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The Happy Type
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Kelley // Move By Yourself

Today, I get to show some blog love to one of the amazing bloggers on my side bar, Kelley from Move By Yourself. Kelley is a powerhouse of a woman with an eye for adventure and service. Originally leaving home for Paraguay in 2012 to serve in the Peace Corps, Kelley’s blog is full of amazing travels and experiences while living and working abroad. Kelley’s blog has since evolved into a place for her to share her love of travel and allows her to spread her infectious joy for life with her readers. Check out Move By Yourself and get in on turning everyday into an adventure with Kelley.

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Introduce yourself and your blog, Move By Yourself, to everyone!

Hello everyone! I’m Kelley! I blog over at Move By Yourself. My blog started off as a way to keep my friends and family up-to-date on my life while I was in the Peace Corps, but, now that I’ve completed my service, it has morphed into more of a travel and lifestyle blog, that includes all of my favorite things, travel inspiration, delicious recipes and everyday adventures. I’m currently still living in Paraguay but, will be returning back Stateside relatively soon and I’ll start to try and figure out my post-Peace Corps life.

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What are your thoughts on living abroad? What would you say to someone who is debating whether or not to make the move?

 Living abroad can be incredibly difficult at times, in a different culture, possibly a different language, far from your friends and family but, it will also be one of the best decisions you could make. Living abroad will open your world and introduce you to new people, food, cultures and places you never could have expected. My advice for someone debating moving abroad is that it is important to do your research but in the end you should just take the leap, you won’t regret it.

In 2012 you joined the Peace Corps and took off for Paraguay. What was the most valuable lesson that the Peace Corps taught you?

This is tough! I loved my Peace Corps experience. However, I lived in a small community of roughly 400 people, there would be times where the electricity and running water would go out for days, when temperatures would reach 110 degrees with 95% humidity and there would days where I just felt like there was no one in my community I could really talk to. Every once and a while I would think it might just be easier to quit and go home. But, through all of it I learned that I can be happy anywhere, that I can make it through tough times and come out stronger on the other side.

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What do you enjoy doing to relax after a busy day? Why?

After a long day there are a couple things that I do to relax. I’ve recently gotten back into yoga and, especially when the weather is nice, a nice 15-20 minute flow really takes the stress away. I also really love to cook and try out new recipes, but, I love cooking even more when I have someone to cook for, which works because my boyfriend is a willing participant. You can also never go wrong with a nice glass of wine!

If you could do anything in your life and know that you would not fail what would it be?

This is a good question! I think if I knew I wouldn’t fail, I would want to start a non-profit organization. The goal of the non-profit would be to empower young women around the world and help them realize that they can achieve their dreams. I would also want to work with young men, teaching them the importance of gender equality. How I would do this, I don’t know? But, I can’t fail, right!

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What are you future plans for you and your blog? Where do you see yourself in the near future?

Pretty soon, I will be going back to the States for the first time in two and half years, so I’m not really sure what is next for me, finding a job, grad school, the options are endless. Blog wise I would love to be able to travel more and be able to inspire others to get out there and see the world too!

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Get Started With Move By Yourself

10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Paraguay

Advice For The Beginner Photographer

If You Could Have Any Job In The World…?

Keep Up With Move By Yourself

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5 Reasons Why Australia Is the Perfect Destination for the Young Adult Traveler

I’m turning over the reigns to Morgan from The Misadventures of Morgan for the day and I couldn’t be more pleased with what she has in store for all of you! If you haven’t checked out Morgan’s great blog then you are missing out on some truly sincere and entertaining writing. The Misadventures of Morgan follow the adventures of Morgan and her travels all over the world, we are talking from America to Germany and Brazil and all the way to Australia. As an former expat myself I love reading about people’s lives abroad and Morgan makes sure to share some truly wonderful stuff with her readers.

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As a 21 year old American woman, the first thing I tend to think of when it comes to Australia is the Crocodile Hunter. The second is Crocodile Dundee. The third is the fact that Australia is home to some of the most dangerous creatures on the planet. Shockingly, not one of these reasons was enough for me to ever want to travel to the huge continent Down Under. Despite all of these things I can now say, as a 21 year old American woman who lived in Australia for a year, that country is the best travel destination for any young adult looking for adventure. Here is why:

