17 Travel Gifts for Women (Mom, Mother-in-law, Wife, Mother’s Day)

These 17 travel gifts are for the women in your life on Mother’s Day – a mom, mother-in-law, a wife, a daughter.  (Click play to watch the YouTube-it explains better and has a ton more) When women travel, some like to buy a new gift for themselves that will help them pack or a gift they can use on the upcoming vacation.  So here are 17 travel gift ideas for women this Mother’s Day.

My mom is diabetic so we gave her a gift of a Myabetic purse.  They hold your diabetic supplies – even a safe trash bin and come in all sizes but are expensive.

myabetic-purse-gift-diabetes-women
Purse gift for diabetic women (Myabetic)

I have given luggage tags with a vacation theme or a beach theme. woman-stand-beside-suitcase-with-cinch-belt

Some women need this cinch in belt (not in their swimsuit) so that their suitcase will fit more easily in the luggage size checker.

Another gift for mom is a vacation-themed t-shirt Happy Glamper or Airplane Mode On. Old Navy has a ton of graphic tees every season. woman-wear-shirt-from-old-navy-by-suitcase

When women travel internationally, a power bank with 2 full phone charges is a good idea for a gift.  I used to travel with a charger that will charge my phone once fully, but the double one is slim too. power-banks-give-2-phone-charges

You could give travel headphones but check the jack that it fits their phone and if they’re for travel, make sure the jack is the old jack that can fit in the airplane’s entertainment system because they still have the old holes for your plugs.

You have seen these tubs in my videos; women use them for headphones, jewelry, pills, etc. headphones-in-tubs-on-airplane-tray-table

I think this is a cute elevated liquids bag.  It’s stretchy, has a great zipper and is one quart sized.  I feel like this can bulge out more easily so you can fit more in there.

gift-for-woman-liquids-bag-for-travelI love giving fingernail polish with a travel theme or location theme.  If you’re going to France, there’s Tickle My France-y.  There’s one called Malaga Wine and some cute ones for Peru like Grandma Kissed a Gaucho and Lima Tell You About This Color. give-fingernail-polish

Women may feel safer receiving some RFID blocking sleeves for their credit cards. I like the ones with some color. give-women-rfid-blocking-sleeves

You could also give them an RFID wallet, but I think a crossbody purse is a personal decision.  Purse-onal get it?

A favorite gift for women is a fun travel pouch.  I saw some really cute ones at Walmart and anywhere really.

smart-watch-gift-for-women
Don’t look rude when you want to check for a text with this watch.

I absolutely love this watch that vibrates when I get a text from certain people. Here’s the story: you’re in a restaurant waiting on an important text from your husband.  Instead of constantly checking your phone and being rude, when the watch vibrates and goes to the 1, you know that number means your husband has sent you a text.  Then you can say, “Let me check my phone; I’ve been waiting on this text.”

You assign a person a # on your watch and get buzzed when he/she texts and the watch goes to that #.

We like our swivel power outlet for when we travel on a cruise ship because there is only like one outlet in the whole room and because it swivels.  Check with your cruise line if they’re allowed.  You can use them while you’re in the room, but when you leave, you should take it out of the wall unit.  But it swivels! swivel-outlet-for-cruise

If your mom does not have one, we recommend a travel necklace for her passport.  We think it is easier to get to and hide than a belt. travel-necklace-for-passport

My mom and I have the same backpack, but when she went to Israel, she bought this one.  She wanted more pockets.  I did a video comparing backpacks, and you can fit a paper towel roll in the bottom of the back pocket.

I just bought a Foot Hammock for the airplane.  I have heard from several subscribers who say they work.  I haven’t been able to try mine yet, but this strap goes around the tray table and just elevate your feet so your legs can bend and hence allow blood to flow more easily. woman-use-foot-hammock-help-blood-flow

You CANNOT MISS THE BAGS that fit over your suitcase handles for women travelers.  I get so many questions from women about these carryon totes. tote-for-women-slide-over-suitcase-handles

Other videos you may like are What NOT to Do When You Travel, What NOT to Forget to Europe, and 26 Travel Tips

Let’s be friends on Instagram.  Thanks for visiting; where are you traveling to next?

Occasionally I use affiliate links, and all opinions are my honest ones fyi.

32 Tips for What NOT to Do When You Travel

I’m sharing 32 Tips for What NOT to Do When You Travel. These are tips on what not to do at the airport, what not to do in the airplane, what not to do in a foreign city, and what not to pack.

airport-security

The number one tip for what not to do when you travel is do not over pack.  I have many travel tips to help with packing methods and for packing toiletries. Do not take an outfit for every day of travel.  Mix and match your clothes that you pack.suitcase beside backpack

Do not pack too big of a personal item bag.  Your travel personal bag is supposed to be able to fit under your airplane seat.  Your airline’s website has a luggage size requirements that will help.  Mostly if you use common sense, your bag will be fine.  I travel with a huge back pack, and it fits all sizes of airplanes that I have been in here in America as well as in Europe.

Do not keep travel documents put away in your bags until it is your turn.  Have them out; you can have them in your pocket when 4 people are in front of you in the security line.  Or you can have them in the closest pocket that is easiest and fastest to get to.

Do not hold up the line in security.gray-bin-security-line-airport

So do not wear a belt.  Do not wait until the last minute to untie your shoes. Do not wait until the last minute to take out your liquids bag.  Have the zipper of your carryon unzipped so you just have to take out the liquids bag and then put your backpack on the security conveyor belt.

Do not try to be funny with TSA by saying, “what do you think I could do with a knife that size!” and then use a terroristic idea.  You most likely will not fly that day if you do AND you will hold up the line for other responsible travelers.

Do not wear lace-up shoes into the airport through security if you can help it.  It takes too long to untie them and then tie them back.

Do not be in a hurry.  You have paid for this trip.  You are being responsible and planning wisely before you even get to the airport. Passengers tend to make mistakes like lose an ID or their ticket when they get in a hurry.  If you make a mistake in the security line, it’s okay. Take a breath, keep your thoughts together and keep going.

Do not be rude to gate agents who are telling you your flight is delayed again.  They have no control over it, and they have no control over the screens being updated.  The communication sometimes is so bad, and they are just the messenger.

Do not expect the flight attendants to put your bag in the overhead bin.  Ask them nicely as you are getting on the plane.  You could also ask a nice gentleman sitting near your seat if he will help you. Do not say, “I can’t lift this up there.”airplane-seats-and-overhead-bins

Do not wear tight clothes on the airplane.  Sit and see how much the button is poking into your belly.  Also, be careful of tight trousers or jeans around your calves.  They can constrict blood flow and cause awful blood clots for some people.  I can recommend compression socks or leggings.  There are also compression sleeves-footless compression sleeves for your calves.compression-socks

Do not keep ringing the flight attendant call button.  They are not waitresses; they are there for your safety. The free drinks are bonus.

Do not leave home without Tylenol; if you have a fever, it will help stave off some of the effects of an infection until you can get to a doc or get through the flight home.

Do not expect to sit with your family even if you have chosen seats.  Just check when you check in and print your tickets.  If you’re not together, tell the gate agent.  Usually the flight attendants are the ones who will correct the problem.  You can also ask someone to move.  It is kind of like that Seinfeld skit where he rents a car online and gets there and there is no car available.

