The Best Things I Brought To England

Oh my goodness that was such a fun trip! I just got back from spending a week in England with my family and it was just so wonderful. A 6 hour time difference is no joke and we were all a little bit tired for the entire trip, but we still managed to see a TON of great things and eat some food (England is not known for its food… we know that now…) and enjoy time together.

I plan on doing some more specific posts coming up soon to share what specifically we did and where we went, but for now I wanted to share some of the best things I brought on my trip, what I could have left at home, and what I wish I would have brought.

The Best Things I Brought:

Bobby Pins || Seems like something silly, but I am SO glad that I brought bobby pins with me! I wore my hair down every day, but I pinned the front of my hair back so I wasn’t constantly brushing hair out of my eyes while walking around.

Walking Shoes || I probably would have been fine with booties or flats, but I’m really glad that I brought extremely comfortable walking shoes (specifically, I brought a pair of New Balance casual sneakers). We just did so much walking, and my feet still got a little bit sore, but I know these helped out a lot.

Sleep Mask || Blocking out light was so helpful on the plane. The cabin was pretty dark, but people had their screens on to watch movies and it got pretty bright.

Portable Charger || THIS WAS THE BEST THING I BROUGHT FOR SURE! The one I got off Amazon was seriously so great. It kept all of our devices charged all day, which was essential since we were using our phones to navigate the streets, call up an Uber, sending snapchats, etc.

Hand Sanitizer || This was a no brainer, but I’m also glad I brought it. Traveling is very dirty and disgusting. And we ate a lot. This helped.

Things I Didn’t Need to Bring

Rain Boots || If it would have rained a lot, then these would have been great! But it rained for about 20 minutes of our trip (seriously how did we luck out like that?!?) So I really didn’t need to have these taking up space and weight in my suitcase.

So Many Clothes || We had the opportunity to use a washing machine on our trip (at our Air BnB) so I could have brought half the amount of clothes that I did and just done laundry one night.

So Many Snacks || I definitely overdid it with the snacks. I brought some Cheez-Its, some cashews, some candy for the plane, some peanut butter crackers thinking that I would want snacks and my family would want snacks, too. I ate the candy, 1 pack of cashews, and 1 pack of peanut butter crackers. At least now I have snacks ready to go at home!

What I Should Have Brought

Eye Drops || I probably didn’t actually need to bring these, but my eyes did feel pretty dry and tired and I bet eye drops would have helped.

I feel like I packed pretty well, overall! There really wasn’t a lot that I forgot to pack, but there was obviously quite a lot I didn’t need to bring with me. (But I’d rather have over prepared than forgot all the essentials, right?) I’m really glad that we went, and I’m also really glad that I’m home. I can’t wait to share more about our trip later!

What’s In My Carry-On (for an International Flight)

The last time I took an international flight (before this trip), I was 6 and my mom packed my bags for me. This time, now that I’m 29 and can pack my own bags, I was seriously stressing about what I should bring on the plane! What would I need? What should I keep in my checked bag instead? The flight to England is a red-eye, so I needed to make sure I packed things that were good for trying to sleep on a plane. The flight back to the states is during the day, so I needed to pack things that would keep me comfy and occupied. Here’s what I came up with- hopefully I didn’t forget anything important!

Sleeping mask
Ear plugs (a MUST on a red-eye flight)
Hand sanitizer (airplanes = germs = gross)
Blanket scarf (use for warmth AND fashion!)
Under eye moisturizing pads (some people swear by these – use right before landing!)
Water bottle (airplanes always make me thirsty)
Compression socks (again, some people say these make all the difference!)
Neck pillow
A bag to put it all in
Book to read (this one takes place in England, so it’s appropriate to read on my trip!)
Glasses (and the case!)
Portable charger
Airborne (don’t want to get sick on my big trip!)

Obviously there are other things I’m bringing in my carry-on that didn’t get mentioned, like my cell phone, cell phone charger, earbuds, wallet, and passport. I definitely didn’t want to forget those, either!

Have you been on a long international flight? What was the best thing you brought? What did you think you’d need, but actually didn’t?

Sparrow Conference 2017

Oh boy, this weekend was an extremely good one. A friend and I signed up to go to a women’s conference (a very popular pastime among Christian ladies) here in Dallas called Sparrow Conference and y’all. It. Was. So. Good. Like, I’m still trying to unwrap all of the awesome things I heard and I’ve been re-reading my notes and just wow. I’ve been to a few conferences before and they were all good, but this one was the best I’ve been to yet. The speakers (all women from the DFW area or somewhere near-ish in Texas) were knock your socks off phenomenal, the worship music was so beautiful and moving, and the little nuggets of wisdom- WOO I learned a lot! My notes page is FULL!

Sparrow 2017 was held at The Village Church (the Dallas campus) and if you’ve even been there, you know that the church by itself is pretty cute. But the decorations were just plain adorable! Every wall and corner had some serious photo ops and it gave the whole weekend a fun and comfortable vibe.

The worship music was seriously beautiful, and was led by Lauren Chandler (the wife of Matt Chandler, the lead pastor of The Village.) The gift shop was also filled with lots of great goodies! I got a few books that I can’t wait to dig into (all written by ladies that were speakers at the conference, of course!) and I even got a little print to be added into my gallery wall (it’s for The Happy Hour, a podcast that I enjoy listening to by another one of the speakers.)

