Okay, so you may know you’re going on a big trip, but something like going to Kenya doesn’t hit you until right when you’re about to leave. FOR ACTUAL KENYA. And after staying awake all night so you can sleep on your 14 hour flight, you’ll probably fall asleep in the airport before you even get on the plane.

I really had no idea what to expect as the only trans-atlantic trip I could compare to was London/Paris, and I didn’t need three different vaccines to go. My dad had given us (John, my sister, and I) an itinerary, but aside from knowing we had a dowry ceremony and a safari in our future, I pretty much imagined scenes from the Lion King going down.

The first flight (14 hours) on Qatar Airlines was phenomenal and I basically wanted to live on the plane a la Snowpiercer, whereas the second flight (5 hours), I wanted to jump out the window because of annoying passengers. If you ever get the chance to have a layover in the Qatar airport, do it. Give yourself a solid 5 hours to explore, because we had maybe one and I know I missed a whole lot besides my sister and I buying a buttload of foreign candy (there were so many types of Kit Kat bars, whoa).

So much happened on this trip that I’m just going to try to highlight parts for you:


Day 1

Kenya part one Kenya part one
In flight movies. I watched every Daniel Craig James Bond movie, as well as every Tom Hardy movie available during our flights. Sup, handsome men.

Kenya part one
Kenyan shillings, fresh from the ATM.

Kenya part oneDad up front in the van we borrowed from his wife, Pauline’s, brother. They drive on the other side of the road in Kenya, and I had many heart attacks over it, as well as all the motorcyclists. Everyone had a cheap cafe racer! View Post

5 things I wish I'd remembered to pack in my suitcase. Click to read >>

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So you packed and repacked your things a dozen times for your trip, but somehow you arrived at your destination with important things missing. Or at least… that’s what happened to me during my trip to Kenya last week!

I felt like I’d thought of everything I’d possibly need, but once there, discovered I’d definitely missed a handful of items. Here’s 5 things I wish I’d packed during my trip (and will make sure to remember next time):

1. Slip on shoes:

I chose my white vans high tops as my main shoe for my trip, and that was a huge mistake. When you walk into buildings (and houses) in Kenya you often have to take your shoes off in exchange for house slippers or flip-flops, and constantly unlacing high tops is a major pain in the butt. I’ll definitely be investing in some low slip ons, maybe like these or these.

2. Bentonite clay:

I set some of this aside on a little carry-on jar to take with me, but changed my mind last minute. While I’m pretty sure the jar was the appropriate size for TSA requirements, I wasn’t sure if they’d be picky about someone carrying an unlabeled container of powder onto the plane. That said, my skin went crazy due to the weather change and the hard water over in Kenya and it definitely would’ve fared better with the detoxifying bentonite clay. Next time I’ll take the risk. [clickToTweet tweet=”5 things I forgot to pack while #traveling, so you don’t forget them too!” quote=”5 things I forgot to pack while traveling, so you don’t forget them too!”]

3. iPod:

I don’t have an iPod, but oh my goodness I definitely need to invest in one before I take my next trip. It was fine not having it on the plane to Nairobi because there were in flight movies (hellooo James Bond for 12 hours), but the long car rides averaging 2-4 hours were KILLER without music! Anyone wanna suggest some good playlist additions?

4. Zoom lens:

I made the mistake of only bringing my 50mm lens with me and I’m kind of sad about all the rad landscape and safari shots I missed because of it. I generally prefer to stick with the 50mm since I love how pictures turn out with it, but there’s definitely a time and place to utilize something else (and I’m pretty sure that was last week, all over Kenya… dang).

5. Lavendar essential oil:

Guys, jet lag is so friggin real. I wish I’d brought this along to help me sleep not only on the multiple plane rides, but also when I was struggling to adjust to a normal schedule. I debated taking sleeping pills instead but the idea of struggling to wake up because of a chemically induced sleep just doesn’t sit right with me, ya know?

( Related: DIY essential oil roll-on )

Can you suggest any other items people might need?

(Hey, this is a scheduled post while I’m traveling!)

5 ways i prepared to travel

Yesterday into today was spent flying to Nairobi, Kenya, and whoa let’s talk about nerves. My dad’s wife is from Kenya, and we’re flying overseas for a ceremony and to meet the rest of her family! He’s been multiple times before, but now my sister, my boyfriend, and I, will get to experience the country as well. I’m excited but also nervous, because Kenya is unlike anywhere I’ve traveled to.