In a carryon suitcase do not put containers in your liquids bag that are larger than 3.4 ounces /100 ml.  Like you cannot carry a large shampoo bottle even though there are just a few drops of shampoo in it.  The containers and the amounts that go in the liquids bag must be no larger than 3.4 ounces.

Do not forget that you can sign up easily for the State Department for updates to your phone if civil unrest or if there is a family emergency.  In my 9 Safe Travel Tips video, I also give you an app for finding out the emergency numbers in 70 different countries.  I’ll link that video below in the description box.  Lots of safe tips!

Do not talk loudly on the park and ride bus or in the boarding area.  It makes you look uneducated technology-wise which is something pick pocketers love.

Do not take bulky headphones.  There are so many loop over the ear kinds now that save you space in your travel bag.

Do not take a tupperware of tuna salad.  The smell is awful to other passengers, but you’re stuck with the tupperware the whole trip.  But I have done it before and just throw away that tupperware.  It’ll show up in the cabinet days later anyway!

Move to the side of the terminal if you want to stop and pull out your documents or ticket to see where your gate is.  Those terminals are narrow and passengers need to be able to keep traffic moving.terminal-narrow

At every airport there are now really good water fountains that you can fill an aluminum or plastic water bottle.  Tip: you can bring a water bottle through security that is filled with ice.  If some has melted, just drink the melted part before getting in line.  Solid ice packs are also allowed but not if they’re room temperature.

There was an article recently that talked about how flight attendants do not want you to order a Diet Coke or any soda because it took so long for the bubbles to dissipate, but I do not think that is the case.

Don’t let airline’s booking system give you a tight connection.  An example would be less than one hour for domestic flights.  For International flights, try not to have a tight connection if it’s the last flight of the day.  I remember people would come in to Dulles Int’l Airport from Germany, landing at 4 and running down the terminal that I was on for a 5:35 departure to Phoenix.

Do not pack any liquids in your personal bag or carryon bags that do not fit in your liquids quart size bag that will be pulled out when you go through security.  All liquids have to fit in one quart sized bag.

Do not feel bad if you need to use the restroom on the airplane, and the person beside you has fallen dead asleep.  It happens, and you will never see that person again.

You do not need to pack a travel inflatable pillow according to this pro packer.

Do not throw all of your clothes in.  Choose a packing method – rolling, packing cubes and there is even the kon mari folding method

Do not put all of your belongings back in your carryon at the conveyor belt in security.  Take the little bin over to the bench; then you can put your belt on, put your documents away securely and you do not delay the people behind you in line. police-house-check-when-travel

Do not forget to sign up for police house check program for your state.  Check your county.  I would google police house check montgomery county.  They ask you a few questions, and will periodically-not set times or days-drive by and maybe walk around your house to make sure all is safe. If you have not seen my 9 travel safety tip video, I list 9 other ways.

Fo international travel do not stand out for pick pocketers.  I have heard this from Love and London and Welters World – writing on your sweatshirts and graphic tees are not a thing over there.  Do not pack all of your money in only one place.  Hide it in some places like in my 19 Life Hacks video.  Do not wear bright white sneakers; if you do not have Converse, you can wear gray tennis shoes or Merrells or Skechers or Sofft shoes my new fave.

33-travel-hacks

Check out some of my other travel tip videos like the one above. Come say hi on Instagram too!

Occasionally I use affiliate links, and all opinions are my own.

5 Packing Makeup Tips for Travel

Packing Tips for Makeup (Airline Travel)

With these packing tips for makeup I will share how I pack makeup for airline travel.  These packing tips will help you maximize space in your carryon suitcase. I will show you the makeup that I actually pack and why I choose that makeup for travel.  I will briefly share some makeup brush packing tips as well. If you travel for work, you will love the makeup brush travel hack.  Stick around to the end to hear 3 makeup travel hacks.

When I travel, I pack a limited amount of makeup as well as makeup brushes. But I think my packing methods will help you when you are packing your bag or toiletry bag.  For packing makeup tip #1 let’s use Marie Kondo’s motto of being intentional with our choices.  What makeup will you wear when you travel?  For this makeup packing video, I always think I need a disclaimer.  Makeup does not make you beautiful – it is a way of expressing our creativity.  Beauty is on the inside, and we are enough in God’s eyes just the way we are.  Think on that and then follow these makeup packing tips.

Great organizers will tell you that each item needs a home base.  So the packing makeup tip #2 is to pack in pouches.  I used to pack my makeup palettes, brushes etc in this huge pink cute bag.  But it’s almost as big as a toiletry bag so I down-sized to more individual travel pouches.

Marie Kondo has a set of 3 makeup pouches as an organization system for $180!!!  I choose to use free pouches or buy cute ones from TJMaxx or even your grocery store that are a little less expensive.  With pouches, you pack your makeup in different-sized pouches. Travel bag pouches also can fit in pockets of open space in a suitcase as well as be more secure nestled in-between your packing cubes or clothes.containers-for-liquid

I do think these containers are amazing for packing vaseline or your thick cleanser.  My moisturizer is too liquid and leaked, but my cleanser is very thick and has never leaked.  These containers take up very little space in your liquids bag.

The 3rd tip for packing makeup is to build like a pyramid.  Or for you moms out there, like a Minecraft wall of steps leading to a beautiful swimming pool in your city.makeup-pack-in-pouch-pyramid-stack

In a larger, longer pouch I pack my one long and flat eyeshadow palette.  That palette is like the edge of the pouch; it does not protrude.  Then I pack my small compact with blush and a few neutral eyeshadows.  I also pack a flat eyeshadow palette by Covergirl because I use the bright blue on top of my eyeliner most everyday.  

If I travel to a beach location, I have overpacked so much that I know to pack tinted moisturizer, a flesh colored eyeshadow, with my bright blue accent color, eyeliner and mascara.  I will probably never wear all of that at the same time.

Packing tip for makeup #4 is to follow the liquids 3-1-1 rule by our TSA for carryon suitcases or travel bags.  If you have any makeup that you are carrying onto the airplane that will stow below your airplane seat or above your head, you must pull out any liquids.  All those liquids must be together inside a quart sized bag.  When searching on Amazon it’s hard to know which companies to trust.  In my experience, I do not trust the hard plastic bags.  They are bulky and stiff and I think they’re sometimes smaller than a quart amount. The liquids bag does need to be somewhat clear so that if TSA needs to just look at the bag, they can. They also do not have to pull you out of the line and delay you or the people behind you.

I found this bag that is similar to mine; there are also the stand and fill quart sized bags by Ziploc I have talked about on here before.  I also like this type of bag because my products don’t scream to be seen when I put them in the gray bin going through security. It’s a silicone instead of bulky plastic.

You want to pack your liquid makeup in a quart sized bag that will be pulled out in security for TSA.  My liquids bag is adorable and is no longer available.  If a liquids bag is something you’re interested in, I recommend that you make sure it is quart sized.  Some are super cute

We have pre-check, but we haven’t gotten it for our 14 year old son; so sometimes I have to pull out my liquids bag.

