Photo Friday

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For this trip to Taos, I didn’t bring any hair product. I just put my hair in a bun after I showered. About four hours later, I took it down to see what it was doing naturally. Apparently, my natural hair looks a lot like Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds, circa seasons 2-5. I caught a glimpse of my hair plus Ray Bans in a store window, and I had to take a picture. I guess it’s an easy, go-to Halloween costume. I just need a crossbody satchel, a revolver, and some statistics about serial killers.

Maegan

Photo Friday 

I took this at the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque in October 2015. This was the first time I was able to make it to the park in time so I didn’t have to watch the take off from the highway. There’s something magical about hot air balloons. Maybe that’s because I have no idea how they work. Which is perfect so I can stay curious.

Happy Friday, friends!

Maegan

Travel Tips: Packing Lightly

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My favorite way to travel is the cheapest. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I will sacrifice comfort for the cheapest price every time. This makes Spirit Airlines perfect for me. They get you from A to B without charging you for all the extra stuff you don’t need. How much are we really paying for that child-sized cup of Coca Cola and peanuts? These options are still available on Spirit if you’re in the mood, but I like the idea that I don’t have to pay for things that I don’t need.

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That being said, Spirit charges not only for checked bags but also for carry on items. If you’re going to have a carry on or a checked bag, don’t forget to purchase those online BEFOREHAND. If you don’t, they charge about $100 when you get there. They do allow one personal item which can be a small purse, bag, or backpack. On a recent extended weekend trip to Dallas for a friend’s wedding, I opted for the small backpack. Here’s everything that I packed into the small backpack:

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-Pair of wedding heels from Modcloth
-Winter thick green dress, also from Modcloth
-Old Navy jean jacket circa 2005
-Formal Belk dress found during my trip to be worn at a future military ball (it is thick and has a full skirt)
– Pair of black jeans
-Crossbody bag
-One thermal (which was WAY too hot in Dallas in October)
-One beanie
-Two necklaces
-Make-up bag
-Wallet
Dear Daughter paperback book
-Underwear and shapewear not pictured

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When I type it all out, I’m even impressed with my ability to get all that into one backpack. I thought several times while packing that I should just pay the $36 for another carry on. But my cheap side won out, as it always does. So how did I do it?

I’ve read many articles discussing whether the rolling or folding method works best. I’ve done both many times, and I am here to tell you that it depends on your suitcase or bag. With this backpack, I tried folding, but it didn’t give me the room that I needed. I was also looking for my bag to somewhat resemble a non-overstuffed backpack (I don’t want my luggage to alert everyone to my thriftiness), so rolling worked best for me in this instance.

First, I stacked my heels on top of each other like they come in the shoe boxes. I find that gives you maximum space. I put those on the bottom near the back to give my bag some sort of shape. In backpacks, I like to put flat things near the back so I don’t have bulges of clothes pushing on my back when I’m wearing it. I then rolled the formal dress as tight as I could without wrinkling it. I do have to wear that thing in two weeks, after all. Then I rolled things and put them in according to their bulk. I always put the bulkier things at the bottom because that looks more natural when you put on the backpack. Don’t forget to put your wallet, phone, boarding pass, chapstick, or whatever you think you will need quick access to on the top! I had to unpack the whole thing because I put my wallet with my ID and credit card on the very bottom.

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Nerdy confession: I really love packing. Packing boxes for moving, packing suitcases, packing storage items, you name it. I love it because it’s just like a puzzle. Sometimes I have to pack and repack it to get it just right, but I enjoy the challenge. As long as it’s not last minute packing, which is what I do 95% of the time. I’m also a procrastinator when it comes to packing, so it often doesn’t feel enjoyable. I’m working on it! Personal growth and development and all that.

That bag looks awfully grumpy, doesn’t it? Want to hear another confession? Because of the way the bag is made, I couldn’t actually close the bag all the way for my return trip (that dress is going to be beautiful, but it sure was a huge pain). I walked around DFW very conscious of who was standing behind me at all times because someone could have easily reached a hand in and grabbed something. I ended up putting my book on the very top so pick pocketing was a little harder. Whenever I could, I stood up against a wall or a window. My mind was torturing me with thoughts like, “Well, whatever they steal better be under $36”.

I’m happy to report that I got back with all of my items and only spending $100 on my plane ticket from Denver to DFW. Take that, expensive airlines and your “complimentary drinks”.

Thanks for letting me share!

Maegan

Photo Friday

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Found in Soho in NYC. My friend, Sophia and I were aimlessly wandering around NYC for thrift shops and vintage stores when we stumbled across this. It was right outside of one of the most kitschy and wonderful thrift stores I’ve ever found. There weren’t that many people around, so we were able to move freely about the cabin. Unexpectedly deserted streets and shops is one of my favorite things about NYC. I can only take the no respect for my personal bubble thing for so long. Empty stores and streets are a nice reprieve from the otherwise fast-paced, frenzied atmosphere in NYC.

Happy travels,
Maegan

Do or Don’t? :Thoughts on Touristy Spots

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I’ve given a lot of thought to whether or not it’s worth my precious travel time to see the touristy spots and take pictures of the monuments, restaurants, movie scenes, buildings, etc. When I first started traveling, visiting tourist destinations was the only way I knew how to travel. And the only real reason anyone goes to touristy spots is to take pictures of themselves with the thing that’s been standing for hundreds of years in the background. Because my face is super important, right?

