Secretive Tourist

secretive tourist

Mom and I are off to Spain on Friday to visit our brother Dan!  My new camera will make it more challenging to be a secretive tourist but the pictures will be well worth it.  In choosing a camera bag last week, I couldn’t commit to anything expensive yet so at just $10, this one will serve the purpose perfectly for this trip.  A comfortable shoe, breathable clothes and minimal jewelry are my travel staples along with extra sunscreen and water.  We used the Top 10 book last year in Istanbul and it was perfect because it lists the Top 10s of everything in the city (museums, restaurants, neighborhoods) with pull out maps but is also slim  enough to fit in any bag which make them the perfect secretive tourist companion.  The weather forecast calls for high 70s and clear skies throughout the majority of our trip and is just what the doctor ordered after this brutal winter.

Shirt | Sunglasses | Shorts

Camera | Shoes

Watch | Bag | Book


Camera Bags

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Andy surprised with me a new camera last week as an early birthday gift just in time for my trip to Madrid next week!  I am on the hunt for a great but not outrageous camera bag that will be stylish enough to carry around without looking like a news reporter on top of being a tourist.  Just as with all their products, I love the Lo & Sons one but it’s not what I want to spend and am looking for similar options with a cheaper price tag.  What do you use?

Reach: Top | Bottom

Grab: Top | Bottom

Spotlight On: Favorite Apps 2nd Edition


Even with thousands of apps out there, I only end up using a select few on a regular basis.  After sharing some of my favorites I wanted to add some others that have been topping the list lately.

Tripit: This app syncs with your email account to make travel much more seamless.  It logs all your reservations/flights/hotels and any other type of confirmation that comes into your inbox into an organized list and it will also automatically update any changes in your reservations.  With a busy year coming up with lots of events to keep track of, this app is a dutiful assistant.

justWink: I love snail mail and handwritten cards more than most but sometimes in a pinch you need to send a forgotten birthday message or last minute good luck wishes, this app has a selection of e-cards that can be texted or emailed on the go.  You can also upload your own photos before you send off that instant love note or congratulations!

Mint: this site and app has completely altered the way I look at spending since I signed up three months ago.  It links to all of your accounts (bank, credit cards, loans, 401k) and tracks them all.  You can set budgets for different categories and even create your own then it will alert you when you are approaching or over budget in individual categories.  The “ordering in”, “weekday breakfast” and “clothing” budgets were the ones that I hadn’t realized how much all the little things add up and it has really curbed my spending in those as well as other areas.

What are you some of your favorites?

Coloring Box


Super easy and couldn’t be more convenient! We are loving our new coloring box that we saw somewhere in the Pinterest World! A new staple in our diaper bag and always a hit when I pull it out in sticky situations…waiting too long at a restaurant, a car ride that has exhausted every other option and even while riding in the stroller at the market.


Johnson & Johnson First Aid Box
Various Color Crayons
Sticky Note Paper




12 Hours of Entertainment


I don’t think I will ever be one of those people who will ever say they packed for their two week vacation in a carry-on. I’d bet money on it actually. I know the benefits of not checking: baggage fees, lost/damaged/misplaced luggage and the overall hassle of the process. When I fly domestic to visit family or for short trips, I can manage. However, when flying internationally, I justify checking a bag for several reasons. First and foremost, weather can be unpredictable and you need options. Secondly, I have a sweating thing and I can never wear the same shirt more than once without it being washed. I also get bored easily so I need options for entertainment on a flight and since baggage fees don’t typically apply for your first bag, I can pack a carry-on that suits the needs of 12+ hours of entertainment and comfort.

Before I traveled to China last year to visit our brother, I went on a hunt for the perfect carry-on bag. Requirements included but were not limited to lots of storage pockets, designated compartment for laptop/iPad, and easy access to documents like tickets and passport. After searching the blogosphere and Pinterest I found the answer! Unfortunately, many others had as well and the bag was on back order until after my trip. I bit the bullet anyways and spent way more than I ever would have because I knew it was a good investment. This bag has surely not been a disappointment and still serves as my bag for my daily work commute. And what is this bag you may ask? Lo & Sons O.G.

Their site has engaging videos and photos that show all the features of their bags. I took their lead and snapped some photos as I packed for my recent trip to Turkey. I am by no means a travel expert but I’ve made a few stops around the world and learned some tips along the way.


From top left:
Eye mask & Neck Pillow: necessities for sleep
Travel Books: to read, prep and share with my travel partners en route
Us Weekly: longtime subscriber and they don’t offer a free iPad version (Real Simple, In Style and Vanity Fair were loaded up digitally to save space and weight)
Travel Wallet: typically I do a wallet cleanse before a big trio and take out all the gift cards and other miscellaneous to make it easy to navigate the necessities.
iPad Keyboard, and Case (fits keyboard and iPad): I keep a travel blog that I share with family and friends to log days away; it not only keeps you in touch, you’ll be amazed at how much you forget by the end of the trip. Travel Pod also allows you to create books using your entires and photos!
Frends Headphones: my new daily faves!
Chargers and converters: and iPad camera connector
Traveling medicine cabinet: toothbrush, toothpaste, eye drops. Lip balm, hand sanitizer, Tide pen, deodorant, pens, Advil, vitamins and some sleeping assistance
Monogrammed Passport Case : I love monogrammed things, necklaces, bags, notecards, you name it. My dear friend got me this as a holiday gift this year!
Travel jewelry case: I travel with my jewelry in my carry-on, just in case!
(Not pictured but necessary: compression socks!)

All zipped up!


Empty & Packed

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My absolute favorite part of this bag when navigating airports and beyond is its ability to slide over the handle of a suitcase and not flop off.