I have many eyeshadow brushes that I pack in a fold up container that my hard-working mom made me.  Now that Marie Kondo is helping us look at organizing our travel contents, we can do what she does. It is smart to seek organizational advice for your travel packing tips.  Her tips and my YouTubes are going to spark joy when you get to your final destination knowing exactly where your makeup is.  Now she says to only pack what sparks your joy.  I know things or makeup or clothes are not my source of joy, but they can spark joy.  I will choose to pack makeup that I feel comfortable in; makeup that I feel myself in.  If I feel like I’m being myself and am comfortable with how I look in makeup, then I will pack those things and be content in my own skin.  A makeup brush hack for when you stay in a hotel is to store your brushes in  paper coffee cups.  Or if you’re on a cruise ship, use one of the mugs or plastic glasses to store makeup brushes.makeup-hack

Let me know in the comments section if you battle in your mind about how much makeup to pack for vacation.  Do you pack too much makeup or a minimal amount?

Thank you for sticking around to the end.  I shared this makeup travel hack for a Beauty Blender in my 19ish Life Hack video.  You pack the bright pink tear drop sponge in a plastic Easter egg. 

I just received a charcoal infused bar soap from my Sephora bag.  But there is no way to pack this without soap stickiness getting on my other toiletries.  How would you suggest that I take this bar soap?  If you have a great idea, you should work for their company because they make top notch products but leave out the storage containers for them.

A brilliant YouTuber gave me this idea last year, Another travel hack for liquid makeup is to store them horizontally; I promise that it helps save you space.

cotton-pads-protect-eyeshadow-paletteProtect your makeup palettes when you travel by using a circle pad of cotton. Just place it in the palette and close on top of it.

Anyway, thanks for watching my Packing Tips for Makeup video.  Let me know if you feel more organized or more intentional the next time you pack makeup for a trip.

Other Videos:

33 Travel Hacks

Winter Travel Packing Tips

Packing Cubes or Rolling Method: 5 Pros and Cons

Visit me on Instagram for more travel tips and fashion travel ideas.

Occasionally I use affiliate links, and all opinions are my honest ones!

9 Travel Safety Tips (Alone or in a Foreign Country)

Today I’m sharing 9 Travel Safety Tips.

Whether you are traveling alone, with a tour company or traveling to a foreign country, these 9 tips for safety on your vacation to any destination will help.  I will discuss RFID technology, I will discuss travel safety apps and more.  Female travelers as well as male travelers can benefit from these safety tips while traveling.  If you are traveling alone, you are already helping yourself be safe by watching this Travel Tips by Laurie video.

Traveling safety tip #1 is:

Plan ahead before travel.  Be smart before you start.  Enroll in www.step.state.gov/step/ This travel tip for safety is The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). It is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals to log their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

You will receive safety information from the Embassy about conditions in your destination country.  Enrolling in STEP will allow the U.S. Embassy to get in touch with you in an emergency: natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.  I love this idea especially for family emergencies.

I also think it is safe to take a picture of your passport and email your passport info to a family member IN CASE you are the one who is incapacitated. Yes, you can get it from your email as well.  But if you are in a coma, a family member can act quickly.

Keep paper copies of your passport and health insurance card in a secret place, keeping originals on your person.  We use passport holder belt. There are other RFID blocking purse crossbody bags.  A subscriber wears a neck wallet instead of a belt one.  I am buying a package of these RFID sleeves that would just hold a few cards. If you haven’t watched my 33 Travel Hacks video, there is a great hack on how to secure your purse while you’re eating at an international outdoor cafe…like in Barcelona for example. travel hack for purse to protect from pickpocketing

Does an RFID blocking purse or wallet help your safety?

There are RFID blocking pouches and sleeves so you do not have to buy a purse per se. rfid block sleeve pouchRadio frequency identification. RFID is an electronic way to skim information off of your cards.  I thought that if my card had a chip, that meant that it is RFID capable. But in an article by Loss Prevention Media they shared that less than 1% of cards are.  If you can wave your card over a terminal and payment go in, then it can be stolen with radio frequency technology.

They say that the microchip on your payment card doesn’t mean that its ID can be stolen.  It means that it’s extra secure.

And in an article by Afar they found that in order for your passport id to be stolen, the little machine needs to be within 6 inches of the book.  When the passport book is closed there is a security tape that makes stealing your identity info impossible. 

Traveling safety tip #2 is:

There is safety in numbers.

I would search tour group companies in the country of your travels. You will find guardian.com as well as albatross.com

The Albatross tour company has specific tours for single travelers.  So you are traveling with a group, but you sleep and have time alone.

You want to walk down streets and cities where there are people or crowds.  Walking down a street alone can be prevented, be smart and stay where the crowds are. travel-with-tour-company

Travel safety tip #3 is:

Write down those numbers.  Write down the #s of your credit card company’s phone numbers in case you have to cancel your credit card, your credit union or bank #s so you can call them from your destination.

Travel safety tip #4 is:

Be observant.  Look up. Be aware of your surroundings.  Be prepared for diversions.  Barcelona is the #1 city for pickpocketing.  Our friend Roxane in Barcelona on Las Ramblas was eating at an outdoor cafe at night.  She put her bag under her chair (but failed to wrap around chair or her foot). Joe was smoking a cigar and two different times someone stopped and asked for a light. She thinks they were casing them out then.  Then a man sat two tables down and struck up a conversation…. that’s when she thinks they stole it.  Joe had the same cards as her, so she got phone numbers to her bank and credit card company off his wallet to call and cancel cards and report theft.

You can write your credit card telephone numbers in your Notes section of your phone before you travel.  Or you could enter the phone numbers in your actual phone’s contacts.  Like Credit Card Visa: 1-800, etc.

Traveling safety tip #5 is:

Go on food tours.  You will be in a group and go to locally known businesses.  It’s our #1 way to see a city and dive into their culture.  And take euros or small change for a tip.  I have forgotten cash for a tip while I was on a food tour in Maine.  I was so embarrassed.  But I hunted down the tour guide and mailed him cash.

There are also foodie meetups in other countries that you can visit.  I typed in foodie meetups in Barcelona.  Search for them online before you travel. holding-food-while-on-food-tour

Traveling safety tip #6 is:

Tell me what you think about this one.  Ask hotel desk clerks for their advice on where to eat alone and what to see alone.

I can highly recommend YouTube videos.  YouTube is the #2 search engine so you can google things but don’t forget about YouTube for travel tips on specific destinations.

Traveling safety tip #7 is:

Use travel safety apps. I saw on Too Many Adapters that they recommended a Free Safety App called TripWhistle SOSWith 196 countries in the world and more than 70 different emergency numbers you can contact police, fire, and ambulance emergency numbers anywhere in the world. 

Travel safety tip #8 is:

Read through tsa.gov or call them from their Contact tab.  The TSA even has a YouTube channel and Instagram page.  Staying safe starts with planning ahead as a traveler.contact-tsa-number

Speaking of TSA I don’t think it’s necessary to lock your luggage for the airplane; if TSA or ground workers want to get into your bag, they will cut it and it may harm your suitcase.

Travel safety tip #9 is:

Listen to travel podcasts.  I found Women Who Travel podcast.  It seems okay to start with, but you can be really specific in what you are searching.

