What I am Currently Reading, Listening to and More!

There’s been a lot going on the last few days and weeks. I think it’s safe to say everyone’s anxiety has been up as we all try to process what is going on and how we can stay healthy and safe. I’m finding that while this down time can be hard to adjust to, it’s also a great time to dive into some new books, podcasts and more. Below is a list of books I’ve been reading, podcasts I’ve been listening to, as well as some other fun things to pass the time and relieve stress.

~Books~

I think I read this book in a matter of days. Lisa Jewell’s Then She Was Gone is a page turner like none other. Not only is it a quick read, but dives into the dark story of a mother trying to cope with her daughter’s disappearance. Definitely a must read!

I just started Watching You by Lisa Jewell. Like her other book, you are immediately immersed into the lives and perspectives of her characters. So far, I can’t put it down and have a feeling the ending may surprise me.

~Podcasts~

I wasn’t a fan of the other Monster podcasts, but this one caught my attention immediately. DC Sniper reinvestigates the beltway sniper
attacks, sharing the stories of those who were involved and what happened during that time in the DC and Maryland area.

I was skeptical of this podcast, but ended up loving it. Radio Rental, narrated by The Office’s Rainn Wilson and told by Up and Vanished creator Payne Lindsey, tells bizarre, real life stories. From encounters with serial killers to experiencing an alternate reality, these stories will really get you thinking. The overall concept is super creative, and I cannot wait until season two is released.

~More~

Shows I’m binge watching!

At-Home Workouts!

I love to workout, so it’s been challenging to find a new routine that doesn’t involve going to the gym. I started using my garage, since I don’t have the space inside my house and use my yoga mat, weights, resistance bands and sliders for a complete workout. I’m also trying to get into going on more walks or hikes, since the weather is slowly getting nicer by the day.

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I think the most important thing at the moment is to relax and stay calm. It’s been very hard for me, especially with social media and the news. To keep my mind healthy, I’ve stopped watching the news for a bit and also kept off social media. It’s important that you not only remain physically healthy, but also mentally healthy. Make sure you implement self-care and do things that will make you healthy, happy and stress-free.

XO – Courtney

My Travel Packing Guide

I love to travel, but when it comes to packing, I dread every inch of it. Trying to pack and organize my entire life into small bags is definitely a challenge for me. However, over time, I figured out the best ways to bring your must haves in an organized and “light” way.

~Toiletries and Makeup~

Let’s start with toiletries! They are the oh-so dreaded part of packing for me. I have so many lotions and potions that I can’t live without. For me, I try to pack very few products in my checked bag in case the airline loses my suitcase along the way. For starters, I always write down a list of what I use. I categorize it into my morning routine, shower, night routine, and products that I will use on the plane. After, I go through my products and decide what I need and what I can live without. I even check to see if they are sold in smaller sizes. If they aren’t, I’ll pick up travel size containers to fill. For any beginners, liquids, gels, creams, and aerosols that will be brought on the plane need to be under 3.4 ounces and carried in a one quart-sized bag. This may sound intimidating, but trust me, you can do it. Coming from someone who has SO MANY products, it is possible. I always over stuff and that is totally acceptable. However, one way to reduce the amount of liquids is by switching up products. For example, I always use the Batiste dry shampoo in the aerosol can. Instead, I checked my local Ulta and found that they sell a small container of dry shampoo powder. This takes away one less item to put in that baggy and ensures you will have it with you at all times.

With my makeup, I also try to cut down on the liquid foundations and bb creams. Changing to a powder foundation or stick product makes it easy to slip into a separate makeup bag and not have to shove it into the little plastic baggy. Also, consider using 2-in-1 products, like a cheek stick that doubles as a lipstick or eye product. There are always ways to get around the rules and switching formulas is an easy and efficient way to do so!

Airplane skincare is super important. The air when flying is extremely dry and harsh on the skin. Depending on how long the flight is will depend on what you will use and need. I recommend packing a few sheet masks to use while flying and a micellar water to cleanse. Any other moisturizers and/or serums should already be packed in your bag and good to go!

~Clothing and Accessories~

Now that we conquered all the beauty products and essentials, now it is time for packing clothing. The best way to save space and organize your suitcase is by using suitcase organizers. They are either cloth packs that come in different sizes or plastic seal tight bags. They keep clothing separate and clean.

Always pack your shoes at the bottom. If you are bringing a sun hat, pack it upside down and stuff it with underwear, socks, or swimsuits to optimize space. If it helps, keep polaroids of outfits in the suitcase for instant and easy ideas. Bring a separate bag for dirty laundry, so they do not touch clean clothes. If you forget, check your hotel room for a plastic laundry bag to use instead.

Keep in mind the kind of jewelry you will be bringing. I always recommend bringing inexpensive pieces in a compact jewelry case. I recently purchased one in Target and it has perfect compartments for earrings, necklaces, etc.

~Carry-On~

Now that we have the main two packing tips out of the way, let’s talk about your carry-on items. You are allowed one carry-on that will fit in the overhead compartment and a personal item, which will slide under the seat in front of you. I always bring a small duffle and a purse. In the carry-on, it is important to pack a few items. In case your checked bag is lost, your carry-on should have underwear, socks, pj’s, a bathing suit, and an outfit or two. It’s more of a safety precaution, but can also include a change of clothes depending on how long your flight is. If your carry-on is your only suitcase, then it will contain all your clothing.  In my purse, I’ll have a few entertainment items, my phone, headphones, a phone charger, books, snacks, water, my baggy of liquids that I’m bringing on the plane, and pills. It is extremely important that you always carry-on your medication, whether it’s Advil or allergy medicine.

~Entertainment~

This is the fun part! I obviously always bring my phone and have music on it, but lately I have been reading some great books and downloading a few podcasts. They make the time fly by!

~~~Books~~~

In a Dark, Dark Wood By: Ruth Ware
The Woman In Cabin 10 By: Ruth Ware

Here We Lie By: Paula Treick DeBoard

~~~Podcasts~~~

A Killing on the Cape

Up and Vanished

Unconcluded

In The Dark

Serial

I clearly love true crime podcasts and books in the thriller/mystery genre. If it is not your cup of tea, I recommend checking out iTunes for all the top podcasts and Amazon for the latest book releases and best sellers.

~Relax~

I understand that all of these tips and things to remember can be stressful. At the end of the day, it is important to remember to relax. I love to travel, but I hate the process of packing and actually being on the airplane. I can never get comfortable or sleep and always feel so antsy. For me, bringing skincare items and face masks are ways for me to create a “routine” (which I find comfort in) and do something that I love and that is relaxing to me. I also purchase ear plugs to block out the noise and adjust my ears to the pressure in the air. Anxiety is never fun when traveling, but is completely normal. The key is to find things that will relax you and help you get to your destination. These tips above are aimed to get you feeling organized and to take one less stress away. But reflect and think about what will make you most comfortable if you get travel anxiety. Whether it is writing, drawing, coloring, or watching your favorite movie, the little things is what will make you feel comfortable and have the trip running smoothly. Always engage in self-care and listen to yourself and what will make you feel best.

Happy Summer Travels

-XO Courtney