tis the season.

Vintage Holiday Christmas Car

// image via John Lewis

Warning: it is before Thanksgiving and I am going there… I’m talking Christmas already. I. LOVE. CHRISTMAS. In my mind, it is truly the most wonderful time of the year and I am beyond ready to celebrate in full force once we get Thanksgiving out of the way next week. It’s a bit of an odd holiday season for me this year since we’ll be out of the country for Thanksgiving are are moving shortly after the holidays are over but has that put a damper on my holiday spirit? Heck no.

To kick off the celebrations next week will be dedicated to gift guides featuring some of my favorite finds for everyone on your shopping list – so stay tuned for gift ideas for the parents, your BFF, that handsome guy in your life, your co-workers and even the kiddos too.

Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Anyone else totally done already? #win

a new adventure.

When the year started, I very excitedly proclaimed 2014 to be “the year of adventure”. I was dreaming of travel and new experiences. I had a sense of wanderlust and the desire to escape the routine by saying yes to as many new things as possible. And it’s been a lot of fun – that spirit of adventure has taken me to new cities both within the country and abroad. It’s pushed me to try new foods, make less excuses and even to take a trapeze lesson. I am better from those adventures and the general “why not’ mindset that comes with an intention of adventure.

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And then an even bigger adventure presented itself – an adventure to move to a new city. To trade in the midwest for the west coast and say farewell to a city that has been so incredibly good to me over the past three years. I have said time and time again that Chicago was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I still feel both grateful and lucky for this city and the opportunities it’s brought into my life. My time in Chicago has taught me so much about myself – it’s taught me about happiness, ambition and community. It’s been the place I’ve called home during some of the proudest and most wonderful moments I have ever experienced. It’s been where I’ve met some of my very best friends and people who have made a huge impact on me within the relatively short timespan I’ve been here. And it’s also been where Pretty & Fun became the blog it is today – the support of the blogging community in Chicago and the energy of this city have pushed, inspired and motivated me as a blogger.

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It’s a bittersweet goodbye but in the decision to move to San Francisco in January was made truly out of the spirit of adventure. It was the push I needed to say “why not?” when the opportunity presented itself and the confidence I needed to know that was the right decision, regardless of how well I’ve settled into life in Chicago. I’m excited to take the idea of adventure a step further than I had originally anticipated and explore life in a new city and experience all of the newness that will come with that big personal and professional change. While making this decision and planning the big move, I’ve been continuously reminded of a long-time favorite quote of mine: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”.

San Francisco, you’re the perfect ending to my year of adventure.

in-flight essentials.

Traveling quite a lot over the past few months has not only made me question my sanity (multiple time zones in one week can drive you a bit nutty), but has also taught me a thing or two about what it takes to be as efficient and comfortable as possible during a flight. I’ve learned how to get my things as quickly as possible into security bins. I’ve learned the value of wearing shoes with socks for that dreaded barefoot walk through the body scanner. And I’ve learned how to pack the ultimate carry-on, or as I like to think of it, your under-seat secret weapon.

In-Flight-Travel-Essentials

 

// Leather Tote // Passport Holder // Macbook Air // Kiehl’s Hand Lotion //
Reusable Water Bottle // Chapstick Hydration Lock //
 
Graze Snacks
// Zipper Wallet // Friends Headphones // Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream

// Blanket Scarf // Nike Sneakers // Makeup Pouch // External Battery // Notebook

Some thought on the ultimate in-flight essentials:

  • Productivity Can Be Awesome at 30,000 Feet: Every time I fly I am still totally amazed by the fact that in-flight wifi exists. Sending a tweet while flying through the air at 500 mph? Coolest. Thing. Ever. I’ve found that flights are an awesome time to play catch up or get ahead on work – you’re free of the usual distractions at home or in the office but still connected and able to totally focus. Be sure to have your laptop fully charged (although lots of planes have outlets these days!), grab some headphones in case your seated near someone chatty and pack a backup charger for your iPhone to make sure you don’t run out of juice. Then get crankin’!
  • Comfort Is Key: There is nothing worse than being uncomfortable or cold on a flight. Stick to comfortable basics for your flight (joggers are perfect!), grab a cozy scarf that can double as a blanket and ditch your heels for a pair of sneakers + socks to keep your feet happy and avoid being barefoot while walking through security.
  • Avoid Hangry: You never quite know what the timing of things will be like at the airport – you either end up with an hour to spare or end up sprinting to your gate which can leave little time to get a proper meal in before takeoff (and airport food options are always a crapshoot). Always have a snack packed to avoid temptation of overpriced Pringles on the airplane – I’m a huge fan of Graze Snacks because of their portable sizes and huge variety.
  • A Little Hydration Goes A Long Way: Flying is SO drying and dehydrating! Plan ahead by bringing a water bottle that you can fill up after getting through security (most airports have filling stations these days) and packing travel-sized facial moisturizer + hand lotion to quench dry skin.
  • Stay Away From Airplane Germs: First things first, airplanes are disgusting. Everyone seems to be sick and spreading germs all over the place (ick) – avoid catching airplane germs by packing sanitizing wipes and washing hands frequently during travel. I always give my tray table + arm rests a good wipe down at boarding and avoid touching any of the reading materials in the seat back. A little boost of vitamins also go a long way – grab a smoothie or chug an Emergen-C while you rack up your frequent flier miles.

What are some of your in-flight essentials? Are there any travel tips you’ve picked up during your frequent flying?

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