And the content. Again, just, wow. We went through the book of James. If you have read it or studied it before, then you know it is small but can pack a punch! If you’ve never read or studied James before, then here’s a quick overview- it’s 5 chapters, it’s written as a letter, and it contains a lot of good instruction on how believers should (and shouldn’t) live their lives. There’s some really good bits of hope, and there is a lot that really convicted me and just left me nodding in my seat like YES OMG THAT’S ME. The speakers (Rachel Joy, Jada Edwards, and Jen Wilkin were the main speakers) made the words seem so relevant and so applicable to life today, and it was awesome.

I seriously can’t wait for the conference next year! I might have already signed up for the early registration…. yeah… but I know that it will be just as great. I kept thinking all weekend of people I wanted to be there or people that would get a lot out of the conference or people I wanted to share it with, and hopefully they can all come with me in 2018! I want to end this by sharing a few things that I jotted down in my notebook from the weekend. Just little nuggets that were said that I felt needed to be saved and looked at later. I know they’re going to be out of context for you, but hopefully you enjoy them a little bit, too.

How we respond to trials and temptations has everything to do with our faith.

We can lean on God during our trials and temptations because HE does not change.

Are you changed, or are you just churched?

Treat one another with eternity in mind.

Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.

God’s “no” is just as sweet as his “yes.”

Everything we do will either illuminate or obscure the gospel.



The Cookbooks are Calling My Name

Ugh. You guys. I’m still not even unpacked yet… Some of the stuff I don’t care about. The box with my beach towel and swimsuits? That’s fine, stay in the corner of my closet a while longer. The stack of pictures and frames just waiting to be hung up? Whatever – I’ll get to it eventually. But the thing that is actually starting to get on my nerves a lot now, is my kitchen. AND YES I KNOW IT’S MY OWN FAULT AND I AM THE ONLY ONE TO BLAME BUT JUST LET ME COMPLAIN FOR A MINUTE.

I’ve got half of it unpacked… but I also have junk just ALL OVER the counters still. It’s not that I’m necessarily that particular about where it all goes, but also yes I am. I have limited space in my cabinets, and I’m just not sure how I want to organize everything yet, and so it just sits out. I know I could probably just put it away “for now” and then organize it later, but “for now” would turn into “forever” and I would be forever disorganized and I’m 29 now I’m trying to get my stuff together.

The fact that my kitchen is in shambles means that I have not really been cooking since I moved into my new place. I’ve been microwaving things, and I did cook some chicken, but that’s about it. My cookbooks have been sitting on a shelf (again, not sure where they’ll go eventually, but this is where they’re at for the moment) staring me down and BEGGING me to use them again! Someday soon…

Looking at all of the cookbooks I love has made me want to share some of my favorites! Maybe talking about them will give me some motivation and finally get that unpacking and organizing DONE! Maybe.

Anyone Can Cook || This one is great for beginners! It shows you what kitchen staples you might want to have in your kitchen, has almost every type of recipe possible (including drinks), and even shows you techniques to use. I like this one because it makes me feel like a professional chef, even though I’m SO far from it.

Hungry Girl 1-2-3 || I got this cookbook while living in my first college apartment when I had limited kitchen equipment and next to no skills. It has the easiest recipes ever and they’re all pretty delicious! It’s less cooking and more throwing things together, if that makes sense.

Lexi’s Clean Kitchen || I got this one pretty recently, and it’s already made it to the top of my cookbook list. The recipes are amazing and not too difficult, and it feels great to know that you’re making delicious AND healthy recipes.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime || I got this one as a gift (thanks, Mom!) and I have made quite a few delicious meals from here! It’s definitely good comfort food, and I know that I’ll always have a TON of leftovers aka I won’t have to cook again for a few days aka I’m a happy camper.

I Walked a 5K!

I could have said that I ran it, but I didn’t want to lie to you. I ran….. like…. a quarter of a mile, and then I got kinda tired, so I just walked the rest of. #noshame #itried #itwasearly Overall it was pretty fun, but the best part is that it was one of the 5Ks where you get to throw colored powder everywhere!!!

Me and my friends signed up for The Color Vibe a few months ago, and we were so excited at the time… and then the day came and IT WAS JUST SO EARLY. The race was ALL the way down in Arlington (why did we think that would be fine?!?!) which was about a 40 minute drive. Which meant we had to leave at 7:15 a.m. and for a Saturday it felt so early.

We finally got there, got checked in, and then we stood around for a while! It was kind of confusing… some people were throwing the powder around like there was no tomorrow, some people were saving their powder for the end of the race… and so we weren’t really sure what to do. And honestly, there was no “set time” for everyone to throw their powder around. So while we were waiting behind the starting line, me and my friends decided to kind of shake our powder around, because we honestly just didn’t want to run with that colorful plastic bag the whole time!

So like I said, I pretty much walked the entire thing, which I’m totally fine with. I had some good conversation with my 3 walking buddies and we did do a triumphant run across the finish line! My friend Cassie took our pictures as we crossed (because the ran the entire thing like a champ and had about 20 minutes to cool down and wait for us to cross) and they are hilarious.

After the race, we went to brunch at Cracker Barrel (YUM!!!) and it was the best meal ever. I was SO hungry and I ate way too much, which I’m pretty sure is the whole point of Cracker Barrel. After that, my friends dropped me off at home and y’all – I took the best nap of my life!!! It was such a fun day and maybe the next time I’ll actually run a full 5K. Or at least half of one. Baby steps.