Homeward Bound

Well today is the big day, I’m going home! In fact, I’m currently sitting in the second airplane of the day. The first flight was a little bit rough, it was the smallest plane I’ve ever been on consisting of only two seats on each side. I figure that’s why is was such a bumpy landing. I felt bad for the guy next to me who confessed that it was his first time on an airplane. I tried to comfort him by saying that not all planes are that bad but I was also trying to keep myself from barfing so there was only so much I could say.

I had a layover in Atlanta which I thought was supposed to be 40 minutes. I planned to go to the bathroom, buy a water and pop some dramamine but by the time I found my terminal they were already boarding all passengers.

I’m actually surprised that I didn’t get lost, the Atlanta airport was so big that I had to take an indoor train to get to my terminal. WTH. Fortunately my stomach had settled a bit at that time so I hopped in line, found my seat and patiently waited for the flight attendants to start passing out snacks and drinks.

Admittedly, I was pretty nervous to fly alone for the first time. If I had someone with me then at least I wouldn’t die alone if the plane came crashing down. Which is why I bought Wifi… so I can send a quick “peace out” text to everyone if that does happen- kidding, kinda. But it’s really not too bad, just boring.

I know it’s rare for planes to crash these days but as I am typing we’re going through a huge patch of turbulence and I kind of regret making that joke now. Isn’t it sort of unsettling how they have to tell you what to do if we crash before every flight? I know it’s a safety protocol but jeez, what a way to get people comfortable! The voice comes on over the loud speaker, “Find your seats, store your belongings in the overhead compartment OH AND heres what you do if the plane goes down” NOOOOOO, I wasn’t readyyyyy.

Oh and it’s almost inevitable that you’re going to get some sort of cold or sickness from being stuck in such a tight space with so many people for so long, in fact the gentleman at the end of my aisle seems to either be choking on something or just coughing way too loud without covering his mouth… EVERY 10 SECONDS. I mean at least cover your mouth dude. Luckily for me, I’ve been loading up on vitamin C all week for exactly this reason

So I guess I’m not completely alone, I have Skippy with me. But it’s honestly just a hassle to have to lug him around. The last time I flew with him I was able to take him out of his carrier and hide him under a jacket on my lap. That’s because Blake was sitting next to me so I wasn’t worried about him tattling. I hope he’s okay down there, poor little guy has no idea what the heck is going on. He’s just stuck in a small bag for 7 hours, I will take him out immediately after I exit the plane. Speaking of Skippy though, I was wondering if any of the passengers on this plane are allergic to dogs, because that would be a bummer.. for them. Maybe that’s why the man in seat 35F is coughing so much, in that case- my bad dude.

We are currently flying over New Mexico and I’m just waiting for that last time zone change to kick in so I can accurately estimate my time of arrival. The 3 hour time difference will take a little while to get used to again but at least I’ll be on the same schedule as all of my friends pretty soon.

ONE DAY LATER…

I’m finishing this post today because I lost connection on the plane yesterday… so much for paying for that wifi huh?! Anyway, I obviously landed safely and I was surprised by two friends who accompanied my mom to pick me up! ūüôā Of course our first stop was In N Out, then off to the bar for a celebratory drink and finally, sushi galore for dinner. It was a good day and it feels great to be back on the BEST coast! Overall, it was not so bad for my first solo flying experience. Now who wants to go to the beach?

XOXO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Home Packing Tips

Over the past week or so I have begun to pack our household belongings in order to move back to the west coast. Call me crazy but I am the type of person who loves to pack. I like to make sure that everything is done efficiently which is why I have done my research and figured out the best possible way to pack our things. I’ll share with you some of the tips that I’ve learned along the way, incase you are in need of some moving/packing help.

First step- Drop the dead weight

Get rid of anything you don’t want or need! It’s absolutely insane how much we have acquired since living here but that’s only because this was our first time living in our own place so there were a lot of little and big things that we needed. Thankfully I got rid of about half of my wardrobe and a ton of other stuff before we moved out here so I didn’t have a whole lot to get rid of this time around.

Step 2- Start acquiring inexpensive packing supplies

We are currently living in a huge apartment complex and luckily for us, there are often multiple boxes piled up near the recycle bin. So I’ve been doing a bit of dumpster diving (not literally) and picking up free, used boxes. I wish I could say that I’m not proud of it- but I totally am.  If you don’t live in an apartment, try checking the free section of craigslist or check behind any large grocery stores to see if they have piles of boxes in the back, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if you took a few.