For peace of mind, if it makes you feel better, secure your wallet or passport with an RFID blocking bag or pouch or sleeve.  But definitely utilizing the eight other tips to travel safety will help you and your peace of mind…and your mama’s!  Traveling is very safe, even if you are all alone.  But be smart before you start.

Other Travel Tips by Laurie videos:

33 Travel Hacks

Winter Travel Tips (5)

Let’s be friends on Instagram sometime!

I use affiliate links at times, and all opinions are my completely honest ones.

God, Who Do You Say I Am?

Today I am asking God, “Who do you say I am?”  Have you ever questioned your identity as a woman?  At different stages in my life, I have asked GOD who I am.  In 2019 I can ask MYSELF who am I, but in this video I turn to God and ask him who he says I am.  God says I am loved.  God says I have power.  God says I am secure.  God says I am comforted.  And God says I am beautiful just to name a few.

Click to see the video of who God says I am.

As a grown woman I still ask: On what is my identity based? Am I just a mom?  Am I just a wife?  Who am I now that my kids are grown?  What do other people think of me?  If you are a Jesus follower, I know you have asked that too.  Just because you believe in God doesn’t mean you won’t question who God says you are.  There are so many lies in the world (and in our minds) telling us who you should be perceived as on social media, how thin or voluptuous you should be, how successful you should be, at what age you should be married, and so forth.  Questioning who God says you are is going to help you confidently keep living while you are questioning who he says you are at different times of your life.  Psalm 41 is a chapter of truths that the Lord says to Israel.  Verse 10 says So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Even though we feel like we are in a pit of despair or wallowing around with no direction, the Bible says he is holding us up!

Love

God says I am loved by him.  He loves me!  He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3 Why does that matter? Knowing that God loves me helps when I do not feel worthy of love.  When my I feel unseen by my husband or not invited to a close friend’s hangout.  He is the creator of the universe.  Yet he loves me and you.  He love is also personal.  1 Peter 5:7 says Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you. His relationship pierces into my heart and he lives in our heart if we ask forgiveness from him and for him to be our Savior, or our God. And Romans 8:35 asks, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” And then it says nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ. 

I may say churchy things, please ask me if it’s confusing. This is a Travel Tips by Laurie Channel, but these thoughts have been traveling in my mind as we are in this new year, having traveled around the sun one more time.

I’m going to say “find my identity in Christ” when I mean “who do you say I am, God?”  That means I believe that God made me and that he is my heavenly father.  That’s church talk for I am a sinner (do wrong and could never be perfect) and when I asked God to forgive my sins, he did immediately.  When that happened, my heart got a new life.

Instead of me being in charge of making myself feel good and doing good to make up for all the bad I’ve done, God sent Jesus to die on the cross to be the “payment” for me doing anything bad – past, present and future.  Now, I can be free of guilt and trying to be good enough.  Now, I get to walk around free of any chains the world may put on me; I get to walk around free of any lies I tell myself.  But while I’m walking around all free and clear, I’m looking at Jesus in the Bible.  I’m reading more about who God is and who Jesus is.  I’m behaving in a way as to say thank you to God for clearing me.  I’m not trying to be good because I should; I’m trying to act like Jesus because I get to.  Jess Connoly talks about this in her book (I’ll link it below).  I get to dance; I don’t have to.  I get to.  My 14 year old thinks like a lot of other people in this world think.  He does not enjoy going to the main church service and asks why we have to go even on a holiday.  I said, “We don’t go to church because we have to; we go because we get to.”  As I went to church and read the Bible every once in a while, I realized who I was because of Jesus.  I realized that I am worth it because he thinks the world of me.  I am worthy.

Ephesians 1:13-14 says When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession…

I have heard words from my father growing up, like he would help me canoe down a scary river, like I was his princess and I was beautiful inside and out.  But that was from my daddy.  Of course he thinks that.  I heard those words from my husband.  But he’s my husband; of course he said that.  I don’t hear those words from my teenager.  And then I start telling myself lies; I’m not a good mom.  I failed him by being too strict.  We should have tried harder to adopt.  Our family is boring. When I was single, I thought I’d never get married and my life would only be fun if I was married.  The lies I tell myself can spin out of control even if we have had the best upbringing and even if we are a Christian believer.

But we’re still weak

So you have the Holy Spirit in your heart telling yourself truths.  And the Holy Spirit will never leave you; you will never be alone.

So we constantly have Jesus in our hearts telling us truths.  Then why do I keep questioning, God, who do you say I am?  Because we’re not perfect.  We will be asking this till we die and understand everything.  But we can set ourselves up mentally strong to push through those questioning times while confidently loving ourselves by setting boundaries, by stating truths and by just saying his name out loud.

To set this up for you I want to give you a perspective picture.  1 Corinthians says in verse 29-so that no one may boast. Anything good that comes my way or great personality quality that comes my way is not because of what I have done or made of myself.  It is because God made me that way, and I have worked hard or realized that trait.  I enjoy speaking in front of a camera, and that is a trait God created in me.  As I took steps along the way and made decisions, now I’m speaking in front of a camera.  It’s not because I’m awesome; it’s because He led me along the way.  So I have to set myself up as not on the throne of my life.  I need God to help me.  I need to say, “I am weak.  Without God on the throne, I can’t do it.  By saying that I am weak, I’m actually being strong because he is with me every step of the way.  Because when I am weak He is strong.”  So being weak is a good thing, y’all!  It’s like I’m getting ready for parents night when I was a 2nd grade teacher.  I was so nervous about the impression I would make, and God is paving the way in front of me as I walk to the front of the class, giving me smart thoughts and creative ideas and helping me stand a little taller.  But when you see me standing confidently, know that I am really just a girl standing in front of you with the king of the universe standing by my side saying You can do it.  I’ll go before you and pave the way.

Power:

So saying I am weak on my own is step one.  Step 2 is realizing how much power you have as a Christ follower or in Christ.  If he is the king of the universe, then we are princesses.  And with that title comes power because of him in us. Psalm 91:1-2 say Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  With such awesome power, comes rest.  When I rest physically, I am more powerful.  When I rest mentally, I’m more sane and my reactions to disobedience in my teen or reactions when I’m angry are more controlled.  My tongue is more controlled.  I have power over words that come out of my mouth.  I won’t cut down my husband.

When I dwell somewhere, that is where I live, where I do laundry, where I do the dishwasher and make school lunches every single day.  It’s not glamorous, but God is there in the mundane and that verse says it’s a fortress of strength. My outfit of the day does not need to be trendy; that’s not real life.  The Most High God is he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke.  Power over the mountains!  God is my refuge and my fortress; he’s my safety zone and my strong tower.  My husband is a pilot, and he is with women pilots, women flight attendants.  I trust him to be faithful to me.  He does not stay at the same hotel as the flight attendants, but sometimes the captain will pay for everyone’s dinner at some point during the trip.  One night he called me to say good night while waiting to go into the restaurant.  I could hear people in the background, and that bothered me so much.  I had a tinge of doubt.  I had to talk that out with God and my hubby for a few days or weeks.  That was in the beginning of our marriage.  I had dealt with infidelity with a long time boyfriend and hated that those fears were coming out again.  Trusting him while he is on a trip gives me rest.  If I didn’t trust him, I would be worried sick.  So having God as my fortress and refuge means I can trust him and in that trust have rest-mentally and physically.

