Adventures in Aubreyland

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Travel Tips: Home Sweet Hotel

As those of you who read my blog know, I travel quite a bit for both work and fun.  I am probably on 4-8 flights per month, if you count connections, and I spend quite a bit of time in hotels to boot.  I've shared some tips for business travel before, but I figured this might be a topic worth revisiting, as I've got a couple more years of it under my belt.  Overall, the tips in that previous post still hold true, and loyalty to an airline and hotel chain are still highly recommended if you want to reap any sort of perks and benefits.

While all this jet-setting may sound glamorous, let me tell you this... you couldn't pay me to be a Diamond Platinum Adamantium frequent flyer or hotel points person, because those hard-core guys and gals are spending well over two months per year NOT at home in their own beds.  They have definitely earned the perks!  When you travel, you tend to be exposed to more sicknesses, dry skin, dehydration, muscle soreness from those tiny plane seats, overeating/feeling lethargic because you're eating out all the time, and overall exhaustion.  And all the while, your closet is a pile of unwashed clothes because you're not home to wash them before jetting off again.  It's not always the best thing ever, even though I end up loving the destination and have pretty pictures to show from it!

Instagram: Luxurious room service breakfast in my hotel room overlooking San Antonio
Reality: I'm chained to a conference call trying to scarf down sustenance while on mute, wiping iced tea off my keyboard

Over time, I've learned to bring certain things with me to mimic the comforts of home, or even those of a spa.  Nights alone in a hotel are the perfect time to pamper yourself a little bit!  Even though I'll often stay up late working on homework or a presentation for the next day, you still have time to catch a little HGTV or take a bath.  So I took a pouch from my closet and started adding little things, one at a time, then realized it might be worth sharing with you!

Here's what I've been packing lately in my "Home Sweet Hotel" pack as of late!

  • Water mist for the face, great for hot/desert climates as well as refreshing after a plane ride
  • Linen/room spray, scented, just like what I use at home, so my bedding smells like home
  • Epsom salts, if I know that a hotel has a luxurious bath, for soothing sore muscles (Note: if you're carrying these on, sometimes they trigger a quick security check, but never had issues once they see the label)
  • Waterproof sleeve for my phone/iPad for bathtime reading
  • Lip balm and cuticle balm for dry lips and hands (I buy the cuticle balm from my friend Kate)
  • Scented candle and matchbook, for bath time ambiance (I'm very careful with candles, and using them in the bathroom where there's usually steam prevents any smoke alarm awkwardness)
  • Eye drops, eye mask, sleep aids, all for dry eyes and better sleep
  • Muscle soreness patches from my mom
  • Korean sheet masks BECAUSE MOISTURIZING
  • Spa socks, to walk around the hotel room

All of these things fit nicely into my little pouch, and depending on the trip I take some or don't.  It doesn't add much at all to my luggage, and it's nice to have things at my disposal.  Sheet masks in particular are easy to pack and perfect pampering.

Two other things I recommend if you're traveling to another city...   Check to see if you have any friends you can meet up with (why not?) and pick some kind of local site or restaurant to experience.  If I'm traveling for work, my plane ticket is paid for, so why not grab a drink or dinner if you don't have work requirements after the day is done?  Or see something that the city is famous for?  I love visiting museums, hunting for the best local donut, things like that!

Any business travelers out there have other tricks of the trade to share?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Stitch Fix Review: 8th Fix

I'm back with my latest Stitch Fix recap!

Disclosure:  I paid for my own Stitch Fix; all opinions are my own.  If you're interested in trying Stitch Fix, I'd love for you to use my referral link so I can get $25 towards my next Fix!

This fix, I asked my stylist for tops to wear with my blazers and cardigans, since that is my work "uniform" and I have a zillion dresses.  My stylist focused on printed tops to go under the solid top layers I mentioned, so they could really pop.  She also included a dress and a cardigan.  Sydney, my stylist, reads my blog recaps and uses my Pinterest board to make decisions for me, and I've noticed that over time she's really good at picking items that I would certainly consider and try on, as well as a lot that I want to keep!

Here is what I received in my Fix:

While I was initially hesitant to love a dress that appeared to be named after Edward and Bella's vampire hybrid baby from the Twilight series (that name!  ugh!) I know that wrap dresses, even faux wrap dresses, are incredibly flattering for just about any woman.  My boss has a DVF wrap dress that I've swooned over a few times, and this one made me swoon too.  The material is great, the color and pattern are perfect for both office and date night, and it hugged my curves in the right ways!  I couldn't help but keep it, even though I probably need to go through a dress purge in my closet.  And I think that if they keep sending me this dress in future Fixes, I'll keep it every time too, #likeaboss.

I liked the print on this top, and fabric was super soft and comfortable.  But for some reason (you can't tell in the photo) the neckline really plunged on me, and it didn't quite match some of the existing cardigans/blazers that I have as I'd like.  I decided that this top was a "maybe" if I liked everything else in the fix, something I would definitely end up wearing if it was in the closet, but not a new favorite.  Since I ended up sending items back, this went back too.