I also bought some boxes from Home Depot to carry the larger/heavier items because they sell heavy duty boxes.

But before you head over to Home Depot for boxes or anything else, stop by the dollar tree.  I was able to buy packing tape, bubble wrap, tissue paper, large protective envelopes, and a pack of foam plates for a dollar each! The tape isn’t that big so I bought two and the bubble wrap comes in small rolls but it’s still a good deal. The tissue paper (like the kind for presents) came in a reasonably sized pack and I was able to use it to wrap delicate/breakable items. I used the protective envelopes for picture frames and canvases and the foam plates went in between my plates to keep them from breaking.

The dollar tree also sells sharpies, trash bags and other things that could be potentially useful for packing purposes.

Glad Press’n Seal is a great way to store necklaces without them turning into a huge tangled mess. I also used it for my cooking utensils since they wouldn’t fit in the larger ziplock bags.

   

  

  

I bought a roll of stretch wrap from home depot for my dresser and a mattress bag as well.

I also put the billions of plastic grocery bags that we had lying around to use and threw them into boxes as extra padding.

Step 3- Start packing

This timeline is based on the amount of belongings in my apartment, so I would suggest starting a couple of weeks earlier if you have a larger home or more people in your family.

Four weeks out

-Start collecting packing supplies and begin packing things that you won’t need on a daily basis.

I started with the kitchen because thats where we have the most stuff, a lot of which is not used regularly. I packed everything except my pots, pans, silverware, knives, cutting board, cooking utensils, baking sheets, oven mitt, microwave, coffee maker, a couple of coffee cups, some tupperware, a mixing bowl and my spices/cooking necessities.

TIP- when you do pack the rest of your kitchen, use your larger pots and slow cooker to store all of your spices.

-You can also begin to pack the things that are hanging on the walls. Any photographs, artwork, mirrors, chalk boards etc.. Label each box with which room it belongs in and even list what is in the box incase you need to find something specific during the chaotic process of moving in. I’ve heard of some people using a color system to do this by using a different color tape for each room. But for me, labeling the box with which room it belongs in (in large letters with a sharpie) was good enough.

I used the blankets from my living room to pack the picture frames and anything else from the walls that were breakable. I left one blanket out incase we needed it and used it later as padding for other breakable items.

Three weeks out

– Pack books, out of season clothing, linens, towels, office supplies, random decor, movies, and any personal items that you won’t be needing such as jewelry, nail polish and hats/accessories.

I will be flying home while the rest of our belongings are put in storage so I’ve started to plan what kinds of things I will need to set aside for my baggage. I’ll need to fit everything I possibly can into two medium luggage bags (to live off of for a month or more) so I have decided to set a box aside in order to send larger things such as my dogs’ bed, food bowls, some shoes and maybe clothes if they can fit.

Two weeks out

-Start packing up the clothes that you won’t need. If you’re flying like I am, make sure the clothes you leave out will all fit into your suitcase along with your toiletries, shoes and whatever else you will need.

-For clothes on hangers, you can leave them hanging and just cover them with a trash bag then use string or a zip tie to secure the top of the hangers so that they don’t fall throughout the bag. Some places sell wardrobe boxes which are basically just tall cardboard boxes with a pole through the top to hang clothes, a good option for people who don’t want their clothes to get wrinkled.

I got tall pink, scented trash bags from the dollar tree. I figured they would keep my clothes smelling fresh, but these particular bags are ultra thin and can tear very easily so I wouldn’t exactly recommend them. I used two bags for each bunch of clothes, one over the top and one underneath- tied to the top bag on each side. Although these weren’t the best quality, there are other brands of scented trash bags that are probably larger and much more sturdy, so just check at your local grocery store.

One week out

-Pretty much start to pack everything else leaving out anything that you know you will need to use up until the actual moving day. For instance, I will probably leave my coffee maker out (because packing is no fun without caffeine) till the last day with our mattress and pillows as well as whatever I will be taking on the plane with me

Make sure you leave space in your mode of transportation for your mattress and any other household items that remain inside.

-Pack a box full of things that you will need right away once you get to your new home. For example: some cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, screw drivers and other basic tools, dish/hand soap, clorox wipes (they’re the best), and maybe a portable speaker for some move-in day jams. Label this the box of necessities.