Psalm 18:1-3 says the Lord is my rock my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I tell young mothers a lot, you will get sleep again one day.  I want to give them hope to make it one more day on 4 hours of sleep.  But them knowing I’m saying that they will get sleep one day only helps so much.  They need constant reassurance from Jesus that they can do it.  They have a purpose that is powerful.  And this purpose they’re in right now is huge.  Proverbs 16:3 says commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.  That means even going to the same old job each and every day.  That means when I fail or make a terrible video, I can still be confident because I’m in Christ.  And God is in me.  I keep walking in power and weak, depending on God.  I keep going.  I don’t quit. Isaiah 30: 21 says Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  God says that “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” in Romans 8:37.

Beauty

I always felt awkward since I was tall so early.  My 7th grade boyfriend came up to here.  I towered over most middle schoolers in the halls of Sharp Middle School.  But in middle school and high school I don’t remember feeling like I had to have a boyfriend all the time.  I was loving life and had resigned to the fact I was not one of the pretty girls.  But I remember my dad calling me Princess and telling me not to look at all the other pretty girls…that I was beautiful inside and out.  My mom encouraged me to be myself and allowed me to express myself with poor fashion choices or hair choices.  I do not remember her giving me her opinion thinking I’d made a mistake.  I so appreciate that now.

As I get older, I can tell myself lies about my aging looks etc.  But Psalm 54 says Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.  John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  I challenge you to look in the mirror and say, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful; I know that full well.”

I was so worried when we moved from Georgia to Northern Virginia near DC that parents would not think I was a qualified teacher because of my southern accent.  The first time, I completely wracked my nerves with worry.  But I knew I was qualified…by having a degree and Masters degree.  I had like 6 years of experience teaching these ages.  But knowing those earthly accolades didn’t help me.  Jesus helped me stand up straighter, do my best by planning out what I was going to say, and helped me think of what scary questions the parents my have.  What he thought of me on the inside helped me feel more confident and I’m sure I looked more confident.  But here’s the thing.  I had to turn to him for these truths.  My earthly trophies were not enough.  Matthew 6:20-21 – But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Those will give way; heaven will not.  Do not let yourself be blinded by the lights of popularity, fun family outings, loving marriage scale, or how big your house is.

Fear

I thought after having our son biologically that I our family would not be fun or complete if we couldn’t give our son a sibling.  I kept telling myself that. Then the fear of not being able to have another child set in.  After years of anger and sadness with failed infertility procedures, we decided to adopt.  Long story short, we took the 13 month old girl in (named Aubrey) thinking we would have a family of four and still have a relationship with the birth mom and dad.  It’s called Open Adoption.  The birth mother wanted us to adopt her daughter, but the birth father wanted the girl.  So after 9 days we gave her back.  We met at the Dulles Mall, and as I handed Aubrey back to the birth mother she said, “No, you can just put her in the car seat yourself.”  Then my fear for Aubrey growing up in a peaceful house overwhelmed me. But I sensed God wanted us to just pray for this girl for the rest of her life.  After healing from that loss we felt empowered with our family of three.  I started seeing how awesome it was for our son.  The fear can be so irrational at times and for real at times.  Fear is a real, valid feeling most of the time.  Mrs. Morrison told me right before I got married, worry is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but don’t get you anywhere.  We are more than conquerors.  I am going to need to fight that battle mentally or physically or emotionally…with God’s help; not on my own.

So many verses use refuge and strength in the same phrase.  That tells us we need to hear that over and over, and we will battle.  There is danger and awful-ness out there.  We will need to mentally feel safe and mentally feel strong our whole lives because we will battle our whole lives.  For me, when I do not feel strong or when I don’t feel fun enough, God sees me as enough just like I am…with his qualities in me.

John 16:33 – I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.

When we are scared, Jesus is our safety net. When we feel weak, he is our strength.  When we feel ugly or not worth a second glance, he is our weight.

Isaiah 26:3 – They will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.  I happened upon this verse the day after my dad survived his first heart attack.  It was on my first day of school in a brand new school.  The whole family was able to be together with my dad in the hospital room, and I remember there was such peace.  But 3 years ago my dad died after a long, brutal battle of Alzheimer’s and my mom was there alone with him.  How awful for her!  How awful for all of us.  But our minds are all confident that he is not suffering anymore.  Death is awful and unfair, and I do not have answers for why bad things happen; I just have to focus on the hope of the end of the story way down the line.  And we have to keep living.

Peace – He is the Prince of Peace.  He is our peace.  Not only is he our peace, if we have him in our heart as our Savior, then we have peace too.  We cannot get rid of it; we just have to look for it.  Realize that it is in us and walk.

Psalm 119:114 says You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.  He is our protector and our defender.  We will be in battles, and while we are fighting mentally, we will feel safe and strong and have rest because we are standing on solid grounds.

Philippians 4:6-7 As children of the Most High God, we’re told not to worry about anything, but with prayer, petition and thanksgiving make our requests known to God.  And the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 

You have peace, security, power, love and beauty because you belong to Jesus.  Those qualities make up your identity.  They are in there; I want you to see them and live life to its fullest-mentally and physically and emotionally strong.

7 Travel Tips to Pack Light

Hey there; here are 7 travel tips for packing light.  When you pack light for travel, you save space in your suitcase. I am showing you how to maximize your space in your suitcase and travel bag by packing light with these 7 tips.  I have 7 tips, but I’m breaking down each tip into details on how you can pack light.

The #1 Travel tip for packing light is: Pack so that your travel outfits do double duty

I wear a pair of jeans and pack one pair of pants in my travel bag. I’m saving space by only packing one pair of pants in my suitcase. One of my jeans looks dressier so it can be worn both in the day time and at a nice restaurant or show.  All the tops that I pack can mix and match with these two pairs of pants. I can easily have 7 travel outfits with space leftover in my suitcase.

The #2 travel tip for packing light is to use a backpack or duffle bag that can fit under your airplane seat as your personal item instead of just a purse.  I use a backpack as my personal bag because there is maximum amount of space, which means more space in my suticase.  1. Depending on where I go, I will use a light-weight cross body that can be rolled and stored in my backpack and pulled out when I get to my destination.    2. I can pack a sweater or jacket in the bottom of the backpack because there is more space than if I took a purse.  I recommend rolling that sweater or jacket.  And now if I get cold, I do not have to pull my suitcase out of the over head bin looking for my jacket.  It’s in my personal item backpack. 3. I pack my liquids and medicines in that backpack that is right underneath my airplane seat.  That equals 3 items that are now in my backpack, leaving more space in my suitcase.

The #3 travel tip for packing light is to blend travel outfit colors (Monochromatic on some days, black, blue, gray)

I recommend black pants or gray jeans and blue jeans. I recommend red top, white or light gray top, and a black t-shirt.  All tops match with any of those jeans.  Scarf and cardigans can dress up an outfit, and they take up minimal space in your suitcase. A scarf and jewelry are light weight, and they add color and personality to your travel outfits.  Blending colors does not mean boring.  Even your fingernail colors can add some personality to your blue or black outfit.