The bow detail on this cardigan's sleeve had me swooning, and my stylist has learned that I love crew-neck cardigans vs. v-necks!  But I have a cardigan from J. Crew Factory almost exactly the same color, so I couldn't justify keeping it.  It is perfect for me, I just have a duplicate.

While I loved the dots and laser cut details on this blouse, the fabric didn't have a lot of give (I test tops by moving my arms around like I'm swimming LOL) and I don't wear a lot of navy tops...  I think that's because I wear jeans often, and navy over jeans sometimes feels monotonous.  This was probably my least favorite top, but if the colors had been different I would have been tempted to keep it.

The tie neck blouse jumped out to me before I even before I tried it on.  I just love how these blouses look both with a suit or over jeans with a cardigan!  I would like to have more blouses like these, because to me a tie-neck blouse is kind of the equivalent of a shirt with tie for guys.  Some people call them secretary shirts, but I like the vintage throwback.

Overall Review:
I think that if the cardigan had been a color I don't have, I would have been very tempted to keep this entire fix, because the discounted cost of those pieces would have only cost me about $60.  That said, since I don't need two cobalt-colored sweaters, it prompted me to send back two of the tops I didn't absolutely love, and reassured me that I kept what really needed to stay.  While the top and dress are more expensive than I would pay normally at the mall, I felt like they were perfect for me and my lifestyle and chose to keep them.  I like the quality of Stitch Fix pieces, as they are more Nordstrom than Forever 21, you know?  (The cheap F21 tops I bought recently for layering all have little snags after just one day... you get what you pay for, I'm learning.)

I've realized that I do like to receive my Stitch Fix, even though the prices are more high-end.  Over time, my stylist has gotten to know my style pretty well, and it pushes me to try something that I normally wouldn't.  While I have let go of some of the pieces I've gotten in my Fixes, especially since women in my office have gotten multiple duplicates of items I've received, it's kind of fun to see what comes next.  I've rescheduled my Fix frequency to every three months.

Disclosure:  I paid for my own Stitch Fix; all opinions are my own.  If you're interested in trying Stitch Fix, I'd love for you to use my referral link so I can get $25 towards my next Fix!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday Lately: Creating, Finding, Switching, Forgetting, Craving

I haven't been blogging lately, because life.  But these Sunday Lately posts, when I can make them, are an easy way for my to recap what's happening!

I have really enjoyed creating things using Canva, from blog images to brochures for DAR and things...  I've also been using Powerpoint for my chapter's DAR newsletter, which I enjoy.  I don't know why, but I find something soothing in creating aesthetically pleasing things, printables, and even doodling in my planner.   I'm being seduced right now by the idea of getting a Cricut.  I mean, think of the things I could monogram, custom planner stickers I could create, all the things!  But I've decided not to bite the bullet until after grad school, because do I really have the time to play with it?  (Anyone have one and can provide pros/cons?  Is this something I want for my birthday?)

Worth it???

Lately, I've been finding the back of my eyelids.  HAHA.  And that's about it.  We've been talking about starting a family, but I don't even have my shit together in terms of the basic work-eat-sleep game right now!  Maybe it's because I was traveling to Texas last week, and I have Michigan coming up this week...  different temperatures, flights, irregular sleep patterns, and more.

Languages!  Sort of.  Slowly.  My mother is Korean and my father was in the Army, so when I was a kid I spent time living in Germany and Korea.  I went to a German kindergarten, and I was in immersion-style classes in Korean for the two of the five years that we lived there... as a result, I love foreign languages.  I speak pretty fluent French, some basic Spanish, and I know a couple of words in Swahili and Arabic.  But while I know how to read written Korean out loud, I have the speaking abilities of a toddler!

So now, on Saturdays, I go to Korean school for a few hours.  There are multiple adult classes where I go, and they bumped me into Intermediate, which feels a little bit rigorous for me.  I was honestly surprised to find that I was in the minority of adults in the class who had a Korean family background; most, it seems, are in love with Korean culture (music, TV dramas, travel) and learning because of that.  It almost makes me feel delinquent, but better to start late than never, right?

I will say this... learning a language in your 30s is so different from learning in middle/high school, even college.  Woof.  와우!  Yikes.

I've been forgetting to eat healthy, because I'm just trying not to forget to eat or take care of myself in general.  It's basic survival mode lately!  But I haven't been forgetting to moisturize; I have been remembering to pamper my skin a bit with a Korean sheet mask just about every other day!  Here's a scary pic:

Salty food.  Then I eat it and get bloated.  Hello, French fries.  Hello, chips and queso.  SALT SALT SALT is all I want!

Sunday Lately is a weekly linkup hosted by the Blogger Tribe. We e-hang out every Sunday, sharing a small glimpse into the last week of life in our own worlds. 
Sunday Lately with Blogger Tribe
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