Step 4- Load it up

-Whether you’re using a moving truck, a Uhaul or a POD like we are, if you’re moving the boxes on your own you’ll want to make sure they are secure. Having a moving dolly is super helpful for larger items, but as long as you have enough people helping it should go pretty quickly. I plan on asking all of Blake’s friends to help out but I’ll be sure to provide lot’s of pizza and beer in return for their manual labor.

We haven’t gotten to this part of the process yet but I will definitely want to make sure that our breakable items are stored in a way that will keep them safe. I think of it as a game of tetris, each box should fit securely alongside all of the other boxes.

-Make sure you load the box full of necessities last so that it’s easy to get to.

OH AND make sure that the inside of whatever you’re using to move is clean!!! The Uhaul that we used to move out here was so filthy that my white dresser was a mess by the time we got here. Looking back I should have wiped it down before we loaded it up.

 

Good Luck and Safe Travels!

5 things I’ve learned since I moved from California to North Carolina

As a girl who was born and raised on the west coast, it has been somewhat difficult adjusting to life on the east coast/south. In the two and a half months that we have been here so far, I’ve noticed a few differences.¬†The following are my personal¬†opinionated speculations on the differences between life on one side of the country versus the other.

1. NOTHING compares to In N Out

Only west coasters have the privilege of being able to enjoy an In N Out burger whenever they want. I knew before I left that I would miss it, but something that I didn’t realize was how many of my friends are constantly posting pictures of their In N Out burgers on Instagram and Snapchat. My mouth waters when I come across these pictures and I get the sudden urge to buy a plane ticket just so I can go home and devour a double double. I grew up eating In n Out burgers and as I got older and started cleaning up my bad eating habits, In n out was the only fast food place that I would still allow myself to¬†occasionally enjoy. One of our friends out here says that he doesn’t think In N Out is very good…. ¬†but this is coming from the guy who wants to try that BK¬†burger with the black bun. His opinion on burgers clearly has no credibility here.

2. Humidity is horrific

To be honest I don’t even know how people can stand to live here in the summer. When we first got here it must have been the most humid time of the year. We were moving our boxes from the u-haul to the apartment and within minutes I was drenched in sweat. It was then that I¬†realized I wouldn’t be wearing a lot of makeup or spending too much time outside. A couple of months went by and I got excited when I looked out the window and saw clouds and rain. I thought it must feel nice out there for once, however when I walked outside, I was still hit with the sticky humidity of the south. There have been maybe two weeks out of the two months that we’ve been here when the weather was actually enjoyable. Needless to say, I’m missing the California weather and really looking forward to the winer…. which is saying a lot coming from me because I do not like the cold, but it’s better than the heat when humidity is involved.

3. If you want unsweetened ice tea, be sure to make it clear.

Since I’ve stopped drinking soda, I have resorted to ordering iced tea when I go out to eat. At home I would ask for iced tea and receive it unsweetened. If the restaurant had other options the server would ask which type of tea I would like. Here in the south, if you ask for iced tea they assume you want sweet tea. And this isn’t your typical sweet tea, it’s the sweetest tea I’ve ever had in my life, basically a cup of liquid sugar and I have no idea how people drink it without throwing up their entire meal afterwards.

4. Krispy kreme doughnuts are not real doughnuts.

Ok so I’m sort of a doughnut connoisseur.. I mean what do you expect? I’m the daughter of a deputy sheriff¬†for goodness sake! I know my doughnuts! and if you want a good one you have to go to Christy’s doughnuts on foothill boulevard in Monrovia because they always have and always will be the best. I’ll admit I was once fooled by Krispy Kreme. It was our first time at the drive-thru and we were excited to try some WARM glazed doughnuts. ¬† The fact that they were warm is what made them so delicious, but they were overly¬†sweet. We went back a second time but the krispy kremes were not warm, therefore they were just gross. They don’t have the fluffiness that a good doughnut should have, no sprinkles either. What the heck? We have one real doughnut shop here which I have yet to try because it’s pretty far,¬†aside from that our only other options for doughnuts are krispy kreme and starbucks. No thank you.

