Saturday, May 31, 2014

Vacation...all I ever wanted

I'm back!

Three weeks away from home is a lot, but much more do-able when two of those weeks are spent galavanting around the Alps in France and Switzerland.

Stop 1 was Barcelona for work.  Packing was a bit of a challenge considering I needed to take work clothes as well as gear for 2 weeks of mountain fun.  The end result was my taking my work clothes plus a paraglider and boots with me to Barcelona.  My partner in crime was stuck carrying the other paraglider, all of our clothes, and equipment.  It worked out ok.  I lugged the tandem glider (all 49.5 pounds of it) through the airport with not too much difficulty.

Not enough mustard.
My stopover was in Frankfort.  I'm not a huge fan of FRA for a few reasons.  One is the fact you typically end up in "remote parking."  It's annoying to haul off a 747 with 300+ of your closest friends and cram into busses for a ride around the airport.  And, depending on timing, lines for security can be pretty rough.  Luckily, I breezed through--off the first bus, through passport control and security quickly (hooray for business class lines) and was soon getting a pretzel with mustard.

But then, the most insane thing happened.  I noted my departure gate for Barcelona.  I meandered over after a few minutes checking email in the Lufthansa lounge.  I saw that the flight number wasn't a match--but thought nothing of it.  They wouldn't have two flights to BCN leaving at the EXACT same time on the EXACT same airline, right?  Wrong.  Much to my shock, while boarding, the gate agent told a handful of us that we were at the wrong gate, and that our flight was boarding at a gate a good 15 minute run away.  Of course it was.  Uh, Lufthansa, get your shit together.  Regardless, I made the flight and was the only person in Lufthansa's shitty business class.

The 5 days in BCN flew by.  We were staying at a hotel right on the beach south of town--hard to get into the city, but nice to enjoy some sun and sand before and after work.  The team I worked with was pretty great, so it was a nice way to wrap up work before 2 weeks off.

A little beach time.

A new dress/shirt combo for some r&r before work.

Dressed and ready...with a large paraglider in the background.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Scough--my new travel tool to be less sick


I'm trying to make 2014 the year I get sick less.  Not that I'm always sick, but I did catch a few good germs the last two years (including a bout of whooping cough, brought home by my airline pilot husband from another pilot..). 

In comes Scough.  I stumbled on this scarf with filter in an email I get around "innovative ideas."  I'll say.  It's a much more fashionable surgical mask.  Although the weirdo Japanese girl in me doesn't mind wearing a cool surgical mask, no doubt you get an odd look or 3 on a plane.  Like you're diseased.  And contagious...even though you're all those things, you just can't get away with avoiding the stares.

How about a cute scarf with an air-filter built in?  Yes, please.  There's a replaceable filter that goes around your ears and then you just wrap this bad boy around your face and stay reasonably germ free on a long flight.  

I put the Scough to use on my flight from SFO to FRA.  There was a dude hacking up a lung a few seats away, and two kids who were likely germ magnets.  On the Scough went at the beginning of the flight, I slept in it, and it kept me warm when we got to Frankfort and had to brave a cold spring rain in our remote parking spot.  So far, so good.  No sniffles.  And I'm being a bit more liberal with the hand sanitizer.  It helps if you get the nicer-scented ones...makes you want to use them more.    Here's to a more germ-free travel experience!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A fantastic bag for travel

Converse® One Star® Perforated Satchel H... : Target

Converse® One Star® Perforated Satchel 

This trip was a bit of a challenge on the packing front.  One week of business, 2 weeks of outdoor adventure.  From a purse standpoint, I just wasn't in the mood to take one of my nicer bags, since I knew it'd probably be stuffed in the back of a dirty car for 2 weeks at the end of the trip.  And I didn't want to worry about that.

Behold, the solution.

It's no secret that I am a budget fashionista with the best of them, and Target is a favorite (I had been there 3 times in 2 days before the trip).  Well, I was looking for something to store my airplane necessities, but small enough to carry around Barcelona.  And it had to have a zipper (those damn pickpockets) and a cross body style for hands-free fun.   And not be too precious that I would have to worry about it.

This Converse bag at target does the trick.  It's large enough to hold my headsets, a smaller bag with my wallet, keys, and junk, a pair of sunnies, my beloved neck pillow, and it has a zip pocket inside for security.  A handy and easy-open snap pocket on the outside holds tickets, passport, and phone for easy access.  There's some pockets inside for a phone as well.  Plus it's on trend with the perforated leather.  There's an adjustable strap for cross body, as well as 2 top handles for easy carrying.  It's cute enough to bring into my business meeting, but not too fancy that I can't carry it with jeans.  I'm not sure I could have designed a better bag for my specific needs for this trip.  And, it's a steal.  Target FTW.  Again.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Keeping it Simple on Business

Keeping it Simple on Business

I have a 3-day business meeting in Barcelona next week--which so happens to be right before my 2 week Europe paragliding vacation.  That means some tricky packing.  I'm trying to keep life as simple as possible for the work stuff, since that's not going to be the case for paragliding and hiking.  Although I think I've done a decent job.  Although I probably could have simplified with a dress, I'm not convinced it's warm enough to really want to wear one.  Plus, hotel conference rooms are always so chilly.  The black jeans, loafers, and blazer are going to do super-duty, for pre-meetings, the last day, and for warmth.  I am going with my standard colored pants and black-and-white combos to keep it easy.

Blazer:  Zara. Nicely made, affordable, classic.  Mine has puff sleeves for a little extra something.

Loafers:  Mine are Nine West and are calf hair with spikes on the back.   A little edgy.  Comfortable, now that I've put in some heel inserts.

Bag:  I'm still debating, but based on my last Barcelona experience, I definitely need a bag with zippers that's cross-body.  Dang those pickpockets.

Pants:  The green and blue ones are Banana Republic...from last season.  But these Reiss ones look nice.

Black Jeans:  My go-to for the last day of a business meeting.  These Citizens skinny Avalon jeans are awesome.  Like leggings, but jeans.

Black and white striped t-shirt:  Mine is a heavier weight Banana Republic shirt that's a heavier material that works well under a blazer.

Silk shirts:  Both are staples.  The black and white dot one is a good go-to with pants or jeans.  I just picked up one from Uniqlo (after being able to read the Japanese on it!) for $20.  Seriously, for a silk shirt.  Awesome.

Jewelry:  I'm not too faffed on this one.  Keeping it super simple, as I will be either lugging this stuff on my post-work vacation, or storing it at the airport, so nothing to flash.

Luggage:  I'm debating on checking my bag, since I'll also be lugging a my little carry on Briggs and Riley may just go under the plane to keep it light and easy.  I've got a connection through Frankfurt and it's just annoying to have to lug shit around if I'm already checking one piece...but I just have to remember to lock it.  And use my old name tag.

Looking forward to this trip--love Barcelona, and hoping to get the chance to eat at 7 Portes (since last time I had food poisoning and didn't go out).  Staying at a hotel near the airport, so at least that'll be easier to get into town.

And REALLY looking forward to the vacation...2 weeks of mountain air, flying, hiking, and being outside all day.  Can't wait.