The #4 travel tip for packing light is to wear your heaviest clothing and shoes onto the airplane so those items are not taking up space in your suitcase.

I wear my tall boots.  I wear my thick cardigan.  I wear jeans.  My mom wanted to wear leggings for her long haul flight to Israel, but I encouraged her to wear jeans.  She had enough space in her suitcase, so she opted to wear leggings and not take my travel advice. Humph!

I really think this 5th tip is key to packing light: write down each outfit per day after I lay out outfits.  Visually, it helps you see what can be mixed and matched.  I was going to add in this cute sweater from Nordstrom.  It doesn’t really go with black jeans so it’s taking up extra space.  If it’s not a multi-tasker, the item will not help you pack light.  Toss it.

Pack a small amount of basic makeup items with one deep accent color for your eyeshadow or lips.  I pack a burgundy color as my accent piece.  To save space you can pack small pallets like this Mary Kay one that contains blush and three of my neutral eyeshadows.  Then There is a deep brown and blue here for accents.  I pack this Japonesque pallet because it’s flat and matte.  But I am allergic to red dye on my eyes so that’s why I bring this dye-free burgundy from Young Living. This makeup pallet saves space because it’s basically the thickness of my travel pouch where I pack makeup.  I can use 2 of these colors for my blush. I TRY to only bring a few brushes, but do not take for granted the little brushes that are in those supermarket eyeshadow palettes.  They’re small and great space-savers for travel. I never throw those brushes away.  I can use them for 5 days.

The 7th tip for packing light is to use cubes.  They squish and smush your items into compartments that really do give you more room in your suitcase.  The packing cubes are moldable; it’s not like you’re putting shoe boxes in your suitcase.  They shape to what you need. I made a video about that comparing rolling method vs packing cubes; you can check it out by clicking any of the i cards at any time during my videos.

There you have the 7 travel tips to help you pack light.  If you have a packing light tip, let us know.  We are becoming a little community here on Travel Tips by Laurie.  So join in! Thank you for watching!

Low-Carb Cauliflower Side Dish Recipe

Y’all, this low carb cauliflower side dish recipe is both easy and delicious.  The sticky consistency tastes almost sweet because of the tahini and dates.

low-carb-cauliflower
Low-Carb Cauliflower Side Dish

Now, I prefer to NOT use tahini in my hummus.  But there is a totally different flavor when mixed with low carb roasted cauliflower!  It is almost sweet!  Think comfort food.  We recreated this low carb dish after eating at a new restaurant in The Woodlands, Texas named True Food Kitchen.  They specialize in low carb food high on flavor.

Chop the cauliflower. Toss with the oil and salt and roast for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.

cauliflower-low-carb-recipe
Roasted Cauliflower

 

 

shelled-pistachios

While it is roasting, shell the pistachios and chop the dates. 

 

When the cauliflower is browned on its edges, immediately toss with dates, 2 big spoons
of Tahini and pistachios.  spoon-of-tahiniAdd more Tahini if needed.  It has the consistency of peanut
butter without the peanut flavor or sugar!

tahini-low-carb
Tahini has a peanut butter consistency

There is something about having this with the Tahini that makes it POP into the comfort
food category.  Remember that I do not prefer Tahini, but it is totally different in this low
carb recipe.

cauliflower-low-carb-recipe
We should have added one more spoon of the Tahini.  Delicious low carb comfort food!

PLEASE let me know if you have the guts to try this dish.  The flavors marry so well together!

Stop by my LauriePOP Ideas That POP YouTube Channel for travel tips, fashion and makeup tips and party hosting ideas that POP into my head.  We’re an airline family so most of my videos include travel tips we have learned.

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10 Things to Do in San Francisco (1 Day)

I’m going to tell you 10 things to do in San Francisco for a day…what to see, where to eat and what to do all down by Fisherman’s Wharf. 

**THE VIDEO ABOVE HAS ALL THE LINKS***

We’re going to visit the Golden Gate Bridge, see the walruses on Pier 39 and eat some amazing chowder and bread and chocolate.  Here are 10 things to do in San Francisco for the day. If you are visiting San Fran or if your airplane lands in San Francisco International Airport, and you have a layover, this video will help you.  The SFO is a 40 minute drive to the Fisherman’s Wharf area. If you like this video, leave me a comment or subscribe for other travel, fashion and party idea videos that POP. We are an airline family so most of my videos are travel tips.

#1 Thing to Do in San Fran is to Uber it toward the San Francisco Cable Car System, which has been running since 1873.  Have your Uber driver drop you off at the Powell Street Cable Car TurnAround stop on Powell and Mason streets. Our Uber driver had a car phone charger for us, gum and water bottles!  We landed in the morning, but the morning traffic wasn’t too bad so the commute took around 40 minutes.  We got in line for the Cable Car at 9 am and waited an hour and a half.  The Axiom Hotel is right by the line; we suggest getting pastries and coffee from there (no line) while you wait.  It’s eye opening seeing some of the disturbed individuals yelling or asking for money, and there are plenty of people around so it’s not unsafe.  Your family members can even run across the street to the huge mall and grab something to eat while you wait.

You can only buy tickets on the actual Cable Car if you have cash.  If you can only pay with a credit card, you will want to stand in a little line at a booth by the Cable Car line.  You will have plenty of time to stand in that line.  We had enough cash so we just bought them on the car, and they WILL check for your ticket.  This Cable Car will take you over many hills straight to Fisherman’s Wharf, but it will stop in China Town.  Now, you can get off at the China Town stop, but you will have to pay full fare to get back on at China Town and continue to Fisherman’s Wharf.  We skipped China Town.  The full fare per person is $7, and if you’re a senior, you only get a discount if you travel before 7 am or after 9 pm.  You can buy a full day passport (I’ll link it below) for $17 per person so if you wanted to hop off and back on in the same day, you do that. But you buy those from the conductors on board so have cash on hand.

#2 Thing to Do in San Francisco is to get the lay of the land once you get off the Cable Car at Fisherman’s Wharf – tourist shops, booking a tour if you want…they have ferry rides around the bay to the Golden Gate Bridge.  Take it from us; set up these tours months ahead.  Crowds made it so that everything was booked that day; we were there the beginning of August, and 6 piers away from Fisherman’s Wharf, where the Alcatraz tours take off were booked until the end of the year when we looked.  Plan ahead for tours.  We saw segway tours, but I’m talking about any boating tours.

#3 Wow, Alcatraz is amazing if you can swing it for your day in San Fran.  You have individual audio tour head sets to walk around with at your own leisure-you’re not with a tour guide or group.  This, along with the ferry ride will take around 2.5 hours.  They take your picture before you even get on the boat; we recommend making a scary face as a family.  You meet this boat way down at Pier 33.  We also recommend watching the original Escape from Alcatraz with Clint Eastwood.  We got to go on Halloween to Alcatraz…aah back when we could take our child out of school without him being responsible for alot of instruction.

map-of-fishermans-wharf
Map of Fisherman’s Wharf (Fish Alley)

#4 What Food to Eat – In Fisherman’s Wharf, where you get dropped off at the Cable Car – this is called Fish Alley.  This area is a flat triangle of about 5 blocks all along the San Francisco Bay.  If you want a breakfast or pastry or some awesome coffee, look toward the water and turn right on Jefferson Street and go to Boudin Sourdough Cafe.  This is a crowded, fun place to eat at bar top tables and order some delicious coffee.  It’s brisk because the wall height doors are open so you get the sea breeze. There is a restaurant that opens at 11 fyi.  Whenever you are getting hungry, you need to already be at a restaurant because of the wait time.  If you get hangry, that one day in San Fran will be ruined. While we drank our coffee, we planned where we wanted to go first.  This cafe is across the street from Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum if that interests you…or if it’s windy and freezing cold and you want an indoor thing to do.