  1. Australia is one of the most popular backpacking destinations in the world. This means a few things. First, it is filled with foreigners from all over the world traveling around by car, van, bus, plane, train, and even by foot to see the sights Oz has to offer. Second, it makes traveling around extremely cheap and accessible to everyone no matter what language you speak. Because there are so many young adults choosing Australia as their backpacking destination you can find amazing deals on places to stay, vehicles to rent, excursions to go on (say hello to skydiving on the beach!), the list goes on and on. Let’s be honest, us 20-somethings don’t really have a lot of extra cash to spare. So anywhere that makes having a ton of fun an affordable luxury is the place to be!
  2. Want to stay a little longer than a week? No problem. Australia has so many job opportunities for foreigners on a Work and Travel Visa. This is one thing that I was told by dozens of backpackers that I met over my time Down Under: people love that they can work while they lived there in order to pay for even more excursions. I agree with that whole-heartedly. Because Australia has so many small jobs that foreigners can take up for a few months at a time, it allows you to have more time to explore the country to the fullest. This is perfect for any young adult who has too much time on their hands and wants to see a different part of the world without blowing their entire savings.
  3. Australians are the friendliest people on Earth. According to Australians, that is. While the argument could be made that their Southern Hemisphere friends, the South Americans, are even friendlier than the good ol’ Aussies: it’s fair to say that Australians are known worldwide as being some of the kindest people around. They are such good-natured people with a sense of humor like no other (so you better learn to laugh at yourself and quickly) and are quick to lend a helping hand to anyone who looks like they need it. Obviously this isn’t true for the entire population, as there are always some sour grapes. But for the most part, Australians are the most down-to-earth people I’ve ever met.
  4. There is a rich cultural history in Australia that hasn’t been drilled into your head in every high school history class. That is one thing that surprised me the most: Australia has such an astounding history that is often overlooked in classrooms in the Western Hemisphere. It was so refreshing to go somewhere that was genuinely unknown territory for my mind. While Europe can be fun because you know so much about everything that has gone on there since the beginning of time, Australia is even more fun because you are learning about the history while experiencing it first hand. For example: did you know that there used to be around 300 different languages spoken in the different Indigenous Australian communities before the Europeans arrived? Oh you didn’t? Get your butt to Australia.
  5. Australia is home to some of the most beautiful interior and exterior landscapes in the entire world. Home to some amazingly iconic scenes such as Ayers Rock (Uluru), the Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays, and the Great Ocean Road; it’s no surprise that Australia is one of the most stunning continents on the planet. From Perth to Melbourne and all the way up to Cairns, there is always something different to see. At this point in my life, one of my main goals is to see as many different sights as I possibly can. If that sounds like you, I would absolutely recommend giving Australia a visit. There is nowhere else I have been that has genuinely left me breathless quite the way the Australian landscape has.

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I’m a huge supporter of traveling while you are still young and know what an amazing impact it can have on the quality of life a person lives. I also know that it can be rough to do financially and emotionally. That being said, Australia offers the perfect escape for young adults who want to travel affordably but still get a million dollar experience. It is a country that still has some comforts of home, such as speaking English, but with a huge wild side that you’ll quickly become addicted to. So if you are looking for a place to go for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Spring Break; don’t forget to look Down Under!

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Keep Up With The Misadventures of Morgan

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Blog Birthday + Giveaway

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photo credit: k bost via flickr altered from original Party in the Air

The Happy Type is turning one this week and in celebration we’ve got a giveaway to party! If you’ve ever gone through the recipe section at The Happy Type then you know that smoothies are popular in a BIG way with recipes like the Ultimate Philippines Smoothie, Apple Oat Smoothie, Orange Banana Smoothie, Kiwi and Aloe Smoothie, and the Four Seasons Smoothie.

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A peek at the Ultimate Philippines Smoothie from The Happy Type recipes.

Since smoothies are a favorite on The Happy Type it only made sense to share the smoothie love with as many people as possible and that’s how this little smoothie-inspired giveaway was born. You’ll find everything you need to make a smoothie from start to finish with this giveaway. For one lucky winner making a smoothie this summer couldn’t get any easer so good luck and remember to check out The Happy Type’s smoothie recipes while you wait to see how the giveaway turns out!

While it’s The Happy Type‘s one year blog birthday the whole thing and this giveaway wouldn’t have been possible without an amazing blog community. Blogging is not just sharing your newest interests blindly on the internet, rather, the process is about connecting with people. Without meaningful friendships, blogging alone doesn’t have the same allure and it’s because of these friendships that The Happy Type is proud to turn one and bring you a giveaway in thanks.

Now meet some of the amazing ladies who have helped sponsor this giveaway and are themselves an integral part of the community that makes blogging the vibrant and worthwhile pursuit that it is.

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nomElizabeth | Side Street Style | Move By Yourself | This Flooded Sky

Daisy Bisley | 91 Dash | Living in Another Language | The Nectar Collective

The Style Dunce | Smile and Write | Mundane Ecstasy |  The Happy Type

Here’s a list of what’s up for grabs to celebrate The Happy Type’s blog birthday!

1 x Magic Bullet + accessories

1 x Superfood Smoothies Book by Julie Morris 

1 x 20 paper straws

1 x Insulted drink tumbler with straw

1 x 20 oz. bag of Golden Omega Flaxseed

1x Box of Brewhaha Super Tea 50 ct.

Get an eyeful of what you’ll be winning.

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$200 in Paypal cash!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rules:

1. Giveaway is not open internationally. 2. Winner will be chosen and notified within 24 hours of giveaway’s end. Winner will have 48 hours to respond should the winner fail to respond within 48 hours a new winner will be chosen. 3. Winner’s entries will be verified in their entirety and if falsified entries are found winner will be disqualified. 4. Winner must have Paypal if they wish to claim their prize. The Happy Type will transfer money directly to winner’s Paypal account and is not responsible thereafter. 

Cutting The Ties: Letting Go Of Your Ex

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We’ve all had a hard break-up that’s left us completely worked over emotionally and mentally. When love is involved things get messy especially if the split was not amicable, but what do you if you still have feelings for them and can’t seem to just, well, let them go? I was mulling this thought over after reminiscing with my best friend Katie, and fellow blogger at The Style Dunce, about our undergraduate forays into love and relationships. Since Katie and I were pretty much of one soul during our undergraduate years there was plenty of cringe worthy and face hiding moments for us to remember and laugh about. At least time has made what was once mortifying seem laughable now. Thank God.