5. There are 3 major changes in scenery

The first major difference in scenery is the greenery! Yes I know that rhymes. Driving on the freeway here is so different than back home. First of all, theres no traffic but then again, I don’t go anywhere so the ‘no traffic’ thing doesn’t really benefit me. At home there were lot’s of things to look at while driving along the 210 such as buildings, signs and other things. Oh and speaking of freeways, over here people think is weird to say “the” before a freeway name. Because saying “I took 210 to get here” makes so much more sense… not. Anyway, driving on the freeways here, you will see only pine trees and the occasional carls jr… wait excuse me.. I mean Hardee’s signs in your travels.

That’s right, Carls Jr. is called Hardee’s over here! Same menu and logo, just a different name. That’s the second major difference in scenery, the chain stores and restaurants. Carls Jr is an example of one large fast food chain buying out another well known fast food chain (Hardee’s) and slowly changing the menu over time to resemble that of Carls but keeping the name the same in order to keep the same¬†loyal customers coming back (Yes I did my research, I was curious). It’s been interesting to see what major stores they have here and which ones they don’t. Instead of a Nordstrom, the major department store in our local mall is called Belk. There are no ARCO’s or Chevrons, the biggest gas stations here are called “Kangaroo’s”.

Finally, the third major difference is the old southern architecture, this is my favorite change in scenery because old buildings are always so much more detailed and beautiful than new ones. Brick buildings are the norm around here and there’s also a myriad of old churches with extra¬†pointy steeples for that extra southern feel.

So far these are just a few of the things I’ve noticed since we’ve been here. Although we aren’t in the most exciting¬†city and the weather has been tough to get used to, I’m still trying to make the most of the time we have here. I’m looking froward to exploring new surroundings and learning new things along the way!

Our trip across the country

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It was an early morning in July… we had our whole lives packed into a 5′ by 8′ Uhaul trailer and we were ready to begin our first major journey as husband and wife.

The day before we left consisted of a lot of packing and a¬†lot¬†of goodbyes. This was the hardest part for me because my family and friends are a very important part of my life. Although I was excited about finally beginning this new adventure, I was also scared. This would be my first time living anywhere other than the¬†city¬†that I had lived for my whole life and I wasn’t sure if I was truly ready for it. What I came to realize once we made it here and settled in, is that we are never¬†really¬†ready to do the things that scare us, were simply thrown into new situations and forced to learn how to live with them.

Now, when you think about a road trip across the country, you probably think that there are a plethora of cool places and things to look at along the way but this was not the case.. at least for us. Sure, we could have stopped at the grand canyon or the petrified forrest, but this would have taken us an hour off course meaning we wouldn’t get to our hotel until after check-in time. Unfortunately, our trip was mostly filled with wide open ranges and long stretches of road. This was not all bad though, because when we¬†did¬†finally reach a big city or anything more interesting than cows and grass, it made it even more exciting and we would look around at everything that we could possibly see to try and take it all in. As much as we would have loved to stop and explore different cities, we were also eager to get to our new home and we were trying to keep from spending too much money on hotels along the way.¬†Originally we had planned on only stopping two nights, once in Albuquerque and once in Memphis but we quickly realized that this was not a very realistic plan when we began to experience the time skipping ahead an hour each day we drove. If we stuck to our original plan we would have made it to our new home the night of our third day of driving with no bed or keys to enter our apartment. So, in our better judgment we decided to reserve a hotel for the third night as well.

It took us four days to reach our destination and each day was filled with many different sights and emotions. The bulk of my post will be split into four pieces, (one for each day) and I’ll describe what kind of things we experienced.

Day 1: California, Arizona and New Mexico. 

Back to that early morning in July, ¬†we got in the truck and headed off with our Uhaul filled to the brim, our bag of road trip snacks,¬†and our dog Skippy. We were headed to New Mexico for the night and we were just a few miles away from Arizona when we got a speeding ticket, unfortunately if we would have already been in Arizona we wouldn’t have been speeding since the limit is higher there. The CHP wouldn’t give us a break but we wouldn’t let his $300 speeding ticket ruin our trip, so we kept going and ignored the ticket… but did NOT ignore any of the speed limit signs from that point on. We passed through Arizona and into New Mexico as the night began to fall. About an hour before we got to our destination in Albuquerque, we drove right through a lightning/thunder storm which was quite possibly the most frightening part of the whole trip (aside from the cicada bug that attacked me while I was trying to find a place to pee in Arkansas). The worst part about the storm wasn’t that I was scared of it but that at that exact moment it¬†began¬†to hit me that my life was about to change drastically. Blake must have seen that I was uncomfortable because he took my hand and comforted me, letting me know that he was proud of me because he was fully aware that this was something I would have been way too scared to do if it were only a year ago. This was what gave me the strength to continue our trip confident that I was embarking on an adventure with someone who was sure to take care of me.