You will see near lunch, a bunch of vendors under Alioto’s and Fishermen’s Grotto right beside Alioto’s.  Those will see you the freshest clam chowder and fish, and you can take that food and walk right over to the benches or sidewalks to eat by the bay water.  But if you go behind their kiosks, there are tiny restaurants where you can escape the heat or cold.  We ate at saBella.  They and La Torre have vendors outside as well as a restaurant behind their kiosks. There’s even The Chowder Hut right there in the middle of the cement lot in Fish Alley.  You cannot eat inside I don’t think, but you have lots of tables outside to eat at.  It’s an A-frame little restaurant.  Any of the Wharf food is going to be excellent in my opinion.  My uncle was the accountant for Alioto’s back around 1980, and Aliotos was quite a treat.  I think they still have the same carpet, and they have tons of tables inside with a view of the bay.  There’s something about eating warm chowder with the cold, wet wind hitting you while you eat it outside though.  Good times!

#5 Thing to Do in San Francisco If you have a history buff, is to tour the SS Jeremiah O’Brien, ship right there by Alioto’s and Fisherman’s Grotto.  It’s the last standing Normandy ship I think?  You can sit in the turret and look down the scope.  Great tour; the movie Titanic used the belly of this ship to film the pipe sections, do you remember that part in the movie?

Don’t miss the #6 thing in San Francisco and that is the vintage arcade place called Musee Mecanique right before you enter the Pier 42ish for the ship.  It’s all right there beside Alioto’s and Fishermen’s Grotto.  They have vintage games, antiques and new arcade games.  So fun and quirky and quick!

arcade-san-francisco-wharf-musee-mecanique
Vintage Arcade Games You Can Play (and new games)

#7 Thing to See in San Francisco is to walk from Fisherman’s Wharf-Pier 42ish to Pier 39 to watch the famous walruses.  It’s like a man cave all in the open.  Hilarious grunting and blubbering around.  You can stand here watching them for at least 30 minutes.  There’s a tiny museum right above where you watch the walruses that’ll take you about 10 minutes to walk through. This gives you the cool story of how the walruses ended up on Pier 39 after an earthquake. In-between these two piers there is a big white building with a clean bathroom area.  It’s large and white.  Safe.

#8 We recommend you wait until after 2 to Uber to Golden Gate Bridge so the sun will burn off the fog-or if it’s sunny when you arrive, go there immediately!  You never know when the fog will roll in and COMPLETELY block it.  Change your schedule if you need to because a great view from the bridge is the main reason we love San Fran. Our Uber driver came within 2 minutes right there at The Wharf and took us right to the welcome center of the Golden Gate Bridge.  We walked about halfway across the bridge and were freezing so we came back to the welcome center.  This is like a mini museum and gift shop.  They have metal bolted facts about the bridge with large posters of construction that are amazing!  Don’t miss this.  For example, there are approximately 600,000 rivets in each tower of the Golden Gate Bridge.  You can take a selfie near an actual size cable segment holding up the bridge.  The fact posters tell you how many days it took from start to having an automobile on the bridge.  There’s also a coffee shop there with gorgeous views, but it was very crowded!  If you can fit it, I’d take a fleece or a thin wind breaker because that wind-whew!  And we were fine down by the Wharf!

Traffic congestion is a nightmare, and we recommend getting Uber to take you back to Ghirardelli from the bridge.  I’d say the car ride from Fisherman’s Wharf to the bridge is about 6 minutes.  Now, take Uber to Ghirardelli Square, which is in-between the bridge and wharf. 

It came within two minutes, but we met him at the entrance of the welcome center parking lot.  There is a turn around so he won’t have to go through the awful parking lot traffic to pick you up if you just meet him at the entrance.  Remember Uber tells you what the car looks like etc. So you won’t miss him. This Uber car was a Mercedes! And the other one was a Lexus!

If you’re a biker and IF it’s a beautiful day, we recommend renting a bike at the bridge, riding across it and down into Sausalito to a bakery for a quick pick me up.  But be prepared for that head wind!  Brutal!

#9 Must when you visit San Francisco is Ghirardelli Square.  It has 3 levels basically…a walk up ice cream cone section, a cafe, and a gift shop up top.  The Ghirardelli Cafe line has such little room inside so it is deceiving.  It looks like there will be a long wait in the restaurant part.  But don’t be fooled.  Stand in line and order the Sea Salt Caramel Sundae with caramel and hot fudge chocolate sauce.  I always ask for no whip so that I can get to the flavors faster!  They have free water cups by the vintage conveyor belt inside the restaurant so you don’t have to order it.  The food comes out faster than you can tell your waitress what you want.  Then they have the shops upstairs with candy, etc you can buy, as well as where you leave the cafe.

10# Thing to Do in San Francisco If you’re looking for a clean inexpensive hotel, we can recommend The Vagabond Inn.  Even if you do not stay there, take their free shuttle and then take a walk behind the hotel. No frills, but they have free breakfast and transportation to and from the San Francisco airport.  And weekdays are MUCH more expensive than weekend rates.  The 2 other reasons we like this one is that it’s in-between two nice hotels.  So after our day of racing around Fisherman’s Wharf, we came back to our hotel and crashed for an hour and walked right next door to the happy hour menu.  They had delicious and moderately priced foods to choose from that were top notch!  And you’re right by the water that planes land on at the airport.  So there is a view.  And outside of the Vagabond Inn and the others, there’s a really long cement walking path along that water.  You can jog or walk or walk to the Marriott next door to get a Starbucks and enjoy watching planes land and take off at the country’s busiest intersecting airport.  With only two runways, as one is landing, one is taking off at the same time.  It’s precise!  And so cool to watch from a distance.  And where the Vagabond Inn is is usually not fogged in so you will feel the sun.

For an added tip when visiting San Francisco I want to recommend what to wear when you are in San Fran for a day.  I recommend good canvas shoes.  I’m a tennis shoes gal for sight seeing, but with mist almost always in the forecast, you do not want your socks and feet to get wet.  These are excellent for arch support and thick comfortable soles.  I also recommend a tunic over comfy jeans or leggings.  I love cardigans because they are added layering without a lot of bulk.  I’ll link this rain coat below because it’s so fold up-able.  And the sleeves are long enough to wear over a cardigan as it is A-frame.  If the sleeves are too long, you get the happy pops of leopard under the cuff.  This wind breaker rain coat is super thin, but it helps block the wind if it’s not in the middle of winter.  I wore this in Oregon and loved it.  These are all wardrobe pieces for a vacation that you can pull out and wear for your one day in San Francisco that will still match and mix with other clothes in your bag.

