Wednesday, August 31, 2016

72 Hours in Santorini: Day 2

On our first full day in Santorini, we woke up nice and early to explore Oia without the hoards of tourists. We thought it would be a nice way to have a bit more of an intimate experience with the town. There were a handful of other people with the same intentions as well as a few couples getting wedding photography done but in general, the town was lovely in its sleepy state and we definitely savored the time.
Exploring the town was also a nice way to kill time since our hotel didn't start serving breakfast until 8:30 anyway.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

72 Hours in Santorini: Day 1

Our flight to Thira started off with a small snafu: since it was the busy holiday season and so many planes were making their way to Santorini's tiny airport, we were delayed by 2 hours. But, since everyone was headed off on holiday, no one was particularly sour about it. And in fact, while we were parked on the jetway, we were allowed to walk around the plane and check out the cockpit, which was pretty cool.

I do want to warn anyone who hasn't been or whose only exposure to the Greek Islands is through Pinterest that it isn't all glamorous. We did see a ton of unfinished construction, which we assumed was due to the economic troubles the country is experiencing at the moment. Also, the charming picturesque towns you see in movies are isolated to small zones. The rest of the island is just unsettled dusty desert, which you'll notice as you're flying in; this actually shocked my sister who said she was kind of disappointed when we first arrived in Thira. We encountered quite a bit of donkey poop in Oia and Fira; the donkeys are used to haul humans up and down the steeper paths. This made me really sad as the donkeys just stand in the hot sun and they don't seem to be treated all that humanely. Plus, there are a few restaurants that are affected by the smell of the poop so keep that in mind as you're walking around trying to decide where to eat. Lastly, because these are small islands with old plumbing, you cannot flush anything down the toilet; you must put your toilet tissue in a "hygiene sac" and then toss it into the rubbish bin. So yeah, the Greek isles look super romantic on Pinterest and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants but there are several not-so-charming aspects that I wanted to warn you about because hey, this is good information to have. Nonetheless, all three islands that we visited were definitely some of the most charming places I've ever been so please don't let my PSA deter you from going.
The morning started bright and early for us at 4:30, which made me feel a little nauseated but wasn't actually that bad since it was 23:30 back home.

Monday, August 29, 2016

12 Hours in London & Video Diary

I'm pretty excited to be starting the recap blog posts of this past trip. It was just the best time ever, mainly because I was more than ready for a break from work but also because I got to revisit London, my first true travel love. I hadn't been since 2010, which was kind of crazy because I'd gone so often in my early 20s; (I first visited in 2008, went twice in 2009, and then again in 2010).

I had been itching to get back to London because I'd heard so much about how the food scene has changed (for the better) and because I really wanted to go and do some under-the-radar activities, the same way I did when I revisited Paris for the umpteenth time. Well, mission accomplished. I'll have a few more London posts after I finish my Greek posts; we sandwiched Greece with a few slices of London bread. But in this post, I'll outline what we managed to accomplish with jetlagged minds.
For the first time, we flew Norwegian and actually really liked it. The staff at JFK were a bit disorganized when it came to boarding, but we found the planes to be really new and comfortable so no harm, no foul.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Philadelphia Weekend

I'm back from holiday today and I'm suffering from the post-holiday blues. Even more so because we flew back last night and I'm back at work today and I'm jetlagged and tired and just miserable to be here.

But, I don't want to start off the week feeling sour. Instead, I want to recap a really fun weekend we had in Philly a few weeks ago.
We were only there for a day, but we packed a lot in and it was so much fun.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Underseat Carry On

Greetings from Santorini! Okay, not really, because I'm actually typing this from the comfort of my own bed, a few days before my departure date. But, as you read this, I will be in Greece (unless something goes horribly wrong; touch wood).

I'm actually pretty excited to write this post because I am obsessed with my new underseat carry on. The quest for this bag actually started just a month ago. I had decided to take one of my weekender totes as my main bag for this UK-Greece trip. However, I realized that on the past couple of trips, I basically ruined my shoulders by carrying tote bags. Florida was an especially fragile example because I'd gotten a bit sunburned the day before we were leaving so my shoulders were already raw.

I didn't want to pack my 21" carry on spinner for this trip because it was too big. My sister and I - for the first time in a while - decided not to share luggage on this trip mostly because the 21" spinner was too big even for us to share (which is what we usually do). So, I started looking for smaller rolling bags and ended up falling for a Nicole Miller underseat carry on bag. I had a $10 Amazon credit anyway, so I bought the 'Taylor Collection' model in tan and I am stoked.
Obviously, the trip I'm currently on will be the first true test and I will report back with any updates, but so far, I am smitten. Also, I don't actually plan on shoving this under the seat in front of me. Instead, I will have a little tote with my iPad and toothbrush and other items that I like to have handy and I'll pop this bag into the overhead bin. However, it's nice to know that it's small enough to tuck under the seat if the bins get full (so that I don't have to check my bag planeside). Plus, we're flying with some budget airlines once we're in Europe and they only allow one bag so it'll be nice to be able to squish everything into this little guy and not have to bother checking bags. I did pay the ‎€10 for a checked bag, just in case (because it's something ridiculous like €25 if you decide you need it at the airport) but I'm glad I won't need it.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Surviving a Long Haul Flight

Later this week, I'm headed off on my summer holiday. We'll be spending quite a bit of time in airports and on planes, which are probably two of the most uncomfortable parts of a vacation, unless you're fancy enough to be part of some airline club and have enough money to fly first class (and I mean the fully reclining, jealousy-inducing first class; not just the front-of-the-plane first class).

As someone who prides herself on being frugal when practical, I've never flown in any class other than coach. And though I'm thankful that I'm on the smaller side so the width of the plane seats and the amount of legroom allotted to us in peasant class isn't as uncomfortable as it could be if I were larger, it still sucks.
But the experience is mostly what you make it. So, I thought I would share some of the ways I like to pamper myself to give my brain the illusion that I'm happy and comfortable, instead of squished like a sardine in a flying tin can full of recycled air.

Monday, August 01, 2016

DIY: Turn a Dress into a Jumpsuit

I'd purchased a dress online a while ago because it was super cheap but when I tried it on, it gave me Pilgrim/Pioneer vibes. I had gotten it to wear to work, since I figured a midi dress would be good and appropriate for the office but it was a bit too conservative - on the side of ugly conservative - so I decided I would turn it into a work-appropriate jumpsuit.
This isn't exactly a tutorial because it will really depend on the piece you're starting with. But, I have some guidelines and tips to share.

You'll need:
dress you don't much care for
a pair of shorts that fit you (and that you enjoy the fit of)
sewing machine (or needle & thread)
thread in suitable color
ruler/measuring tape
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