You Can Always Make Another Choice…


We often feel pressured to make certain decisions because of our age, our families, our culture or our fear of what other people can say.


Caption: Me when I decided to go natural in 11th grade! A huge decision for such a young age! I haven’t had a perm since before 11th grade! Natural hair was also not popular at this time, so it made me a bit socially awkward. 

When I was 25 I had to make the difficult decision to leave and divorce my first husband. It was difficult because all I could think about was what would other people say? 

Another very difficult decision was to leave my job at one High School to go work for another school. I loved the students so much, and would also have to sacrifice not having my own classroom, which is gold for teachers! Especially tenured teachers! 


Caption: This was my classroom at the school I decided to leave. 

In both of those cases I had to make a very difficult (and public) decision. On the other side of those choices were amazing benefits. In the case of divorce, I would find a better life partner. I would experience the type of love I’d always craved and fantasized about growing up. In the case of the school, I had the chance to work at one of the best schools in the country, under the best principal that I had ever witnessed. The skills that I learned at the school have been very applicable to my work outside of the classroom. Not to mention, that people attribute my teaching ability & professional skill to having the opportunity to work at such a competitive & well respected institution.


Caption: My famous word wall, that I always had up in all of my classrooms. 

If you are unhappy with anyone or anything, you have the right & ability to make another choice or to change your mind. 

The Ultimate Packing & Travel List

I love to travel both domestically & internationally. Here are my packing & travel tips:

Caption: Packing Cubes allow you to better organize your outfits and make more room in your suitcase. Especially helpful if you are packing multiple people in one suitcase. img_0495

Caption: Hubby & I on our last adventure to St. Louis, MO. We regularly just pack up our bags and take a weekend trip somewhere. 

Clothing

  1. Be sure to look up the clothing & cultural norms (e.g. are women expected to dress modestly?)
  2. Look up the climate & understand the season you are traveling in.
  3. Consider the type of activities you will be doing? Do you need activewear? Dress up clothes, etc.?
  4. Pack clothing in a similar color palette to make packing shoes & accessories easier.
  5. Pack more underwear than you need. You never know when you may have a delayed flight or decide to stay extra time.
  6. Pack at least one outfit per day.
  7. Pack at least one swim suit and cover up.
  8. Shoes (think function over looks). Think neutrals: browns & blacks.
    • Walking/Athletic Shoes
    • Flip Flops
    • Dressy
    • Casual
  9. Scarves (great accessory and can also be used to “cover up.”)
  10. At least two “dress up” outfits
  11. Don’t forget your belt.
  12. Don’t forget your bras.

Medical 

  1. Prescription Medications
  2. Imodium (in case you get sick!)
  3. Pepto Bismol (some people prefer this over Imodium)
  4. Tylenol (or other preferred headache meds)
  5. Hand sanitizer

Carry-On Bag

  1. Try to keep it small!
  2. Blanket
  3. Pillow (Note: Many international flights provide both a blanket and a pillow, but I’m weird about germs and prefer my own)
  4. Socks (I like to take off my shoes during international flights & only wear my socks)
  5. Noise-canceling headphones (these are essential for traveling for me. I have a pair of Bose that I absolutely love).
  6. Reading Material
  7. More Water/Drinks (due to airport security, you will need to purchase these once you get past the security line & before you get to your gate)
  8. Compact Snacks (may be useful in your travels as well, depending on where you are going)
  9. Writing Material
  10. Print-outs of important things (your hotel reservation, ground transportation, itinerary, return-flight info)
  11. External battery (for laptop and other mobile devices)
  12. Assume no wifi or internet (even upon your arrival)
  13. Smart phone (for music, make sure your chosen streaming service plays music offline. I love Spotify, but you are required to turn the “offline” feature on, to make sure your playlists actually work when your device is in airplane mode.)
  14. Include a smaller envelope clutch or bag so you can stow the larger bag.
  15. Airplanes can get really cold. Be sure to dress in layers and have a jacket or extra hoodie to travel with.

