitting still and quieting the mind. I used to have a meditation practice that I was deeply invested in, but moving took over our lives these past few months.
Now that we're settled into our new house I'm rededicating myself to more self-care, more physical movement, and more meditation. Lolë Women has a 21-day meditation challenge that I'm joining to reconnect to that piece of myself. You can sign up here.
The evenings are often reserved for family time, a little disconnection from the digital world, and trying to just BE. We often define LIVING as the need to be in constant motion. These days I feel like Live Out Loud Every Day means to be present, connected to those around you and your self, and to move freely through life loving and honoring your body. What does it mean for you?