How To Pack Like a Champ

As a traveling performer, I am always on the lookout for killer new ways to pack efficiently, tightly and stylishly. With my clothes being pulled in and out of suitcases and lugged from airplane to airplane, I can honestly say I’ve given up on buying anything that requires consistent ironing, dry cleaning or even air drying. I’ve definitely given up on such luxuries as lacy bras and panties as hotel laundry facilities are basically death to delicates.

14681585_10155085240751729_7211205716116369533_n.jpgHowever, I still like to look good on the road yet still maintain a high feeling of comfort. To take a break from packing for Houston (I leave tomorrow afternoon for a month-long gig at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo), I thought I would give some of my best tips and tricks for packing a diverse wardrobe in a single suitcase and backpack.

SPACE SAVER BAGS

These things have literally been the lifesavers for my travels. For as long as I can remember, I used to just roll up my clothes and throw them in my suitcase, leaving them open to collecting that stale airport, airplane and whatever else smell that latches on in the course of travel. While I still highly recommend the rolling technique, putting all of my items in these air tight bags is the secret to keeping my clothes not only fresh but wrinkle-free. I am also able to bring SO many more items since I can vacuum seal them!

I’ve used many different brands but I usually stick with Zip-Loc as they have the tab that helps really create that air-tight seal. I use a large one for my main items (hoodies, shirts and pants) and then the small and mediums for bras, panties, socks, slippers, tank tops and tights.

MESH PACKING CUBES ebagsblog

My mom recently went to China for four months and she was having the hardest time figuring out how to organize everything for her trip; that is, until she stumbled upon packing cubes. Now most people would look at these things and think they were pointless and take up extra space. WRONG. These bad boys have simplified life ten-fold.

More often than not, I will drive to different gigs. Sometimes these gigs are 15-20 hours apart from each other which requires me to stop for the night. Before I leave the hotel, I’ll pack some clothes for the night, next day and some extras in one of these mesh cubes. I’ll then use a smaller cube for toiletries. Everything else goes into the space saver bags for later. This way, when I arrive at my hotel for the night, I can simply grab these two cubes without having to search for anything in the dark. I also don’t have to throw a bunch of things in a bag and take it all out on the hotel bed. Time is money, especially when you’ve just driven 10 hours straight!

TRAVEL-SIZE EVERYTHING

#TravelSize #MiniatureEverything

I don’t know what it is about travel-size items but I absolutely adore them. Maybe it’s because anything mini is absolutely adorable or because it’s just more fun to see how many of your favorite brands come in travel-size. Also, the price tag ain’t too shabby either.

I love when I can do a trip with just a carry-on and that is where travel-size items are my best friend. As a special treat to myself, I will go to places like Sephora or Ulta and buy travel-size items of brands I’ve always wanted to try or simply ones that I can’t afford the regular of. Not only does this allow me to feel pampered, but I also get to try things without fully committing to an expensive product. There’s nothing like luxurious bath products to make you feel relaxed in a strange hotel room.

KITCHEN ESSENTIALS

I despise going out to eat every night and watching my bank account drain faster than a Katy Perry relationship. In order to keep myself inside a traveler’s budget, I bring a few kitchen essentials that allow me to cook delicious meals inside my hotel room. A few things in my “kitchen box” include:

  • Mini cutting board
  • Sharp knife (perfect for cutting up fruits and veggies)
  • Nutribullet (It’s heavy but SO worth it)
  • French Press (travel size, of course)
  • Dollar store utensils (2 of each)
  • Italian seasoning (you can literally put it on everything)
  • Plastic Tupperware
  • Wine bottle opener (duh)
  • Mug

If I’m staying at a hotel that serves breakfast I’ll usually try and snag some bowls, plates and napkins but I don’t mind swinging by the local Target or Walmart and buying $1.99 paper plates.

As long as you stay organized, you can bring everything you want and need with you on all of your journeys. Happy traveling!