I hope these ideas help give you a bird’s eye view of what 10 things to do in San Francisco so you can plan what your family wants to see and eat and do if you only have one day.  Thank you for POPping over!

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Two Advent Games for Your Teenagers

 

This Christmas pun game is a free printable from Teachers Pay Teachers.  This is for your personal use. IHaveWhoHasChristmasPunsGame

There is also this Would You Rather game that sounds fun. ChristmasWouldYouRatherQuestions 

Please refer to my YouTube video for the entire advent calendar ideas for teens.  We are an airline family so I have tons of travel tip videos.

Leave me a comment and introduce yourself.

Let’s be friends on Insta!

Murder Mystery Party: What is it and how do you play?

Before going to our first murder mystery dinner party we did not know what to expect.  We only knew to dress up a little and that one of us was the suspect.  In this video I will help you know what to do at a murder mystery dinner party and how to play.
There is minimal dress up, absolutely no set up, and a script with background information to help you know your character.

mystery-dinner-party-dress-up

Why am I a number one fan of murder mystery dinner parties?  They have you laughing, you get to know each other better, the people who are shy feel more uninhibited because they are in character mind set.  If you are looking for team building exercises or things to do with other adults, plan a murder mystery dinner party.  I do suggest that this be kids-free because there is a script throughout the dinner party, and you need everyone at the table the entire dinner.  There is no time schedule though.  So you can be on task and then take a break to just talk while you eat the main course, for example.

Leader Responsibilities:

The leader of the party is the person who bought the kit.  She will send the party invitation in an email, assigning each guest a character.  You do need to know that that person can for sure attend.  The instructions in your kit will tell you how many people you can invite before you even buy it.  We had 3 couples and then the lead couple who had minimal talking.  Do not be overwhelmed by the menu the kit suggests.  It’s intense-giving you a grocery list and specific menu items to make.  Do what your group wants to do. 

mystery-dinner-party-kitYou can search online for murder mystery dinner parties, for singles, couples or for youth groups (some do not have the word murder in them; it’s just a mystery dinner party).  Ours had a theme, but this one also seemed fun. Some mystery dinner parties are available for download.  And some kits are mailed to you.

On the night of the party, we had the leaders bring roast beef, mashed taters and green beans.  The host provided lots of appetizers…cheese, crackers, cream cheese with pepper jelly.  Then we had a dessert.  I highly recommend having lots of appetizers. You will use those as people arrive as well as when you all sit at the table for the beginning of the mystery.  It was nice having lots of crackers and cheeses to pass around.

couplesSet up:

The leader will send an email invitation with all the characters listed with their info and suggestions for ways to dress.  The dress suggestions are simple ideas that people do not have to spend money on.  Depending on your budget, the leader can purchase party favors and decor, but it is really not necessary.

Here is an example of our Murder Mystery Dinner Party email information that I made up for this video; everyone receives this same list of characters.  It’s fun seeing who got assigned what.  Notice there is a theme.

Poor Caprice Wagon died three years ago, and each of you is a suspect.

Polkst Wagon: You were her husband.  You are a German car dealer whose company filed for bankruptcy 4 years ago but came out of it just a year later.

Costume ideas: sleezy car salesman pants and shirt/tie, greasy hair, German accent

Kim Carcashian: You are dripping in jewels.  You can buy anything you want.  After your car broke down on I-10 during a hurricane, you have been in the limelight ever since.  Hollywood loves you.

Otto Bond: You are a has-been football player.  For the past 3 years you have been dating Kim Carcashian but are rarely seen paying for your dates.  

Minny Cooper:  You have been the Wagon’s house servant for 10 years.  You have been a loyal household maid…always on time and you never call in sick.

Arrival:

As guests arrive, you talk, eat and then move to the dinner table or sofas with the appetizers.  

Background:

The leader who bought the kit will pass around booklets specific to each character.  You listen to a CD for 30 seconds, and it will tell everyone to read page one and stop when you see the picture of a stop sign, for example.  You all read the Background.  This gives you background of your specific character that only you are silently reading about-the good, the bad and the ugly.

When everyone is done reading silently, you all will read through a little script that each person is holding.  It leads everyone into the mystery by telling a story.  No ad-lib happens here, but each person reads their part in character and in order according to the booklet.

Round 1:

Then you listen to the CD for 30 seconds, and it will tell everyone to read page 3 and to stop when you see the picture of the stop sign.  Round 1 is where the fun comes into play.  During this round, each character will have something different in their booklet.  For round one in the mystery dinner party, people have scripted paragraphs of Accusations.  Your paragraph will tell you who to accuse.  You also have Responses.  It tells you like when you are accused by So and so, say this.  This is where you can ad-lib and ham it up.  

For example: 

Kim Carcashian’s page:

Accusation-

Accuse Minny Cooper of knowing where every one of the diamonds is in the Wagon mansion.  Point out that she is now the heir of Caprice Wagon’s billions.  Did she change the paperwork so that she would now be the heir?  Then you wait for her response.

Accuse Polkst Wagon-

No one knows but Polkst Wagon inherited $500,000 when his wife died 3 years ago.  Bring up the convenient happening of his company filing for bankruptcy a year before Mrs. Caprice Wagon died and then coming out of bankruptcy the year she died.

Response:

Respond to Polkst Wagon:  It’s true that is my real name.  It was a little embarrassing.  I was in shock that my dad was the captain of that Exxon Valdiesel leak.  I do not have ties to him any longer.  And there never was a cover up.  I share my hard earned money with my current boyfriend, Otto Bond.

Polkst Wagon’s page:

Accusation-

Accuse Kim Carcashian of her false identity.  Her father drove the ship that leaked all that oil from Exxon.  Her name isn’t Kim Carcashian; it’s Polly Valdiesel.  Maybe she was paid to minimize that story in the headlines.

Accuse Otto Bond that he knows she was paid millions, and Otto is dating her to find out the true story of the ship that leaked oil.

Response to Kim Carcashian-

The money you inherited three years ago was for household uses and couldn’t be used on the family car business.  You have the receipts to prove it.  Your business came out of bankruptcy because of Kim Carcashian’s video that went viral.  Now everyone wants that car that Polkst Wagon sells.

Minny Cooper’s page:

Accusation-

Accuse Otto Bond: Point out that Otto Bond just likes Kim Carcashian for her fame status from her unfortunate car video that rocked the nation.  He just wants to be popular again to fill a deep void.

Respond to Kim Carcashian-

The late Mrs. Caprice Wagon was a classic friend who felt like a mother to you.  You cannot help it if Mrs. Caprice Wagon looked at you like daughter and left you her millions.

STOP READING HERE.

Then it’s time for Round 2.  We took a break and ate dinner just talking.  Then we moved on to Round 2 in our booklets.  There will be similar scripting prompts, all the while giving more clues into the mystery.  Then during dessert, you will move on to Round 3.  Everyone can then guess who they think the murderer is.  

murder-mystery-dinner-party-costume
I hope you feel educated so you can host or lead your own Murder Mystery Dinner Party.  It’s so much fun and brings people closer together in friendships.  Thanks for POPping over to my channel!

Our mystery had a winery theme to it.  But there was also this one which looked fun and Italian.

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