London Round Two: Carry-on Only on an International Flight

I. LOVE. Packing. I get more excited for packing than the actual trip (until I get there, of course). I have spent the past two weeks trawling for "what's in my bag?" posts because A) seeing things neatly organized and arranged makes me super happy, B) I always plan my bag-packing at least a month in advance out of both excitement and boredom, C) I am on a life-long quest for the PERFECT weekender/carry on bag. It's my White Whale. Right now I'm looking very hard at those Lo & Sons OMG bags I see everywhere, especially because their product page has not only a picture of all the things that fit inside one bag (clearly they saw me coming), but also a video of a lady putting everything inside. Visual people, rejoice! Now go forth and watch their bag-filling video and weep for joy.

I leave for my London housing-scouting trip in four days. Naturally, I started planning what to bring about a month ago (not to mention the hours spent staring at the Google map I made, trying to will the trip into the present). Hopefully this will be my most streamlined trip yet; I need to save room for all the birthday treats I plan to buy myself.

I've decided to try and fit everything into two carry on bags since the trip is only five days. Checking bags is a hassle and do I really need all that stuff?  No. There's no way I can plan out my clothes bag so far in advance, but I did put together a list of what MUST go in my personal item and get gently shoved under the seat.

what's in my bag london

Things I'm Bringing in My Carry On Which Will Hopefully Not Be Disastrously Heavy:

1) iPad (cleverly disguised as a Moleskine notebook): I loaded it with the HBO/BBC Parade's End and Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night because apparently I enjoy having my heart stomped on.

2) Planner: For jotting notes, looking up addresses when there's no (free) wi-fi, and using the appropriate bear sticker to describe your mood that day.

3) Passport: Otherwise I will be rudely surprised when I try to get through customs.

4) Kiehl's Facial Mist: There's nothing worse than feeling so dried out, you want to pour water in your nose. A few sprays of this makes you feel a lot less gross.

5) Nintendo 3DS: This one came loaded with The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and I am saving it for the inevitable few-hour wide-awake period between plane naps.

6) Fujifilm Instax Camera: It's a little bulky but so much fun to take little polaroid-looking pictures and put sticker-frames on them.

7) Sunglasses: Even though I'm going to England there's a chance for sunlight.

8) Sleep Mask: Someone always has their window open right when the pilot turns and the windows are facing directly into the sun.

9) Neon Sharpies: Sometimes you need to write something VERY IMPORTANT that you can see from space.

10) Lancôme Palette: This thing has mascara, powder, AND lip liner which is impossible to find in other palettes. I bought it on the flight from London to Atlanta before and I'm excited to use it to obsessively check my eyeliner.

11) Kiwi: Air travel can be stressful and you might need something cute to look to keep from hulking up on someone (seriously how do I always end up with eleven?)

There are a few other things I'm bringing that aren't in the picture like chargers, my wallet, snacks, and my makeup bag. But those are things I bring around with me every day. I almost never get to use my Instax camera or my facial mist (it's crazy humid here 100% of the time).

Hopefully I have a great experience going carry-on only, since I plan to only check one (maybe two) bags when I move to London later this year. I'll let you know how it goes!

Springtime Juice Cleanse & Ten Whole Foods I'm Excited to Eat

urban remedy juice cleanse

I finished the cleanse! It was surprisingly easily. Mostly because I didn't have to think for one second about what to eat for three days: just open the fridge and knock back a bottle. The juices were delicious (although one was more of a shake made of raspberries and was kind of like drinking sludge) and I have made a juice every day since the cleanse ended. Juicing is way easier and pleasant now, for some reason before I cut everything up too much before and it took forever. But it's really not a big deal when you'll got a stock pile of veggie leftovers and surplus apples hanging around. I researched some of the local farms that offer CSA boxes (the best idea I've ever heard of really) and I missed the deadline for the one I wanted, so I'll have to do some more searching. But there are all kinds of farmer's markets and visitable farms around here that I didn't know about until now (as well as a half-built Whole Foods that torments me every day that it isn't finished yet) and I plan on descending on all of them and making off with their shiny, gorgeous, crispy, tasty, produce. Also, going down near the Gulf to get fresh seafood. There aren't words in any language to describe how I feel about good seafood. THERE IS NO GREATER GIFT FOR YOUR STOMACH.

juice cleanse prep

Except of course the silky golden nectar that floats down your gullet when you juice some fresh vegetables and fruit. I had never tried fennel before and it smells licorice-y and WONDERFUL and why did I give up on juicing before? Celery is one of the best smelling veggies you can put near your snoot, and parsley makes juices taste irresistibly fresh. It doesn't take as long as I remember (not even cleaning all the parts in between juice types) and my juicers does a crazy good job. Ah, well. I know now. Soon it will be summer and there will be incredibly fresh, in-season tomatoes and cucumbers all over the place and in my tummbly.

Now that I've gotten back to eating nice things, there are lots of things I'm excited to eat. Eating super healthy is really fun because it's new, and there are all kinds of different and better ways to feed yourself than before. Most of the time, too, health food tastes a million times better. Have you ever had raw honey? Go wrap your lips around that.

Ahem. Ten Whole Foods I'm Excited to Eat:

  1. Quinoa. It cooks faster than most gluten-free grains (the brown rice I have says cook for 50 minutes? What's going on?!) and actually tastes like something.

  2. Artichokes. Just don't braise them in a bunch of wine and an overripe lemon that will ruin the entire dish and send you into a severe food rage.

