Euroadventure 2014: The Journey Begins

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Euroadventure 2014: The Journey Begins

Our trip unofficially began on Tuesday night as we made our way from DC to Bucks County, PA. We were leaving the dogs with Dave’s mom and sister for the duration of our trip and would fly out of JFK the following day. It has become our tradition to stop for Taco Bell anytime we head to PA (don’t judge), except this time we stopped at a different location than usual and were both pretty disappointed in our meals – don’t worry, we made up for it at the end of the trip.

The next day we “slept in” and then took our time getting ready, leaving the house around 11 a.m. for long-term parking at JFK. It was an uneventful drive and we quickly made it to the terminal after dropping off the car. Our goal was to carry on our luggage, but the weight restrictions were really limiting even though we both packed light so we ended up having to check our suitcases. We were also disappointed to find out that TSA Pre-Check was available in our terminal, but we couldn’t use it because we were flying a foreign carrier. Luckily security did not take long, and before we knew it, we were sitting down with food and drinks to kick off the #euroadventure! At this point, we both turned off our work emails and made sure out of office email and voice mail were set.

On the plane we settled in with our pillows, headphones, gadgets and the amenity kit (complete with socks, an eye mask, toothpaste/brush and earplugs) provided by Air Berlin. I purchased our seats in advance so we could have a set of two rather than being in the middle section with four seats. Shortly after take-off, the crew began their in-flight service – full meals and complimentary beer and wine. I had the pasta and Dave chose chicken. Neither were much to write home about, but the potato salad was actually pretty good!

After the service was finished and our trays had been taken I watched some music videos (e.g. this, this and this) and tried unsuccessfully to read. Eventually I decided to get ready for “bed” by taking off my makeup and rinsing with mouthwash in the bathroom.  Travel Tip: Bring a pack of facial cleansing towelettes and a travel size mouthwash; they will come in handy throughout a trip and help yourself feel fresh on a long journey. (More packing tips here.)

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our view

Neither of us slept much, but we tried to rest as much as possible since we planned to hit the ground running as soon as we got to Prague. After a few hours with the cabin lights out, the crew turned them back up and began the breakfast service. I loved the mini plastic coffee cups that came with our trays and the coffee was actually very tasty. I still have a hard time eating cheese and deli meat for breakfast, but I guess … when in “Rome?”

We landed in Dusseldorf around 7a.m. and had a very anticlimactic experience going through “customs” since there was no paperwork to fill out and we weren’t really asked any questions. The officer glanced at and stamped our passports and then we continued to our connecting flights. We didn’t even have to pick up and recheck our bags.

The flight to Prague was delayed, so Dave tried to nap while I walked around the airport. It was definitely one of the nicest I’ve seen!

Finally it was time to board our next plane. We were ready to reach Prague and luckily the flight was pretty short. I. Passed. Out! Dave tried to wake me up when we landed, but it was difficult to move even after we parked at the gate. Once off the plane, I stopped to brush my teeth and we pulled some money from the ATM. Despite the delay, our driver met us just outside the secure area and our bags arrived quickly. We were ready for our #euroadventure to officially begin!

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How to Cope with Anxiety

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How to Cope with Anxiety

As I’ve gotten older, I find myself worrying more and more about things that never seemed to bother me before. Part of it is my constant struggle for perfection in certain areas. Note: I say certain because this usually does not apply to my appearance. Things like hair, nails or clothing somehow manage to slip by in a hot mess sort of way most of the time! When planning for an event or a big project at work (basically anything that involves logistics and multiple moving parts), I age myself at least five years. Even when something significant is happening to people around me – like on closing day – I tend to get what my BFFSM Olivia calls nervous stomach.

Nervous stomach is the worst because it creates this perpetual feeling of, well, nervousness. No one likes that feeling. I tend to have an aversion to all foods, and I love food. Sleeping becomes extremely difficult because the mind continues to race with the never-ending list of “to-dos.”

The anxiety can be almost unbearable at times, so I’ve been practicing these ways to keep it at bay.