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Yikes. I have several pictures of us in front of things like the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, Kilkenny castle in Ireland, and this particularly weird one of me in front of Big Ben. Kathleen is a natural 🙂 Even then, I found it awkward to have someone take pictures of me standing in front of a monument. What are you even supposed to do with your hands/arms/face/neck? Clearly I don’t know.

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Millions of people have that exact same photo although most people look decidedly less awkward than I do. My trip to Paris was largely touristy which I regret on one hand, but we had so much fun! I also learned a lot about different cultures and humanity in general. It was a wonderful experience.

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Now I’d much rather sit at a cafe and speak to the locals about why they live where they do and where would they live if they could. I’d rather talk to them about their culture, daily lives, habits, and things like that. I like to get a feel for a destination, and I certainly can’t do that when visiting touristy places. They are often watered down parts of the culture. And they feel the same everywhere I go. People trying to sell you pointless things, food and drink price gouging, people with cameras over their eyes, people without cameras in front of their eyes but right in the way of your view of the Mona Lisa, etc. Ugh.

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See what I mean about awkward? I took so many pictures on that damn boat ride in San Fran that I barely remember the experience without my phone in front of my face. It took me the ENTIRE boat trip to get a decent selfie with the Golden Gate bridge at the most artistic angle possible in the background. Out of 55 pictures, I only got one good one. And even that one reads as weird and self-absorbed. There’s a sort of beautiful, venerated, and world famous icon in the background which clearly makes my face look better.

Touristy spots while traveling is a DON’T about 95% of the time in my book.

Maegan

 

Currently Loving: Drinks on the Porch

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For the first time in my adult life, I have a front porch set up that I can be proud of. I don’t usually spend too much time or money on decorating my house. Since I graduated college, I saved all my money for travel instead. But something about the crisp autumn air galvanized me to shop for decorations AND actually put them out front. I also randomly found the perfect table at Lowe’s that was on sale for $15 dollars. After that, everything just fell into place.

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After a particularly stressful day at work, I invited my awesome friend, Jen over to enjoy some drinks on my freshly decorated patio. If you know me, you know that’s somewhat out of character for me. Unless my house has recently been cleaned, I don’t usually spontaneously invite people over. But the space that we’ve created is so wonderful that I just can’t help but share it. (It also helps that I’m super comfortable with Jen and she’s a wonderfully cool person.) By the way, if you like whiskey, you HAVE to try this recipe for these drinks from one of my all time favorite blogs. They were absolutely perfect for the occasion.

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We sat outside for about an hour and a half solving the world’s problems and getting more vitamin D than I’ve had all year. The sun lazily set behind the mountains, casting an inky purple onto the mountains. The brisk breeze blew yellow and red leaves around the neighborhood, and the dogs chased after them. Little Atticus particularly loves catching and eating the golden ones.

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Grayson is waiting ever so patiently for someone to throw a ball. Isn’t he adorable?

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Thanks for letting me share! I’m really excited about the porch, and there are even more things to come when I can figure out how to get an extension cord outside (we’re talking ghost lights and maybe even a blow up Halloween decoration!). Stay tuned 🙂

Warmly,
Maegan

Photo Friday

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One of my favorite kinds of pumpkins to decorate with are the white pumpkins. They are the slightly classier version of the time honored orange pumpkins. They look striking when you paint them as well. One year, I painted the top halves gold or turquoise. They made such a nice addition to my fall decor.

But look at these mini white pumpkins that I found at a local farmers’ market in Oklahoma City. I have so many ideas for them!

Okay, this will be my last autumn themed post for a while! Promise!

Warmly,
Maegan

Absorbing the Autumn Sun

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YOU GUYS! It’s officially autumn. Which is my favorite season. No, not for the PSLs (pumpkin spice lattes), pumpkin lotion, Ugg boots and yoga pants. Because of the crisp mornings that warm into pleasant days with just a hint of chill in the air. Because the leaves evolve into brilliant yellows, radiant reds, and toasty oranges. Because days melt into cool, mysterious nights that are perfect for roasting marshmallows over a fire. Even the breeze smells different. It seems the whole world is slowly becoming something softer, more eloquent than the obvious heat and high energy of the summer.

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We took a trip to Taos for the Fall Arts and Crafts festival. We stayed at our first Airbnb that was about a ten minute walk from downtown. I have a lot of thoughts about that experience, so I’ll share those in another post. The first two pictures are of us letting the perfect day soak in during breakfast.

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After perusing the craft fair, the farmers’ market, and the Bent Street shops, we stopped for some appetizers and margaritas at the Taos Inn. Their margaritas were unique and strong. Every thing I look for in a cocktail 🙂 I wouldn’t recommend the hummus plate unless you like toasted and very crunchy bread. I generally don’t like my bread to tear up my mouth, but if you’re into that kind of thing, give it a shot!

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Atticus and Grayson made lots of friends and ate lots of leaves while we were there. I tried to get a picture of them with a leaves in their mouths, but Grayson happily ate his too fast. This is the best picture we got. And it’s a Snapchat, of course.

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As we were driving out of town, the setting sun cast the most enchanting “magic hour” glow on the mountains and the surrounding foliage. Clearly I had to take a gratuitous selfie. I couldn’t say no!

More autumn enjoyment posts to come! 🙂

Warmly,

Maegan