Black Friday shopping – Successes and Fails

As I mentioned previously, I fell victim to buying all the things during Black Friday.  The deals really got me and I have no shame for the amount of stuff that I purchased. Throughout the week following Thanksgiving, all of my package started arriving and it was like Christmas every single day but not really because I bought it myself.  It actually got to a point where I couldn’t always remember what I had purchased and what was arriving.

Here are my success and fails in terms of what I purchased:

  • Skyroam wifi: Have you heard about this? It’s basically pocket wifi that works in 130 countries! After looking into other things like Google Fi, I think that soon I’ll probably no longer need Skyroam but for now, I am super excited to have this in preparation for my trips.  The day pass is $1 cheaper than what my cell provider for unlimited data over a period of 24 hours.  But the Black Friday sale gave me 10 days free so not only did I get the little wifi thing for myself, but I got 10 days free which means that I now have the device/powerbank for all my travels and I am able to use it on my trip to Asia this year. This will be a new thing for me considering I usually fly by the seat of my pants and don’t connect to data.
  • Skincare products: After turning 30, I’ve decided that I want to do better about taking care of my skin. I’ve been working really hard to test out new product offerings and trying see what really works for my skin. Now that it’s winter, I know that I need more moisturizing products because my skin is really suffering.  So I have a few products from Claudlie and Clinque that I’ll be trying.  Obviously, I won’t know if this one is a success for a few weeks but I am excited, especially because everything is travel size so I can bring it with me on all of my trips.
  • A velvet shirt: This needs to be returned. Why I bought a velvet shirt, no one will ever really know. I thought that it was something I’d want to wear all the time because it’s soft and it looked cute.  But that thing is basically a crop top for me so it needs to go back.
  • A pj set: I bought a flannel pj set. I’m still undecided on whether I want to keep it or not but I think that I will probably end up returning it.  It doesn’t really fit me that well so I think that I will return it for something else that is much more my style when it comes to sleeping.
  • An Instapot: AH! I am so excited. I want to start cooking and meal prepping for work so that I stop going out to eat all the time.  The food offerings around the office are great but let’s be honest, I spend way too much money on food that isn’t necessarily healthy or really that great for me. So I need more varieties so that I can eat all the foods and be healthy about my consumption decisions.
  • Leggings: These are very specific leggings. I bought the Oiselle bird hug leggings again. When I say again, I really mean I bought my second pair. I got my first pair and then immediately put them on, sat at my computer after they arrived and purchased my second pair of them.  If you haven’t tried these, you are missing out. Plus they seem to repel dog hair which is great!
  • Turtleneck sweaters: The weather is starting to get cold and I think that we’re going to have a cold but mildly dry winter which means that I need all the warm clothing possible. I am so excited about sweaters and I’ve been looking for some good sweaters, luckily Nordstrom had a great deal this time around for them.
  • An Aritzia Puffer Jacket: I have the Everlane super long puffer that they released last year and it is amazing but it keeps me way too warm when it’s only 35 degrees outside. The Aritzia puffer was on super sale and is the same length as my Everlane one but is definitely more light weight so I am very happy with that purchase. Plus I finally branched out from my standard black jackets and got something dark red/burgundy to spice up my wardrobe. I cannot wait to bust this out and see how it works in the weather.

Overall, I am pretty proud of the purchases I made and cannot wait to test them all out.  To be honest, the Instapot might be my number one purchase. Yes, it may even beat out the Skyroam pocket wifi.  We shall see how this all goes.

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Holiday Travel Plans

It’s official! I booked my trip to Asia for the holidays.  I have decided that since my family has left the states for the holidays, I am going to follow them to Asia rather than going completely solo this year. The plan right now is that I will get some time in Taiwan to spend with family and family friends.  As of right now, from what I can tell, my parents have planned out my short time in Taipei and it will be filled with seeing relatives that I haven’t seen or spoken to in years.  As much fun as that is, my Chinese is terrible so I am slightly dreading this because I’m not sure how great of a communicator I will be.  But it is what it is at this point.

