Monday, November 25, 2013

International Travel on Two Pairs of Underwear!

At the silk factory
After months of preparation to a foreign country (China), the trip finally arrived and we departed. The flight was smooth. Everyone settled in after about 2 hours of excitement, a light meal and some in-flight entertainment. Once we arrived at our location, it was day-time, and our escort picked us up from the airport for a quick day trip to get somethings off the itinerary. We were exhausted by 4pm when we returned to the hotel to check-in.

Once we settled in for the three night stay in this city, Beijing, I glanced through my items debating if I should completely unpack for this short duration. As I am browsing my amazing Samsonite spinner, I notice something is missing. Yes, I see leggings, tunics, a blouse, flat iron (phew!), make-up, scarves and additional shoes but I do not see any undies! WHAAAAT!!! I had the pair I was obviously wearing plus the additional pair in my carry-on should my main luggage get lost. What happened to the stack of underwear I had so meticulously packed? I dug and dug and found no sign of them. I retraced my steps back home and can faintly recall that I may have taken them out to use and wash again. How could I be so dumb!?

Well, thank goodness I had some small packets of Tide with me. You know, the ones smaller than a one load, these are the sink load size. I was able to wash both pairs plus some leggings and a top while traveling and air dry them overnight. It worked perfectly!

"Why didn't you just buy some underwear when you arrived in China?," you ask. Well, for starters I am a curvy-ish girl and they just don't sell the style and size I was looking for. I went to a silk factory which had a department store attached and purchased 2 pairs of XL silk bikinis. Honestly, I doubt they will fit. They look more like a size small. Plus, the only other kinds I kept seeing were the granny-panties. Plus, I wasn't sure I could make it all day in sexy silk versus my comfy cotton. Let's face it. There are no fluffy people in China.

I made it through China, 10 days, with just two pairs of black bikini panties. Just imagine if I could have paired down the rest of the packed clothing.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Packing for International Flight....To China!

The day is final upon The Challenges. Today we leave for China. Yea, that China. Super random I know. When I tell someone I am "leaving the country" for vacation, they ask where. Everyone I tell the location to goes, "China?" like they are in total disbelief. I am kind of in disbelief myself, I mean it never was really on a list of mine to go there with or with the Challenges. We had places like Italy, Maldives, Brazil, Vermont, France, etc, but never China. So after months of thinking and planning about it, the day has finally arrived.

Now, since you don't know me, I will start by saying that I never check baggage. I have been to Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, even parts of Europe without checking a bag. I thought China might be different with me packing a little more stuff than usual including liquids and medication.

The carry-on bag itself was quite perplexing to me. In a past post, I had purchased a few bags including Lo&Sons OG bag, LL Bean's Expedition bag and the one I kept and love is the Mosey Life Getalong bag. I would honestly say it's more like a "poor man's Lo&Sons with similar features including a side pocket for a pair of shoes. Plus, it was at least half of what a Lo&Sons bag originally cost.

In my new platinum exterior bag with light purple interior, I have packed another zipper bag which I found on eBay for a less price than originally featured on another site to store electronics, cords, charger bricks, earphones, styluses, etc. I paid like .99 plus shipping from China. It's called the Slim Bag. A bargain! I also have packed a clear zippered bag with my toiletries so I am prepared for the long haul. This includes Oil of Olay cleansing wipes (the dry ones you wet and clean), deodorant, hand lotion, toothpaste, Colgate wisps, lip balm, travel brush, Glide floss sticks, a pair of undies, black slip on pants, magazines, books, puzzle book, neck pillow, eye mask, compression socks, cashmere blanket, tiny toss away wash cloth from Walmart, extra pair of shoes in zipper compartment, pen, anti-bac wipes, gum and snacks. Yea, it seems like a lot and I really should be sleeping but I like to be prepared and feeling fresh especially for a long haul. If I get a chance to post a picture of all of it I will. I also read something was suggested in a post I found about sleeping in a wired bra. The writer suggested not to and opted for a soft sports or stretchy bra instead. I had never thought of this since usually my bras set off security and my Challenges mock me every time. I picked up 2 Champion sport bras which are really soft but quite supportive in black and white. I am also carrying on an Old Navy black short pea coat from last year.

Of course, I have the usual electronics such as iPhone and iPad and a lipstick charger in case one of them dies. (It's a tube shape charger that gives you a boost if your stuff dies). Hopefully the plane has a set of outlets somewhere. If not, that is why I have actual printed materials to read.

As for my luggage, I picked up a Samsonite spinner from Tuesday Morning. Inside, I packed 4 pairs of Old Navy leggings, a black and grey striped tunic, a black tunic, a navy tunic, a black tunic sweater, 2 bras, plenty of undies, 7 socks, black denim jeggings and blue denim jeggings, pajamas, 3 coordinating scarves (black, faint zebra print in grey and black, and light grey), navy Coach ballet flats, foldable Payless grey tweed flats, white buttoned down shirt, red cashmere gloves, and one black bubble necklace. That's in one half of the suitcase. The other half is filled with snacks toilet paper. I kid you not. Things like granola bars, tiny peanut butters, pretzels, cereal, etc. And yes, toilet paper. Tiny rolls with anti bac wipes and moist wipes. Have you read about some of the toilet conditions in China?

I have read that China is fashionable but rather conservative in most cities so I kept the palette muted in navy, black and greys and taken off most of my expensive jewelry. I have also double printed all of our info, one for me and one for Mr. Challenge. Something else I learned was to not only make copies of the passports, etc, but to take a digital picture with your phone.

Well, that's it. Yīlù shùnfēng! Which in Chinese, means Bon Voyage. I hope to have some great pictures uploaded as well.

Writer's note: Due to internet restrictions, this entry could not be posted on time. I will be updating more about traveling internationally shortly!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Relaxing San Diego Style

Pretty much each and every weekend we head down to San Diego with the dogs to their favorite beach. It's funny because the second I wake up, they are raring to go and they know the jig is up. What's even funnier is as soon as we turn the corner near the beach they lose their minds in the car.

For a perfect day, I started at a quick yoga class then jetted down the 5 towards Del Mar. We make our usual stop at Leucadia donuts. There is some secret ingredient they put in their donuts, that they won't tell me. Maybe extra vanilla? I am not too sure. They also make THE best iced coffee too.

The pups had a playful time in and out of the surf. I gathered quite a few shells to add to my already compulsive collection. We arrived later than usual and decided to have lunch at Lobster West in Encinitas. Yelp reviews were mixed but we were willing to try. The lobster roll and crab rolls were divine. Very east coast for the west coast, and they were surprisingly busy. The roll was perfect cradling the sweet and lightly dressed lobster and crab. We will definitely come back. It's more of a splurge, though.

We were full. The dogs were wiped out and entirely crusty and sandy. We headed home and refreshed with warm showers and a nap. A perfect day.