Photo Credit: The Odysessy Online 

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A Craving for A Simple Life

I am writing this as I sit on the cold, gray floor of my Seattle apartment. Above me is the overhang of the kitchen counter, across from me, my closet. Cubbies stuffed with socks, panties, workout gear, tank tops, shoes and books. Shirts and jackets hang next to scarves and dresses. My backpack and halfway-unpacked carry-on lie on the floor. My pink socks match the backpack’s pipe detail.

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To my left sit a brand-new pair of pale pink Converse; I bought them today for a multitude of reasons, one of which being that I really did need a pair of good tennis for the summer tour season. Next to them, my trusty violet yoga mat that has become a favorite possession. To my right, the living room with the comfiest couch I’ve ever slept on covered in decorative throw pillows.

I love it here, but I feel empty.

See, I have everything that I need and really want. I have a closet filled with too many cute clothes, a bathroom drawer stocked with expensive makeup and hair products, a warm shower with a heavenly lavender sugar scrub and a kitchen full of nutritional food and wine.

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I am writing on a decent laptop with an extremely high-quality wifi connection inside a safe apartment in a creative neighborhood of Seattle. I can walk to the yoga studio, Starbucks, grocery store and the lake. I have a car if I need to go further.

Yet, it all seems like too much.

My life is a whirlwind of adventure, of packed and unpacked bags and hellos and goodbyes. I love it. But what if I could make things just a little more… simple?

I’ve told a few of my close friends they are simple and that I love it. They live simply, love passionately and seem to find joy in the everyday. When asked what I was looking for in a life partner, I replied, “I want someone who I actually want to go through the hard times of life with. Someone with whom I can find the passion, joy and excitement in the everyday mundane.” I know that marriage isn’t easy; that more times than not it may be difficult, trying, frustrating and angry. But I suppose I have always had a feeling that if I did decide to get married, I wanted someone who I could embrace those tough times with.

In other words, someone who even if life was simple, it was still great.

I’ve had my share of relationships and I got really close to finding that life partner. We had a house and a cabin, we loved coming home to each other and making dinner together. Life was fairly simple. But I wasn’t ready for that simplicity quite yet. I still had to “find myself” as millennial judgers would say – I needed to travel to Europe, live on my own, go off and do whatever the hell I felt like. And while I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m done, I know that all the cute clothes, exciting new places, and chance encounters are not enough.

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What if it really is true that all of us want to find love? I feel like love is quite opposite of SIMPLE, but maybe my lack of “ignorance is bliss” has caused me to be so jaded by the idea of marriage and long-term commitment. But maybe part of me craves that lake house that I’ve always wanted with my coffee being made in the same place every morning instead of in a hotel room. Maybe I miss real silverware, dinner plates, a kitchen table and someone to make dinner for every night.

I miss not caring about someone coming along who is smarter, prettier, younger and more talented than I am. I miss not caring about whether my outfit is cute, my hair is long enough or the right color or if I am skinny enough to still be seen on stage.  In my industry it is almost a constant competition with other performers who are looking to get work just like you. As women, our battles are doubled when you take in the superficial and aesthetics of it all. Side note: Women – stop fighting against each other and instead, support each other. ❤

I used to think that living a simple life was boring. But there’s joy and excitement in the everyday if you look for it. I guess the simplicity I seek is maybe still a little muddy. In my travels, I have seen many people live much simpler lives and they are incredibly happy.

So, if anything, I leave you with this. Chase after a GREAT PERHAPS but try and find your center. Make life simple: Love fiercely and be kind. Enjoy the simple pleasures such as a good morning text, a hug from your best friend, a Starbucks coffee, blue skies against a still lake, a kid’s laughter and warm cookies. So many of us who travel don’t get to experience these simple things and we miss it.

So, if anyone ever calls you simple, just smile. We all want to be you anyway.