  3. Butternut Squash. You can just sauté it in coconut oil, add salt, garlic, and curry powder, and you will try to lick the pan but DON'T because it's hot and you'll burn.

  4. Chickpeas. Canned wild sardines go in most of my salads, and chickpeas taste amazing when covered in sardine olive oil from the can. And some ras el hanout spices. Seriously, so get yourself some of that. It has rose petals in it.

  5. Blackberries/raspberries. I love love love having berries around to snack on but they go bad quickly so you have to strategically plan your snacking and/or put them in your Hello Kitty lunch box for the next day.

  6. Cashews. I'm allergic to tree nuts but cashews are actually a seed. Of course every healthy recipe calls for walnuts or almonds or something, but cashews usually do the trick.

  7. Carrots. Carrot juice is really sweet and you can make your own V8 or apple-carrot-ginger juice (and put a crazy amount of ginger so it literally slaps your tongue in the face).

  8. Broccoli. It likes to be roasted and thrown in udon noodle soups, but also stinks up the kitchen at work when you reheat it.

  9. Cucumbers. After a slightly traumatic experience with "raw cucumber soup" from another detox, I had sworn to never eat them again, but juiced cukes are a different matter. I just need some other ingredients to mellow out the cucumber-i-ness.

  10. Cacao. I keep forgetting to add this magical chocolatey powder into my shakes, but you can make all kinds of not-deadly desserts and snacks with it too.

I've been eating really well for the past week and I feel great! I already feel so wonderful simply because it's spring and everything is alive and happy outside. I went to a little kitchen store across from the Jesuit College and ALL the azaleas were open and crazy! I ended up driving all over town and through the fancy neighborhoods and saw azaleas everywhere. Huge, lush bushes just looming around every corner. I mean these things really look like they could eat you and no one would know where you had gone. The picture below is my favorite hot pink color, but there were also purple, coral, like pink, and white blossoms. They will only be open for a few weeks at most, but they make me so happy.

Doing the juice cleanse in spring was a great idea. I felt so optimistic and renewed about the weather that it just made sense to change my routine as well. Winter can be wonderful because you just want to stay home in your cozy bed fort, but spring makes you energized and want to go out into the world. And that includes going out and doing things for yourself. It's much easier to make a positive change in your life when you feel positive, especially since in the next month or so it will be so miserably hot outside, no one will want to do anything. But for now I'm going to enjoy our brief spring (and look forward to my London trip in three weeks!) and get out and about as much as I can!

pink azaleas

Ich trinke Saft: Juice Cleansing and German


A few posts ago I said that one of my goals was to detox every season. Spring has officially sprung here in South Louisiana (and I will soon do a post of all the absolutely gorgeous azaleas that are blooming right now) and the weather is perfect and I am exploding with sunshine and happiness. I remember reading in an alkaline diet cookbook that the best time to do a detox is when the seasons (and your body) are in transition, so seeing as it was 45 degrees yesterday morning and 70 in the afternoon, I think it's about time to spring clean my body.

The other day I watched Hungry for Change (let's hear it for Amazon Prime), a documentary about the traps of the diet industry and processed foods. There were lots of familiar faces; I recognized the man from Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead and Dr. Junger who developed the Clean program. I kind of jumped into that program without knowing what I was doing so I ended up quitting it early, but when I was doing it right I felt amazing. I lost about 15 pounds of water weight in two and a half weeks, and my skin looked great. Anyway, I was already familiar with a lot of the things that they talked about in the documentary but there were also some mind-blowing moments that reminded me I need to get on better track with eating healthy (double doozies are no longer my friends). I eat way healthier than I used to but lately I've been bingeing on Reese's for no good reason. What convinced me the most was that they were all promoting juice cleanses; I have a juicer but it's a lot of trouble to use more than casually. Then I remembered that I had seen some ready-made cleanse packages online that were super expensive, but when I looked again and figured in the work, expense, and time that juicing for three whole days would take, I figured I couldn't put a price on my health.

So I've decided to start the Urban Remedy Signature Cleanse, which looks delicious (and the site looks legit: anyone who is that thorough and that design-minded gets my vote). I'll start with a three-day one and I'm sure it will be crazy helpful, even if I might have to be a hermit for the weekend. This weekend is the perfect time for a cleanse; it's unreasonably beautiful outside and I will probably want to spend lots of time just wandering outside the convent in town leering at their azalea bushes (and maybe go poke around that herbalist's shop). I also found a juice bar nearby  that I'm dying to try out. My kit should come in the mail tomorrow and there will definitely be a post-cleanse post next week; I'll be sure to take pictures, write down how I'm feeling, and let you know how the juices taste. I'm excited!

And if you're wondering what the deal is with the title, it's that I found this awesome language app called Duolingo, and I started learning German. Learning a new language wasn't one of my goals for this year but I've always always wanted to learn German so I went for it. Duolingo is completely free, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to use. There's an adorable owl coach (above!) that reminds you to practice every day based on how fast you want to progress (and you can change his outfits too). You can use on your computer or other device and you only have to practice a little every day. It also has French, which I desperately need to improve, and I'm sure I'll have to read a few more languages for design history/traveling around Europe. If I learned anything on my Europe trip in college it's that central Europeans probably speak German. The "Holy Roman Empire" left quite a legacy; we visited Hungary, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Austria and Germany, and if German wasn't their first language it was one of their secondary ones. Not so in France, where the Frenchiness is VERY FRENCH and if you don't speak French then good day to you, sir.

All kinds of new things happening for spring! I love spring. ❤
Design by Fearne