Our trip down mortification-memory-lane led Katie and I to do a joint post on letting go of your ex. Even though we like to act super cool there are definitely times when we’ve been less than graceful falling in and out of love.

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An accurate representation of what it can be like when you just can’t let go of someone.

It’s normal to have a hard time letting go of someone when you still feel something for them so consider today a reminder or primer for when you really should just work past your feelings and cut the strings.

You Feel Worse After You See Them

Maybe you feel like your heart is breaking and that you can’t seem to breath or focus on anything since you and your main squeeze split, and all you seem to think about is when you can conveniently “bump” into them again. While plotting how to run into your ex is definitely a sign that you should take a massive step back, the real proof is evident when interacting with your ex leaves you feeling worse than before you saw them. I used to have an ex that I ran into regularly because we had a class together and a few mutual friends. The sick-to-my-stomach feeling was overbearing and just left me feeling hollow when I was pretty much ignored or when a new girl had caught his eye. I swear that semester could not have ended any faster and it was a sort of weird love-hate thing. I loved to show that I was living well, but I hated how small and insignificant he could make me feel especially when he actually gave me the attention I craved.

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Please accept this Hermione gif as an illustration of what I looked like during the WORST. CLASS. EVER.

Going on an emotional and mental roller coaster is just insane and you have to take stock of how you feel after you interact with your ex. Look past your emotions and really examine how you are being affected by your ex’s actions. Chances are they won’t be positive. I mean you did stop seeing each other for a reason, right?

You Talk Incessantly About Your Ex

Do you word vomit about your past relationship and your ex to anyone who will listen? If you find yourself talking about them every single day to your friends and family then you NEED TO QUIT. Talking about a relationship can be incredibly cathartic and aid in the healing process when you’re heart is bleeding, but there comes a time when you have to stop. There’s a difference between talking through your feelings after a break-up and sounding like a broken record several months later. Your friends and family want to support you, but they aren’t saints. Don’t push away your support system because you can’t let go of your past with someone who isn’t even around anymore.

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There’s a difference between sharing feelings and word vomit. Learn the difference for the people you love.

You Do Crazy Things

Look, we’ve all been to the crazy house in the name of love. Anyone who says they haven’t done something completely out of character or cringe-worthy is an absolute liar. When you fall for someone your emotions can rule your world and doing extreme things like driving by their house at all hours to see if they are home or if they have company, casing their workplace or anywhere that they are regularly is, well, crazy. Trying to make your ex jealous falls well within the bounds of doing crazy things, specifically if you are involving someone else in your actions. I once went on a wild spree of dates with boys that I cared nothing about just to prove a point and I still can’t believe that I did something like that. Guys that actually liked me had no idea what was going on and I was creating my own crazy world just trying to make someone that I had minimal contact with jealous. The crazy thing is that they did get jealous and contacted me which just started the whole ludicrous cycle again.

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Only Johnny Depp makes this look good. When it comes to keeping your sanity remember that you are not Johnny Depp.

You Try To Reinsert Yourself Into Your Ex’s Life

Let’s say that you had a messy break-up and all ties were cut between yourself and your ex, but you find yourself trying to re-friend your ex on your Facebook or maybe you just up and joined their study group or gym, hmmm, what does this mean? It means that you are trying to get back into their daily life and that is not a good thing. If you had a dramatic parting then why would you try to get back into their lives?

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Don’t let this be be you. Never let this be you, but if it happens don’t stress out. I feel you.

I know you might be hurting or perhaps you think that the only way to move forward is to make amends and show that there aren’t any hard feelings, but that isn’t so. If your ending was a knock-down-drag-out brawl of a thing then why would you ever try to be involved with your ex in a completely unnecessary way? Think about it from their perspective as well. Would you like it if your ex was popping up randomly and all you wanted to do was put the whole thing and them behind you? I’ve tried to wiggle my way back into my ex’s life, had it done to me, and even been the significant other of someone who just couldn’t shake their ex, so I’ve experienced this from all angles and let me say that nothing good can come of it. Respect boundaries, respect yourself and stay out of their life. It’s seriously the best thing for the both of you.

Relationships and break-ups can make you lose yourself a little bit but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find your way back to sanity. I’m not saying that there aren’t instances when you can actually revive a friendship after ending a relationship because that is totally a thing that can happen in special circumstances. However, most likely, when you and your significant other decide to call it quits it’s best to make a clean break and just walk away before you or they do something a little crazy. Plus, the faster you let your ex go the faster you can re-focus on yourself and honestly that’s where your attention should be after a break-up. If things don’t go smoothly and you do one or…ALL of these you’re completely normal, or at least you’re as normal as me because I’ve seen and done it all.

Now here’s my sister from another mister Katie from The Style Dunce and her two cents on the difficulties of letting go even when you know you should. Katie’s got some wise words on moving on physically and letting your emotions catch up, because who ever said that moving on was easy? No one ever.