Yoga, Tequila & 25 Push-Ups

There is a very high chance that I woke up this morning still drunk from last night. While my extreme case of the spins had dissipated, my headache, slightly blurred vision and dangerous lack of clarity was still very present. Tequila had reintroduced itself to me in multiple forms. However, I am proud to say that it did not take on the form of a single shot glass straight to my tonsils. Nope, no shots for me. Just a little orange juice, grilled grapefruit, ice, grenadine and some flavor of bitters… and tequila.

I should mention that tequila and I have never gotten along. We are not friends nor exactly enemies, we just have agreed to disagree on many things. Like margaritas. It is always a good time for a margarita. However, tequila and I have agreed never to meet in a shot glass by ourselves. If we steer clear of that kind of meeting, we usually do fine. But what I fail to remember every time that I do have tequila is that 1) I will definitely throw up and 2) It’s pretty much the worst type of hangover there is. So, last night was a little reminder that tequila, me, new friends and orange juice should never play in the same sandbox. Ever.

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So, after a three-and-a-half-hour drive to Rochester, NY, including a very expensive stop at Starbucks and a long line at the US border, I have arrived in one piece. Feeling particularly motivated, I took my hangover by the balls and told it to go fuck itself.

So, I did yoga.

I have always, always, always adored practicing yoga. I’ll admit that there is a part of me that wants to be a “yoga girl.” It’s hot and it means I can bend my body in cool ways. Hello flexibility J But I also have always loved how yoga makes me feel. Yoga is such a personal thing for me and remains to be a vehicle of self-love and grace. I’m not breathless at the end of a yoga session yet I still feel like I worked hard. I always feel a little bit closer to a goal, a little bit more connected and a tiny bit stronger. Maybe it’s because yoga is more measurable to me than many other exercises. Sure, you can get faster or you can lift more weight. But with yoga I can really connect with my body’s performance and what it is doing. I can visualize the present, focus on my heart beating and think about nothing else for an hour. Yoga is something I can do on the road in the privacy of my own hotel room or go to the gym if I’m feeling particularly confident. But afterwards I just feel clearer.

After my 30-minute practice today, I opened the Productive app on my phone. I had put in various goals I wished to accomplish each day and realized that I hadn’t followed through with really any of them since writing them down. A daily goal I had set a while back was to do 25 push-ups every day.

I DESPISE push-ups. This exercise is the devil and usually the most painful exercise out there. Which, duh, of course, is the reason why it’s also one of the absolute best exercises out there but still. I hate them.

Now, I’m not a point currently where I can do 25 pushups in a row. Since I refuse to do “girl pushups,” I must break them up into two sets of 10 and one set of five. This way, it’s not complete hell and it’s a little victory (slash rest break) in between. My goal is of course to be able to do 25, or 50, pushups in a row but baby steps here.

So, I did 25 pushups, I’m writing a blog post and I feel good. These are the moments that I remember how much I love being single. I can chase “passions” or hobbies, do whatever I want with the time I have and I don’t have to work around anyone else’s schedule. Now, of course, I have things that need to get done throughout the day but whatever time I have left is mine and I intend to start taking advantage of that time.

One of the regrets I have is that I binge watched the entire Sex and The City series while I was in Ireland. Granted, I was short on cash and the weather was disgusting, but I still didn’t really take advantage of traveling and seeing more of Ireland when I had the chance. I was throwing a pity party for myself, getting over a breakup and mourning the fact that I “came to Europe unprepared.” Which sucks. While I’m sure, in hindsight, that I needed some time completely to myself, I could have used that time to find new hobbies, gone for walks or even considered freelance. But I didn’t. So, lesson learned.

Overall, I would say that this was a great day. I have a mingling session at 9pm tonight and I’m going to head out to dinner and hopefully begin conversations at the hotel bar. While I have zero intentions of drinking alcohol tonight, I do look forward to meeting new prospects and learning more about this crazy industry that I’m part of.

Try and check something off your list today. Trust me, it’s going to feel amazing.

Photo credit: Sunday Calling