  1. Breathing: Similar to yoga breathing, I take a few moments to pause and focus on deep breaths. Inhale through your nose, hold for several seconds and then slowly release.
  2. Chamomile or Lavender: Drinking chamomile tea (like I am right now, photo above) or surrounding myself with the scent of lavender is very calming.
  3. Music: Sometimes I play very mellow tunes and other times I jam out! Music can help you transfer your mood from one state to another. Depending on how you feel and how you want to feel, there are so many options! My Pandora station list is super long and each one is used for a different outcome. Right now I am listening to the “Pat Green” station :)
  4. Lists: I have always been a list maker and high stress times are no different. It helps to organize thoughts and also make them tangible.
  5. Distractions: After you’ve made your list to get a real grasp on the task at hand, take some time to distract yourself. I find that reading is really helpful because it’s an escape from the “real world.” I guess some may argue that this is running away from your problems, but I think it’s good for a short period of time. Speaking of running …
  6. Exercise: I always feel so much better after going to CrossFit, but even just a walk or jog around the block can release endorphins, which (we all know from Legally Blonde) makes people happy! If you aren’t familiar with the scene or need a reminder, watch the video below.
  7. Friends: Talking to friends makes a world of difference when I’m feeling pressure in pretty much any aspect of life. Everyone at some point or another has felt nervous and it is a relief to know you’re not alone. Sometimes even just expressing your feelings out loud can make them a little less scary. I am so fortunate to have wonderful friends I can talk to about anything. Olivia at Mother May I is always there to listen and provide support, advice or a bottle glass of wine. Lately we’ve both had a lot to chat about in the “anxiety department” since she is in the final stages of wedding planning, which is both exciting and stressful! (Update: Olivia and I both decided to write about stress and anxiety today since we’ve both been feeling it. We didn’t read each other’s posts until after we wrote our own. Check out her post here!)

Do you find it easier to become stressed as you get older?
How do you cope with anxiety?
What are some natural ways you’ve found to relax?

 

5 Essential Tips for Packing

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Living out of a suitcase as a flight attendant taught me to be judicious when packing so as not to overpack. I also learned to work magic and turn pretty much any suitcase or tote into a real-life Mary Poppins bag.

Before I (finally) give details on our Europe trip, I wanted to provide a few packing tips. I knew when planning the trip that I wanted to take one suitcase and one tote bag with a small purse inside. The tips below are some of the ways in which I was easily able to do so.

  1. Make a packing list. As you are preparing for and planning your trip, begin a list of items that will be helpful and necessary. For Europe, I knew that I would want an empty water bottle, umbrella, electrical adaptor and a y-splitter, which comes in handy when sharing an audio guide with your travel buddy. Trips to Dallas would not necessarily warrant these same items. Starting the list in advance prevents the forgotten necessities or a last minute rush to think through every aspect of the trip and what you might need.
  2. Lay out all clothes before packing. Try to stay within the same color scheme, or at least make sure that all tops can be worn with at least two bottoms and vice versa. If you must bring dress shoes, pack a pair that are neutral in color. I knew we would be celebrating Dave’s birthday with a nice dinner one evening, so I brought a pair of nude heels, but I only wore them the one time and could have easily worn a pair of flats that I also used for sightseeing. Keep in mind that you can re-wear some pieces and that you can usually find a laundromat to clean anything that gets soiled. Some items like little footie socks can even be rinsed in the shower or sink of your hotel and laid out to dry.
  3. Pack layers! Even if the place you’re visiting is expected to be an extreme temperature, you’ll likely encounter other various temps throughout your travels, especially in airports and on planes. Light sweaters and scarves can usually serve multiple purposes and also add some variety to your wardrobe while on the road.
  4. Roll clothing. I honestly didn’t believe that this was beneficial for the longest time, but it works! I packed for 10 days in Europe all in one roll aboard suitcase with extra space, and honestly could have left a few items out.
  5. Never check valuables or important items. Use your “personal carry-on” for charging cords, medications and any necessary travel documents such as passports, as well as money and jewelry. Even if you are not planning to check your larger suitcase, keep in mind that you may be required to check it at the gate last minute due to lack of overhead bin space. Although rare, it is possible for a checked bag to be misplaced, and packing essential belongings in a tote that can be stored underneath the seat in front of you will prevent having to part with these items.

Happy Travels, y’all – hope these tips help!

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