Right here, ladies. I got it. (via)

Crystal wants me to talk about letting go. So let’s talk about letting go. Or maybe we can just talk about how much I suck at letting go and how cutting the cord isn’t one of my strengths either.

My idea of letting go is to ride out the feelings until I just don’t care anymore. It’s never a conscious decision. It just happens and it’s so gradual until one day the feelings are just gone. And then I’m left wondering why I ever felt anything, except I still have the remembrance of how consuming and important all those feelings seemed at the time.

I don’t have the experience of a really messy break-up but I know what it’s like to be hung up on someone who isn’t good for you.

I was caught up on one guy for a good two years and it was one of those situations that should never have even started, but it did. And I dragged that shit out until I’m pretty sure Crystal was ready to renounce our friendship. This guy and I were never anything official, at least not in the way I wanted to be, but I started to base whether I’d have a good time out with friends if he was there or not.

At parties and social outings, I’d sulk until he showed up but then spend the rest of the night acting coy and pretending “oh I didn’t desperately want you to be here–I’m cool.” And if he never showed, I’d resign myself to having a less good time. Our moments alone seemed to make everything worth it.

I don’t think I ever showed him my crazy like I’ve done with other guys (shut up bartender, okay), but I let my hang-ups with him go on way too long–to a stupid, annoying degree that stopped me from actually meeting other people and moving on.

You know that Katy Perry song where she’s all, “when I’m with him, I’m thinking of you?” Yeah, that was me for months. (Months? A year? I don’t even want to remember.)

Oh shut up, Katy. (via)

But the thing is, even if you’re not emotionally ready to let someone go, you can physically let them go. And you should physically let them go. Feel what you want to feel in your head, but respect yourself enough to not pursue something that isn’t good for you. Did I fully do that? No. But I wish I did because I wasted way too much time on him.

Which is why my new motto is: Cut the ties and let your emotions catch up later. Your pride will thank you and so will your friends who won’t have to watch you make the same shitty mistake over and over. I know it’s easier said than done, but let’s be real:

a) If you’re caught up on someone it means you have feelings for them, so wise up and stop pretending it’s just a dumb, fun fling and you’re just so cool about all of it. You’re not and continuing to see them won’t suddenly make you cooler with it.

b) They don’t care about you the way you care about them. In fact, they probably spend an 1/8th of the amount of time thinking about you that you spend thinking about them.

c) They are never going to be the person you want them to be. Ever.

So stop texting them, stop putting yourself in situations they’ll be in and stop closing yourself off from experiences with other people because you’re too busy thinking about someone who isn’t thinking about you.

Now that we’ve shared some relationship woes with you, you can see that you aren’t alone if you’ve ever had a hard time letting someone go. It happens and life goes on. I always feel like the first step to getting some control back is to realize that I’m not alone in whatever has got me feeling out of it and relationships is definitely one of those situations.

So consider today’s post a first step for you if you’re feeling isolated and a little cray. We’ve been there, you’re not alone, and you can totally let go of your ex. Once you do you can start to get back to living your life in a happier AND saner way.

The Page Girls

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It’s not every day that I get introduced to an amazing site featuring and run by a talented group of women who are literary powerhouses, so you can imagine my excitement when The Page Girls came along and reached out to me. If you love thoughtful and creative writing, but haven’t heard about The Page Girls then get ready to fall in love with The Page Girls’ female driven and focused content. On The Page Girls website you’ll come across not only well-written musings on life, friendships, love, amazing cocktail recipes, and womanhood, but will also be treated to thought provoking fiction and essays.

Get your feet wet with these writing samples The Craziest Thing I Did For Love and LYLAS (Love You Like a Sister).

I’m a fan of empowered women who know what they want and are willing to work to make their dreams a reality and for me that makes The Page Girls a winning combination. This week is The Page Girls birthday week and to kick it off and spread the word all kinds of giveaways are going down and I even get to help hand out some of the literary swag!

Page-Girls-PrizesHere’s a calendar so you can totally stalk what The Page Girls have going on in terms of birthday celebrations.

Btw, the prize I’m talking about was written by one of the founders of The Page Girls. As a matter of fact all of the founding women of The Page Girls have written a book. How freaking cool is that? Like I said, women making it happen.

So join me in showing The Page Girls some love and let’s get this giveaway underway!

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Book Description:

There are days that you can’t believe, and then there days that are unbelievable.

Juniper has been on the edge of social circles all her life, skirting the line between being a normal teenage girl and an all-too-aware young adult. Always armed with a camera, Juni expresses herself through her photos, with her current favorite subjects being Carrie, her best friend, and Darius, a mysteriously charming boy on the soccer team.

When she accidentally stumbles across something that wasn’t meant to be photographed, her once somewhat normal life is suddenly ripped from her. Now, fitting in with the crowd is a matter of survival.

And when Carrie goes missing, Juni turns to Darius for help. But as they grow closer, a bigger mystery starts to unfold – one involving conspiracy, the paranormal, and an impending war for the souls of everyone she knows.

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A peek at the letterpress goodies up for grabs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Rules:

1. Winner will be notified within 24 hours of winning and will have 48 hours to respond. If winner does not respond  a new winner will be chosen. 2. All entries will be thoroughly checked. If entries are falsified a new winner will be chosen. 3. Letterpress coasters will be mailed by The Page Girls from NYC as soon as winner is verified.