Following the short stint in Taipei, I will make my way to Seoul, South Korea.  Yup.  I’m finally going to South Korea!  I’ve flown through the airport so many times but have never stopped, I’ve been to Asia so many times and have not been to Seoul so here it is. It’s finally happening.  I’m going to spend a few days in Seoul and check out the wonders of this giant city.  I am absolutely terrified of it because I am concerned that I won’t get to see as much as I should and I won’t fully live it up like I should but I am still going to try regardless.  If you have any recommendations for Seoul, let me know.

After that, I will head to Tokyo.  Tokyo is another place that I have flown through more times than I can count and I have never left the airport.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve only ever flown through Narita and have never left it.  I am so excited to finally go to Tokyo and see what this place has to offer.  One of my bucket list items is to take a photo in Shibuya so that will happen while I’m there.  It has to happen.  When my few days in Tokyo are up, I head to Kyoto. I’ll be in Kyoto for a few days exploring and checking out what it has to offer and I cannot wait.

I’ll be gone for just under three weeks. It’s not going to be as long of a trip as it was last year but that’s okay.  I am still just as excited and cannot wait to be wandering the world again.  It’s been almost a full year since I last left for an international trip so I am definitely getting antsy.

If you have any recommendations on things to do or where to go, let me know!

Social Media Purge

I’ve decided that I want to try a new challenge this month. I’ve been big on the whole 30 day challenges, and when I say that I’ve been big on it I’ve done like two. My step goal and then reading.  But I think that this will be my new thing, in an effort to form better habits and be healthier, I am going to do more 30 day challenges and document them.  Obviously in addition to documenting all my travels.

My new challenge for December is minimizing my social media presence and how much time I spend on social media as a whole.  Why am I doing this? I’ve started noticing that in order to fill my time, I’ve resorted to checking Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as my main staples of entertainment.  I don’t necessarily feel like I am experiencing any sort of mental shift because of it but I am curious to see if maybe it’s just been so subtle that I didn’t realize I’ve had a major case of FOMO or feeling the need to show off.  I’m not quite sure.  But, I spend so much time checking my phone and checking to see how many likes I’ve received on things that I’ve posted and I want to get away from that.  I don’t think I need the validation of social media users to prove that I am living a good life. I’ve been reading so many articles lately about how social media has started changing the way people think, the way they behave and how it’s really shaped society today so I’m curious to see if I can break the spell for myself.

I was inspired by a few articles that I’ve been reading about people who have deleted the apps from their phones and people who have flat out deleted their accounts.  I must admit that both of those seem drastic to me.  I may be trying to justify making this challenge easier for myself, but here’s why I’m not deleting my apps or my accounts: a large portion of my friends have moved away and social media is the way to stay on top of their lives without constantly having to text them, especially now as they’re having kids and aren’t necessarily as connected to their phones.  Along with that, my core friend group uses things like FB messenger to keep tabs on each other rather than texting because the whole Android vs iOS battle really messes with our phones. Lastly, I love having a place where I can post photos and keep documentation of what I’m doing and my life.

So here is my plan of attack:

I am going to move my social media accounts into a folder rather than have them all spread out separately on my phone (I have an iPhone so you can image the little boxes full of apps).  I am just going to admit it now that I know I have an addiction to Instagram so that one app is going to stay outside of the box.  But the goal with moving Facebook and Twitter will be to stop me from using them as time wasters.  I don’t post a lot in either and the apps are literally just on my phone so that I can scroll through them mindlessly when I’m bored.  So my expectation is that if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.  The goal for this month is to only go into Facebook and Twitter if I have notifications totaling a maximum of 15 minutes a week per app. The goal for Instagram is going to be a little different. I found the “your activity on Instagram” metrics on the app so I can see what my average is per week.  My goal here is to go from 45 minutes a day to decrease it by 5 minutes a week so that eventually I only spend 25 minutes a day.  If I can do this in the month of December, I’d love to get it to a point where I am only on Instagram for maybe 5-7 minutes a day and then maybe just a few times a week to do a check in.