I’ve only flown internationally once before, to London, and it was the least prepared I’ve ever been. I took sleeping pills without thinking… for a 7 hour flight! It’s hard enough being an American overseas without looking dumb by being all loopy for the first few hours after stepping off the plane.

Obviously, I wanted to avoid any mishaps like that visit during this transatlantic trip, so I took a few extra steps to make sure I was ready for my long flight!

  1. Stayed hydrated. I’ve been making sure to drink extra water all week, but definitely planned on doubling that on the plane! I tried to find a good hydrating face spray but failed to see one that was within the TSA size limits. I’d love any suggestions!
  2. Carb loaded. I read that supposedly foods that are rich in carbs can help induce the secretion of insulin, which in turn may help with the transition from one sleep schedule to another (essentially minimizing jet lag). I’ll keep you updated if this works, but here’s hoping, since Kenya is 7 hours ahead of Philadelphia!
  3. Picked out a comfy outfit in advance. No one wants to be scrambling for an outfit last minute, or worse, be stuck in an uncomfortable outfit for a long flight! I made sure to pick mine out in advance.
  4. Looked up in flight exercises. Anyone else’s mom put the fear of blood clots after sitting for a long time into them? Ok, well mine did, so I looked up some stretches to do while on the plane. I plan to do some ankle rollsseated knee lifts, and also just stand up every once in a while to pump some blood through me.
  5. Packed a neck pillow. I made the mistake of not packing one for my trip to Miami and I don’t think I’ll ever make that mistake again. A neck pillow is a savior.

5 ways i prepared to travel

Do you have any tips for flying you’d like to add??

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visiting ott's

So when my mom had her health scare on Monday, I panicked about getting to the suburbs after work. Trains only go so late, ya know? Once I got out there how would I get back, and so on. I ended up opting to rent a zipcar and oh my goodness, how have I not done this sooner?! I didn’t realize how much I missed having a car until I was driving again. The process was super easy since I’d signed up for it months ago just in case (for moments like this I guess!). You just go online and look up cars in your area, then click the amount of time you want it for and boom, it’s yours. For 24 hours (…or less). Then you unlock the car with the little keycard they give you, and away you go. If you feel like trying it out, here’s a free $25 off your first ride!

At any rate, I ended up renting the car for a full 24 hours since I got it at 10:30 Monday night, and I spent all day Tuesday driving EVERYWHERE I’ve wanted to go but couldn’t sans transportation. The mall and Target were definitely included, but the main place I wanted to stop was my plant wonderland, Ott’s.

visiting ott's

If Narnia and Jurassic Park somehow had a baby, it’d end up like Ott’s Exotic Plants. I mean that as in every room you enter leaves you in major awe, and the place basically just seems to be living and breathing on its own at this point. There’s a fiddle leaf fig in the center of the multi-room green house that’s at least 40 years old and at least 10 stories tall (and also hard as heck to photograph, oops), and if you know anything about fiddle leaves you know it’s nearly impossible to keep them alive, let alone for 40 years. The floors have moss growing in the corners and some plants seem to have basically been forgotten about years ago, except they started to thrive in the humid green house rather than die. There’s probably every type of plant you could dream of, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Audrey 2 was hidden somewhere. I think every time I end up there I not only want to lay on the floor in the back room and bask in the elephant ears and fig trees, I also leave with at least $60 worth of plants (…sometimes more).

Check out some pictures of my favorite place and tell me you don’t wanna visit:
visiting ott's visiting ott's View Post

south beach miami

A little over 3 weeks ago I took a quick trip to South Beach, Miami, with my friend Rachel (who’s also my boyfriend’s sister). At something crazy like $115 round trip through Frontier it was a no brainer when we booked the trip Christmas day. Despite the 7:30 am flight time and arriving likely looking strung out because it’s impossible to sleep in an aisle seat (seriously, pay the extra $20 to choose your seat), it was nice to get away!

The first day was beautiful, with 80 degree weather and peach bellinis. Honestly, we were so excited to enjoy the nice weather, we ended up on the beach in our underwear. When in South Beach, right?

south beach miami south beach miami View Post