 

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Sign up for The Page Girls’ weekly newsletter to get notified about new issues, and be sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.


How To Pack For Australia

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Today is an awesome day for any of my readers who are international travelers with an eye on Australia, because Shane from Whispering Sweet Nothings is hooking us up with the ultimate packing list for going to Oz. Shane is about to embark on a big move to Australia and has been there before so her advice is solid and tested. If you enjoy Shane’s list of packing do’s and don’ts then I hope you swing by her blog, Whispering Sweet Nothings. Shane’s blog is full of her daily musings on life, recipes, and details her adventures both abroad and at home. I love Shane’s writing style because she’s got a great sense of humor and it really comes across in her writing, but Shane isn’t afraid to be vulnerable and incredibly candid as well so if you’re looking to add to your blogroll Whispering Sweet Nothings is a must.
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How is it possible for this girl to fit 4 seasons and 12 months of clothes in a couple suitcases when I move to Australia? Heck, I could barely remember the essentials for a week in Nicaragua! Forgetting toothpaste, hair brush, cash, and sunscreen…you know, the necessities. Yet managed to remember ten sundresses, 5 rompers, 4 swimsuits, and my fedora. My lesson has been learned, it pays to be prepared!
 

Basic rule of thumb: Less is more!

Travel blogs are telling me to pack my bags “half-full” so I will have plenty of room to fill my suitcases with all the clothes and souvenirs I acquire throughout the year. The mindset is that you are coming to a country to “fill yourself up” and it will all be there when you get back. You are going to have to carry whatever you pack by yourself, so leave behind half of what you think you need.

My list may vary from a typical traveler, as I need business attire for my 9-5 and I will be taking an extended year long stay (but still consider it traveling since I still have a home in Ohio)

In the office

 

Let practicality be your guide!

If you plan carefully so that all articles of clothing mix and match, you can create plenty of different outfits from a minimum number of items.  Lay out everything you
want to pack on the bed before packing the suitcase, making sure that each piece of clothing can be worn with at least 2 other items. Then fill in the
holes with bold, colorful accessories (scarves, 
jewelry, hats, bags).

Pack neutrals.

This can expand belong just black and white. Think grey, olive green, navy
blue, and tan with a layering tank or tee in a color with some zing. 
Build from there using a handful of foundation pieces. Add patterns and prints in the same tones so everything isn’t boring and monotone.  Use the same pieces in every outfit to maximize space, but wear them in different ways so that no one really notices.

Layer up!

Weather can vary quite a bit throughout the day and from town to town.  Bring lots of layers to
fill in the gaps and stay warm. They are thin, and easily roll up and fit into
the crevices in your bag. Long tanks, short sleeve tees, long sleeve tees, and
cardigans are great for staying cozy. Plus, layering gives you the versatility
to change up your outfits by swapping out different pieces for a totally new
style each time.
 
 

 

Weekend Chill


Pre-travel

✓ Check individual airlines for international limits on weight, size, and number of bags. Typically, you are allowed two checked pieces + one carry on item, with a small purse/camera/laptop.


✓ Clearly identify your luggage with your name, US and overseas address. Colored makes it easy to identify among similar baggage.

 

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Carry On

Should contain all the necessities to live for two days in the event the airline loses your luggage. 
✓ A change of clothes

✓ Toiletries in TSA approved 3 oz sizes.

✓ Prescriptions

✓ Gum: avoid the ear popping

✓ Important documents (passports, ID’s, visas, arrival instructions) along with copies in case they go missing

✓ Kindle Fire: rather than hauling bulky books, have hundreds of books right at your fingertips!

✓ Laptop (transfer all your important documents and photos to a hardrive you leave at home in case your computer breaks down)

✓ Digital camera

✓ Travel size stain remover

✓ Chargers (phone, camera, Kindle, laptop)

✓ $100 in local currency for when you first arrive

 

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Check it!

✓ 10 pairs of underwear and socks. I’m the kind of girl that will do laundry based on my underwear supply.

✓ 6 bras- 2 everyday, a strapless, a backless, a convertible, a push-up

✓ 2 swimsuits- I’ll be living on Manly Beach, after all.

✓ One business suit

✓ 10 business casual outfits

✓ 2 pairs of shorts

✓ 5 sundresses

✓ Shoes: One tennis shoes, two sandals, one heels, two flats

✓ Sunglasses

✓ One pair of jeans

✓ 3 pairs of leggings/yoga pants

✓ One set of PJ’s (honestly, I prefer to sleep in the nude)

✓ One lightweight jacket. I won’t need much winter gear as weather in Sydney is fairly temperate.

✓ Makeup. Buy all other toiletries there to avoid taking up space

✓ Bold statement accessories to make your limited wardrobe more versatile
✓ Electric outlet adapters 

✓ International voltage convertors (laptop)

Space Saving Tips

✓ Bring expendable items that you can pitch before heading back to the states (think old workout shirts)
 

✓ Fold your shirts in half, then roll them up with a rubber band. They will stay wrinkle free and take up half the space. Win/win!
✓ Pack thin knits and light cottons which don’t add much weight
 

✓ Pack in the nooks and crannies between fragile items and roll socks and scarves in shoes
 

✓ Use a purse with a cross-body strap to prevent pick pocketing  
 

✓ Choose light weight luggage so you aren’t burdened with overweight bag fees every time you travel. 
 