Wish me luck!

Black Friday Shopping

I have decided that I am the perfect target for all forms of Black Friday shopping and Cyber Monday deals. It’s a bit of a problem but it’s a problem I am actually okay with. This Black Friday, I spent the morning scouring the internet for all sorts of deals to see what I could get and surprisingly enough I spent money on practical items. I didn’t think that I would actually get to a point where all my purchases would be all practical items and I feel pretty proud of myself.

That being said, I spent a decent chunk of money because I also realized that I was only a few weeks away from my big trip and I hadn’t purchased any flights or hotels.  So I used Black Friday as an opportunity to find some discounts through Expedia to get cheaper hotels and flights.  But unfortunately, I spent quite a bit of money because I was pairing all of my shopping with the travel bookings.

It’s interesting because what I learned through this entire experience is that I feel more than okay purchasing hotels and flights. In fact, when it is time for me to pull the trigger on a travel experience, it is so very easy for me to decide that it is something I want. When it comes to purchasing anything really tangible, I have a hard time actually making the purchase. Usually I will put a million things in my cart, and then continually shop around until I decide what I want.  This usually ends up with me removing a bunch of items from my cart and then purchasing about one item total.

I remember back when I decided that I wanted to purchase a vacuum for my apartment – I shopped around for days and months and couldn’t pull the trigger to purchase one.  Even though Target had one for about $50 that could do a quick loop around my tiny apartment. I still couldn’t get myself to actually purchase the vacuum until I absolutely needed it because I hadn’t vacuumed my apartment in months.  But on the other hand, I purchase flights without hesitation.  It’s kind of surprising but to be honest, I am totally okay with it. I feel like this allows me to maintain a minimal lifestyle with what I own and I get to experience all the great things.

Anyway, I am so very excited for all my packages to start appearing for the things that I purchased.  I know that there’s a possibility I will return a decent amount of these items but I love opening packages.

Booking holiday travel

I am officially getting ready to book my next major international trip. I actually haven’t left the country since I returned in January and I have been itching to get on a plane again for an international trip. Due to the fact that I travel so much for work, it’s hard for me to find time to do an international trip and luckily, I managed to make time for it over the holidays.

I actually didn’t really know where I wanted to go for my trip but I knew that I needed to book something.  My vacation was racking up and I needed to actually make use of it before I hit the point where I stop accruing vacation.

Usually my parents and I do this thing where I go to them for Thanksgiving and then I head somewhere international for Christmas and New Year’s. My parents actually decided that this was the year that they would leave the country for Thanksgiving and so rather than spending Thanksgiving with them, I’ve decided I’m going to follow them to Asia.

So now it’s time to start planning my trip to Asia.  I’m thinking that I’m going to spend some time in Taiwan and then check out Japan and Korea. To be honest, I have only ever flown through the airports in both those countries and it is finally time for me to actually go visit.  If everything goes as planned, I will get to my 33rd and 34th country on my list which is so exciting.

I am not sure what my plan is for the trip but I know that it is time to get the trip planned and ready.

Any suggestions for Korea or Japan?