Day 2: New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee.

The second day was the longest, consisting of about 15 hours of driving. New Mexico and Texas were nothing but wide open ranges. We stopped once in Texas taking a very risky lunch break at a gas station/burger joint near the freeway. The service was slow… like really slow, but I assume that’s because there was only one lady who must have been been in her late 60’s cooking the burgers. It turned out that she was a master griller because those burgers were delicious. We stopped in Oklahoma for an oil change which added another hour or so to our trip, this was when I started ¬†to realize how drastically different the weather was on this side of the country and how spoiled I have been my whole life for being raised in a place where humidity is a rarity. As we were waiting for the oil change to be done, we walked to a nearby Starbucks and it began to rain. I felt sticky and sweaty and at that exact moment that I knew I wouldn’t be spending a lot of time outside. We approached Arkansas as it got dark and stopped for gas as we would every couple of hours or so. The place we stopped did not have a bathroom and neither did the Taco Bell/KFC that was across the street. As I was searching for a large bush to hide behind I started to hear bug noises.. but not just any bug noises. These were noises I had never heard before, noises that sounded like they should be in the background of a suspenseful scary movie. Just as I was headed towards a bush, the most terrifying creature flew right at my head making¬†the loudest clacking noise I’ve ever heard from a bug and once I got a good look at it, I decided I would be better off holding it in for the next two hours. I later came to find out that this was a cicada beetle and unfortunately they also reside in North Carolina, right in our backyard. ¬†(I still freak out when I take Skippy on a walk and hear one of their creepy noises in a nearby tree.) We ended our second day of driving in Memphis, Tennessee. This was the night we realized that the time change was taking a toll on us and we needed to sleep in the next morning and extend our trip another half of a day.

Day 3: Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.

On the third morning we took our time getting back on the road and also stopped at a nearby Starbucks as we had every morning since we left thanks to my brother who gifted us a very generous amount of Starbucks gift cards. We weren’t in Tennessee very long as we only drove through the southern west corner of the state, soon we were in Mississippi and driving through a rain storm that would pass just as quickly as it began. Rain was another thing I realized I’d better get¬†used to¬†since it occurs much more often over here than on the west coast. Mississippi was pretty but for whatever reason it was Alabama that really stood out to me, everything was so green and beautiful. We thought about staying the night in Atlanta, Georgia but after a quick internet search of the crime rate in the area, we decided to go a little further and stay in Augusta, thus shortening our final day of driving.¬†By the third night we were both on edge, the only thing we had eaten that day were bagels from Starbucks¬†and the time flew three hours ahead of what we were used to. Traveling with an animal is never easy, even one as small as Skippy. ¬†Having him with us made it hard to stop anywhere to eat a good meal since I wasn’t willing to leave him in the car, especially with the increase in humidity. We were starting to get on each others nerves when we couldn’t agree on a place to eat OR find a place that was open after 9pm OR that had outside seating so that Skippy could come. Finally, we agreed upon takeout from a nearby buffalo wild wings. We got to our hotel, ate our food, watched a funny movie and all was well again.

Day 4: Georgia, South Carolina and FINALLY North Carolina. 

Our final day of driving was the shortest, but it still seemed to take forever for us to reach our new home since we were so excited to get there. We quickly noticed the endless amount of pine forests stretching along each side of the freeway. Pine trees are the new Palm trees! We finally got to our new apartment and it was just as nice as we could have hoped. We quickly ran out to find a mattress so that we wouldn’t have to sleep on the floor our first night. With help from our¬†roommate¬†and his wonderful family we moved all of our belongings into our apartment in no time. And then… we were¬†finally¬†able to open all of our awesome wedding presents.

This trip was an experience I will never forget. It was the longest period of time I had ever spent in a car and the farthest I had ever traveled from home. But most importantly, it was a great bonding experience for Blake and I as a newly married couple,  somewhat of a testament to our relationship with one another. There are very few people I could stand to be stuck in a car with for even a few hours of driving. Luckily I married someone who keeps life interesting and there is never a dull moment.