 

Leave Behind!

✖ Hairdryer and flat iron. The electrical current in Australia is 240/250 volts, in the US, it is 110 volts. You will not only need an adapter to plug in your appliance, you will also need either a transformer and adapter plug, or a dual voltage appliance which can be switched from 110 to 240 volts. 

✖ Bedding, linens, kitchenware
✖ Industrial size shampoo and body wash
Dry clean only clothing
✖ Phone cards (less expensive in Australia)

Find a customized packing list no matter your destination!

This is beginning to feel all to real. Hold me while I sob tears of excitement and anxiousness. There is no doubt I will acquire a lifetime worth of memories in 12 short months.

Keep up with Shane’s adventure down under!
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Start The Week Strong

Starting the week strong isn’t easy because on the real Mondays are hard. I’m a firm believer in the power of words and whenever I’m in need of a boost reading, speaking, and even thinking positive mantras are the first step of me getting down to business. There’s something about a new week that can be rejuvenating but also daunting when you’ve got a to-do list a mile long and because of that I wanted to share some inspiration sure to give you the boost you needs to hit the week running. Take a minute and remember to breath because with some perseverance and a few reminders you’ve got all the tools you need to knock this week out.

 

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I hope you enjoyed this collection of inspiration and that in some small way it’ll put the extra something in your step that you need to not only persevere through the week, but to accomplish everything you set out to do with passion and drive. If you are intentional in your actions then your life will follow suit. Let these words be the fuel that gets you going on the right track this week!

Say Yes

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Today I just wanted to send out a little reminder to everyone to say yes to themselves today. Right now I’m working through a lot of uncertainty and I have found myself saying no, putting things off and being more cautious about things which is very unlike me. Somehow I started limiting myself unnecessarily in the name of waiting for the “right” time.

No time is the right time. You have to take a chance and MAKE it the right time, otherwise you’ll be left with a whole lot of unspent potential and should-haves. Don’t limit yourself. Say yes more to yourself and get out there. There’s nothing wrong about caution or prudence, but you aren’t meant to be on the sidelines of things. Sometimes you just have to take that chance and go after not only what you want but also what must be done.

Bye-bye, procrastination because that really is just a way of telling yourself no. Nobody has time to wait for tomorrow because it might not come so let’s take a deep breath and tell ourself yes, even when it comes to doing the things we don’t want to do. If we get through the things we have to do, the things that we don’t think are fun, then we’ll be able to move on to the things we do enjoy. I always feel like I’m in a funk when I have a list a mile long weighing me down and the relief that I have when I actually get everything out of the way is amazing. I sleep better, I write better, I’m nicer, heck, even food tastes better.

I’m saying yes today (even to the really not so fun stuff) and I hope you will too. You’ve got a lot to offer the world, all you have to do is stop holding yourself back, so say yes and let’s get a move on this.

Tips For Planning A Staycation

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Summer is all about amazing warm weather, enjoying a little break from the daily grind with vacation trips with your loved ones, but what about when money is tight or your just isn’t giving you the vacation days you need for that European whirlwind of a trip you’ve been daydreaming about? That’s when it’s time to look local and plan a staycation, my vacation starved homie. Today I’m teaming up with Kim from A Moving Story and we are sharing our best tips for making the most out of summer with a relaxing and fun-filled staycation that will help you enjoy all that summer has to offer.

Explore Historic Districts

I’m a sucker for history and with my husband being in the service we have moved around quite a bit and one thing that has been consistent is that every place we live has a “historic” district in town or somewhere nearby. I usually hit Trip Advisor to see what other people have flagged around me or I visit the National Park Service website and check out their directory especially for places and tips for travelers. I have found some of the best stuff that I never knew was just a 10 or so minutes down the road from my new home.

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Ever heard of the Ava Maria Grotto? Neither had I but it’s hanging out in the middle of Alabama and is some of the coolest handmade art that I’ve ever laid eyes on.

Go on a Treasure Hunt Geocache Style

Ok, so when I used to do a lot of outdoor running I used to find these little tags on trees way out in the middle of no where or little notices on rocks way out in the prairie and I never knew what they were for until one of my running partners let me know they were geocache nodes. If you’ve never heard of geocaching its pretty much a giant treasure hunt that is free and open for ANYONE to play, whenever they want. It goes like this: You first nee a GPS enabled device so your smartphone will do just fine, then you download the geocache app particular to your area which will have a set of coordinates all ready for you to start with. You then navigate to these coordinates and look for the geocache container that has more coordinates for you to continue on your treasure hunt. What’s fun is that you can even create your own geocache and see how people do finding it. I’m kind of a nerd so going Harrison Ford while out on a run was pretty much perfect for me and this thing is FREE and fun for any size of group that’s ready for a local adventure. Here’s a guide on getting down and dirty with your first geocache outing. Sidenote: You can usually just google geocaching in your area and the great thing is that most of them come with apps connected to the national parks that they might be in which can be super helpful.