Vessi sneakers – updated November

I’ve officially had my Vessi sneakers for a few months now and have actually had the opportunity to wear them during the rain.  Surprisingly enough, Seattle hasn’t had a crazy amount of rain but it’s been great to test out the shoes on a regular basis.  Here are my thoughts:

  • These shoes are actually really comfortable. They do advertise that these shoes will be great for all four seasons but I don’t think I believe that.  Living in Seattle, I think these will work for me but if I lived somewhere that had snow – these shoes would not be great.  They are comfortable but I would never use them for actual fitness activities like running or hiking.  Even light hiking wouldn’t work well with these shoes in my opinion because you can definitely tell that for the fact that they are lightweight, you have to take the trade off of being able to feel things when you step on them.  If you’re hitting the trails in LA, you’ll be fine. If you’re hitting the trails with rocks in the Pacific Northwest, then you’ll have a problem.
  • Yes, the shoes are waterproof but if it turns out you walk heavy on your heels or walk in a way in which water can be kicked up, you’ll get your shoes wet.
  • If you buy the white shoes – they will not stay white.  You’d think that being waterproof, the shoes would be able to withstand getting dirty but that is not the case.  I have two friends who purchased the white ones and they are now just gray/brown. It’s unfortunate.
  • The shoes are still a little hard to put on but you get used to it after awhile. I found that if I put the shoes on while I’m sitting, it is a little easier.
  • If you walk inside after walking in the rain or puddles – be prepared to be heard by everyone. My shoes squeak so much for a solid few minutes immediately after walking into the building. I try so very hard to wipe off my feet as much as possible on the entrance rug in my office but the entire office can hear me a mile away.
  • The black ones are easier to manage and keep clean. I wear them when I walk the dog and have had zero issues with getting them dirty which seems strange after the white ones.

Overall, I would definitely more of these shoes. They’re pretty great.

What am I thankful for?

Today is Thanksgiving. And holy cow has 2018 been a whirlwind of a year.  I am not entirely sure about everything that I’ve seen and experienced this year but to follow tradition, here’s a list of some of the stuff that I am so very thankful this year:

  • My family. I get my love of travel from my parents, I get my love of adventure from my parents.  I get my love of music and books from my sister.  I don’t know if it’s possible to be more thankful for my family.
  • My friends. I know that when I first moved back, I was fearful that coming back would be hard because everyone’s lives had moved on without me but I have the best and most amazing friends in the entire world. It’s been so easy to be back in Seattle and it’s been so easy to maintain the friendships that I have with people all around the world.  I can never really express in words how much I love each and every one of them.
  • My health. Yes, I say this like I am an old person. But this year, I ran 13 miles in one go. Yes, I walked for a portion of it but nothing moved me forward except for my own two feet and my own body. I managed to do it on my own.
  • My ability to travel. I love that I can wander the world and see what it has to offer. I love that I can go to cities where my friends are and visit them.
  • Books. I have finished 53 books so far this year. 53 books of adventures, stories, truths, lessons, and so much more. Things that have challenged me mentally and changed my life for the better.
  • The lessons I’ve learned. Things haven’t always been easy and things won’t always be easy. I understand this and I’m prepared to try and battle it the best I can. That being said, I’m happy where I am and with who I am today. I have no complaints and I will continually try to do better.

What are you thankful for?

Dishoom for brunch

After getting back from the Making of Harry Potter, we went back to our rooms and repacked. I had just a few more hours leftover before I finally made my way home from three weeks in Europe. The next morning, I woke up super early and made my way to Dishoom Shoreditch for my second meal at that restaurant. We managed to arrive just before it opened so we had enough time to really just hang out outside of it before it opened and guarantee that we would be sat as soon as possible.

Immediately after the restaurant opened, we were seated and I knew what I wanted to order. We decided to order two different types of naan rolls, the coconut yogurt and the bread.  It was the most delicious spread I’ve had and to be honest, the naan rolls were just as good three years later. In fact they may have been better than I remember so I was a happy camper.

After getting through our brunch, we headed back to our hotel, grabbed our luggage and then made our way out to Heathrow. It was finally time for us to get ready for our flight out to Seattle.  After three weeks of traveling around Europe, it was finally time for me to go home and settle back into my life.

We boarded our 787 Virgin Atlantic flight and flew the 9 hours home.  I managed to get an exit row seat because I wanted the luxury of being able to stretch out and finally, I landed in Seattle ready to just lay in my own bed for the first time in 2018.