Don’t Forget

  1. Make copies of your passport
    • One to leave at home with your friends/family
    • One to pack in your luggage in case something happens to your passport
  2. Make ground transportation arrangements
    • For when you arrive to your destination
    • For when you return home
  3. Leave room in your suitcase to bring things home. You WILL shop!
  4. Make a list of gifts/souvenirs to get and people to get them for.
  5. Look up travel norms for the country you are visiting.
    • Is it safe to travel via Taxi
    • Does the hotel offer an official shuttle
    • What are the tipping expectations
  6. Look into whether or not you need a Visa.
    • Especially true if you will be traveling to multiple countries. Sometimes you need a Visa to exit one country and enter another, regardless of your home country.
  7. Set a spending budget and stick to it!
  8. Let your banks know when and where you’re traveling (to avoid your account being frozen)
  9. Research where you want to go.
  10. Bring different types of bags.
    • a backpack
    • a clutch or small handbag or shopping bag
    • a pouch
    • Personally when traveling, I prefer hands free options. I also don’t usually travel with my designer bags depending on which country I am visiting.
  11. I don’t travel with much jewelry. Only earrings & my wedding ring. Flashy jewelry can make you stand out AND it also makes haggling/bargaining difficult because your jewelry is a signal that you are wealthy!
  12. Include a bag for dirty clothes (I hate for my clean clothes to mix with my dirty clothes while traveling. On the way back home, I remove all of the dirty clothes from the dirty clothes bag and repack them.
  13. Use travel packs/cubes, or employ the rolling method to make more space.

Hygeine/Cosmetics

  1. Toothbrush
  2. Toothpaste
  3. Mouthwash
  4. Soap
  5. Deodarant
  6. Oil or Perfume (I usually take a rollerball or two)
  7. Makeup remover wipes
  8. Sunscreen
  9. Lotion
  10. Cosmetics (keep in a travel case)
  11. Wash cloth (depending on where you are going)
  12. Beach towel (depending on where you are going)
  13. Dry Towl
  14. Pantiliners or sanitary napkins (these can be difficult to find in some areas and super expensive. Pack your own)
  15. Shower cap

Feel free to ask any questions you may have OR tips you may have in the comments section below!

Bon Voyage!!!!

10 Ways to Steal Your Time Back

10 Ways to Steal Your Time Back

1. Wake up early or stay up late – if you have a big project to finish, consider waking up an hour early or staying up an hour later to finish it.

2. Delegate to someone else – if you have a busy week at work, as your partner or your children to do some of the household things.

3. Prepare the night before – pack your bags & pick out your clothes the night before. Plan your meals the night before. You will shave off some of  valuable time in the morning, leaving room for other things.

4. Organize your things – so much time can be wasted when you have to look for things. Your keys, your charger, your phone. I have a “command center” in my entryway where we drop all of our keys whenever we walk in the door.

5. Make a list – if you are feeling overwhelmed, stop everything & make a list. It’s a quick & easy intervention to get caught up.

6. Take a walk – sometimes your brain & your spirit need time with nature. A walk helps you take your mind off the stress & it releases valuable oxytocin – the feel good hormone.

7. Turn off the notifications on your phone. – this changed my life. Notifications on your phone can interrupt the flow of your work. They are like a ringing doorbell for your brain. Instead, I only check email at key moments of my day. I do receive text notifications for emergency or urgent messages. Everyone in my life knows to text or call me if something requires my immediate response.

8. Ask for help. – never feel like you have to keep it all together. Speak to your colleagues, friends & family to share how they can help. Also, don’t be afraid to outsource (hire) help.

9. Divide & conquer. Next year will be my 7th wedding anniversary!!! My husband & I have mastered this. From household chores to business affairs, we work together to get things done. If one person cooks, the other cleans. I do the laundry. He handles the trash, the litter box & the yard. It’s a perfect system.

10. Eat a good meal. Sometimes when things are stressful, you just need to slow Time down. Go out for lunch. Go grab a cup of coffee. Eat a savory snack. Your body will Thank you.