Pig Out With An Indoor Picnic

One of my husband and my favorite things to do is to have an indoor picnic where we just round-up every single thing that we could want. Think like a YOLO meal on steroids. (Yes, I said YOLO) We then make room in the living room and get our set up just right with cushions and blankets while we lay out all the goodies and just spend a while eating and laughing with each other because I’ll take climate-controlled picnics over fighting with hungry ants and crazed bees any day of the week.

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Chicken, beer, oreos, grapes and kimbop make for a the best indoor picnic ever.

Book a Massage

I can’t say enough about massages because they make the world go around and my heart happy. A family friend owns their own massage place and dear lord we keep them in business with our visits. You’ll be surprised at how rejuvenated and relaxed an hour with a trained masseur will leave you feeling. So book your massage and relax part of the day away because you deserved it!

Go Outside Your Comfort Zone

Usually when we move to a new place I’m on the look out for classes to try, farmer’s markets to visit, or well- reviewed restaurants to try so I encourage you to break out of your routine because it’s the routine of things that is bogging you down and making your city seem like the same old, same old. The first thing I did when I got to my new home in Georgia was find the nearest Korean restaurant and get directions to the Asian market in town and man that was a great day trip. We made new friends, got cooking tips, and even got some info on where we could get Korean food on the go during the weekends. Approaching grocery shopping like it was more than just a rush to get in and out really made the whole experience worth it and just what my day needed.

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I am after finding my local Asian market with as much Gochujang that I can carry.

And now I get to introduce Kim to y’all and get her thoughts on how she makes a Staycation work with a family! Kim is a wonderful wife, mother and blogger. Her blog A Moving Story is packed full of great travel destinations both domestic and abroad. Check out how Kim makes the summer memorable and happy with her family even when she isn’t leaving her city.

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I was so excited when Crystal suggested the idea of a story on “Staycations”—inexpensive vacations that you can enjoy right where you are. The truth is, there’s no place like home, and one of the most fun things you can do is be a tourist in your own hometown!

Sometimes, it’s important to abandon the routine and rigor of our everyday lives and take a moment to be purposeful and enjoy the activities and adventures in our own backward. Below, are my tips for an awesome staycation. Please feel free to suggest your own! I’d love to add to the list!

 Get Your Groupon On!

Your staycation shouldn’t break the bank—and it should also encourage you to explore areas that you wouldn’t usually visit. I like to leverage deals from Groupon and Living Social to consider activities and opportunities in the area that you haven’t explored before. Leveraging published discounts can encourage you to explore activities outside your comfort zone at a reasonable price! It’s a low-cost way to experience a new adventure and support a local business too!

Incredibly, Groupon is promoting staycations now. They’re running a promotion offering a contest entry for every local Groupon you buy or redeem between now and 8/24, you’ll get one automatic entry. Each week, 15 lucky winners will receive a $500 cash prize and one luckier winner will receive a $50,000 Grand Prize!! How cool is that?

 Pack A Picnic

My hometown is full of parks and picnic shelters. Many of our area parks rent boats, sailboats, kayaks and canoes. Area parks and picnic shelters are an affordable way to enjoy the natural beauty of your community.

Normally, I’m pretty busy and don’t make the time to pack a picnic–even if I make time to visit the park. But here’s the deal: it’s summer, and shame on you if you don’t take advantage of the opportunity to eat outside and enjoy the beauty of your area parks! We recently packed a picnic dinner and attended an outdoor concert—it was a fun opportunity to do something different and gather up some of the food from our fridge and make a purposeful effort to eat it! We had a blast and you will too!

Check Out Your Library!

My mom is a librarian, so I had to tell you to go to the library. BUT— her library, and many others like it across the country offer awesome, low-cost or free access to area museums and art galleries if you have a library card! Her program is called the, “The Michigan Activity Pass” program (MAP). This program is a statewide partnership that offers enhanced access to arts and cultural organizations in Michigan, and all you need to take advantage of it is a library card!

The other cool thing?

You don’t have to leave home to use it! From your home you can easily print a pass to one of the nearly 60 participating institutions. We had a similar program with the library system when I lived in Minneapolis, and I suggest checking with your library to see if you have one too! Some partners offer complimentary or reduced price admission; others, discounts in their gift shop. To keep things fair, the passes do have an end date, but with advance planning you should be able to plan an exciting adventure at a reasonable cost!

Disconnect To Better Connect

My husband doesn’t like this philosophy, but I’m inflexible on this point: when we’re on a staycation, all phones must go into airplane mode! I prefer a device-free holiday (although admittedly, from time-to-time you do need Google Maps or the camera feature on your phone to capture the moment). Often, the hardest part of reconnecting while vacationing at home is disconnecting from the technology and chaos of our everyday lives. But a staycation only works when you ignore the distractions of your otherwise crazy and busy everyday life.

Enjoy A Movie Without Leaving The House!

In our home, we love to watch first-run movies in our living room. It’s a convenient and cost-effective way to enjoy a first-run film. We love the smorgasbord of of favorite snacks, and watching movies in our pajamas and sweats! And while purchasing a movie for $14.99 on iTunes may seem steep, it’s much cheaper than movie tickets and treats at the theatre!

Keep up with A Moving Story

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My Blogging Essentials

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When it comes to blogging there are a few things that I would be lost without and today I wanted to share my blogging essentials with you. Seriously, without these babies I’d be a hot mess afloat in blog land. I made sure to include my absolute favorite things covering blog ads, images, keeping up with blogs I love, and of course getting my social media organized. You might not be struck by anything particularly revolutionary but I’ve been asked more than a few times which resources I’ve found to be useful so I thought why not share them in one handy post.

After all sharing is caring, right?

Blogs Ads

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When it comes to handling blog ads I am an unabashed Passionfruit Ads devotee and I can’t even begin to tell you how much time Passionfruit has saved me. Without Passionfruit Ads I would have never made the leap and offered blog sponsorships because the whole business of rotating ads, getting the html just right, and getting my payment options all in a row just seemed daunting. Now with one copy past and a click I’ve got all my ads just how I want them and all appropriately scheduled to go. If you’ve been debating wether or not to jump on the Passionfruit bandwagon stop wondering and jump on board. I swear that you’ll never look back and the great thing is that if you’re a smaller blogger and looking to get your feet wet Passionfruit offers an affordable price option (we are talking 3 bucks a month!) perfect for starting out.

Images

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Ok, so when it comes to images I usually try and take my own because it’s just so much easier that way. I get to inject some of my personality and vision into my blog, plus I don’t have to deal with copyright infringement. However, I like to peruse other websites for inspiration and there are a couple of instances where I was struck by an image that was just too perfect so Death To Stock Photo and Little Visuals have become my go-to image sources when I’m not making camera magic. The great thing about Death To Stock Photo and Little Visuals is that with a sign up you can get 7 awesome images delivered to your inbox. These images are yours to play with and get just right for your blog without having to worry about breaking a copyright law. YAY. Sidenote: Death To Stock Photo delivers photos monthly and Little Visuals weekly and you can access all of Little Visuals photos on the website if you want more of a selection.

Keeping With My Favorite Blogs

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This won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but Bloglovin’ has my heart always and forever, but that was to be expected. After rolling my eyes at GFC and making the switch to WordPress I really don’t see why any other blog RSS is needed. Plus, it has an app that actually works like it should so GAME OVER.

Social Media

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For a time I was all about Hootsuite, but then I got my hands on Buffer and its been a revelation. I love Buffer because I’m able to schedule out things throughout the day while attaching photos. I used to be paranoid that I was going to run that fine line of spamming on my twitter so the automatic time spacing of Buffer puts my mind at ease. Also, I love the feedback that it gives you which is critical in determining your best times for social media interactions.

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Revive Old Post is kind of a magical little fairy of a WordPress plugin that I wonder how I got along without before I stumbled on it. All you do is install this handy plugin and it automatically cycles through your old content at random and posts it periodically throughout the day. I set my own to repost every 4 hours and since I’ve utilized it my twitter has been seeing a lot more traffic and interaction. I love that it shares at random because sometimes it’s hard to remember everything I’ve blogged.

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Hello Bar is one of those snazzy things that you see on a lot of blogs, but no one really mentions and it took me some digging to figure out how people got that sweet little bar at the top of their blog. The great thing about Hello Bar is that not only can you change the color scheme and look to match your blog, but you can also set it to take your reader anywhere and I used mine to direct readers straight to my Bloglovin’. Hello Bar is completely free, looks professional, and allows you to draw attention to an area of your web presence that you feel deserves a second look so what’s not to love?

Text + Photos

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Anything that I’ve ever tried to make with photoshop resembles a stick figure crudely made in MS Paint and that is my curse to bear. So praise the Lord for anything that will let me put some snappy text on an image or get my giveaway photos all in order because holy heck that stuff is TIME CONSUMING. Picmonkey is my saving grace and I know a lot of bloggers use it and that it is sometimes looked down on by the more design savvy, but it’s really useful. I love Picmonkey and I have no shame.

Comments

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There’s a wide variety to chose from when it comes to commenting systems and that means that with a little digging you’ll be able to select the system best suited for your blog and personality. I personally love to encourage discussion between not only myself and readers, but amongst readers and that makes Disqus the obvious choice for me. Not only is Disqus perfect for getting a discussion going in the comment section it’s also pretty to look at and lets you see who has replied to you on any previous comments you’ve left on the Disqus system.

SEO

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Ok, so I’m not claiming to understand SEO on the whole, but what I do know is that Yoast is helpful. As in really, really, really helpful in making sense of SEO and making it work for you. I got turned on to Yoast by my awesome web designer Melyssa from The Nectar Collective and I can’t thank her enough. Yoast takes a look at your blog post and basically gives you a grade for your SEO and offers suggestions for making your SEO more effective. Since I’ve really been trying to use Yoast I’ve noticed more traffic and now I’m kicking myself for shrugging this plugin off for as long as I did. Learn from my mistake and get your Yoast on.

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Well, that list was much longer than it was when I was thinking about putting this together, but I hope it offers a little direction if you are wondering which online resources to make use of with your own blog. I use each and every single one of these online resources as a blogger and I know what it’s like to wonder how to do something in the most effective manner and I hope this list offers a little something new for you to consider as a blogger.

If you’ve got any resources that you are in love with please share them! I’m always looking for the next great thing so any suggestions on resources that I didn’t name are totally welcome, especially if it helps me make the most my time online.