MERRY CHRISTMAS

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THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING MY BLOGMAS!

This has been so much fun and I hope you enjoyed reading it. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Tell everyone you love them and hold them close.

I’m spending Christmas Eve in Fairbanks and Christmas day in Phoenix, but will be back with my family tomorrow. Instead, here are some pictures of my pup (who I call my baby) and I just wanted to post lots of photos of her. Thanks for reading and following along. I will be taking a brief hiatus, but will be back in the New Year!

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2 Favorite Recipes

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It’s almost Christmas! Happy Christmas Eve. As the year begins to a close I’m reminiscing on my favorite things and these are my two favorite recipes we make every Christmas that I always enjoy.

Before my grandmother passed away, she always baked Jan Hagel Cookies. I was curious of the origin of the cookies and I looked them on. They are Dutch holiday cookies that are essentially their version of Christmas sugar cookies. For a while we were using online recipes to make them, but they weren’t as good as my grandmother’s version and then we found her original recipe. I’m posting the recipe online so that you may try them, but also in case we misplace it again, we have it forever on the internet.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg yoke
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of slivered almonds
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 egg white (slightly beaten)
  1. Mix butter, sugar and egg yoke together
  2. In a seperate bowl, add flour and cinnamon together and sift so they are mixed together
  3. Add all together and mix until throughly mixe
  4. Place wax paper on 2 cookie sheets
  5. Divide the dough in half onto the cookie sheets
  6. Place the palm of your hand onto the dough and flatten out to the end of the cookie sheets – the dough should be very thin.
  7. Spread egg white on top of the dough (this is what makes the slivered almonds stick to the dough)
  8. Place slivered almonds on top of the dough
  9. Bake at 300 degrees F for 1/2 hour
  10. Check to make sure cookies are crisp and fully baked. Add more time if necessary
  11. Once you pull them out of the oven, cut them right away. Jan Hagels are rectangular cookies.
  12. Let cool and then enjoy!

Another recipe that we always make are Molasses cookies. I love these cookies and I eat a lot of them that it’s probably really unhealthy. This recipe requires a lot of time so make sure you plan ahead because the dough needs to set for 3 hours until you can bake it.

  • 9 oz. (2 cupes) all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp. groud ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground clover
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1/4 lb. (1/2 cup) unsaled butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • Granulated sugar for rolling
  1. Remember you need to let the dough set for 3 hours before baking
  2. In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt
  3. In an electric mixer, beat together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy
  4. Add oil into the blender
  5. Scrape the bowl
  6. Add the egg and beat until blender
  7. Stir in the flour mixture until well combined
  8. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill until firm (around 3 hours)
  9. Heat oven 375 degrees F
  10. Lightly great baking sehats
  11. Measure the dough into tablespoon-size pieces and roll between your palms to form 1-inch balls
  12. Roll the balls in the granulate sugar to coat
  13. Place the balls on the baking sheet 2 inches apart
  14. Bake until center surface of the cookies is barely dry (9 to 10 minutes)
  15. Let them cool for 5 minutes
  16. Enjoy!!

Hope you get to try these recipes out and if you do, please let me know if you enjoyed them!

Merry Christmas!

3 Asks from a Flight Attendant

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I know traveling is really stressful. Especially traveling during the holidays. You’re stressed you won’t make your connections, you’re stressed because you’re flying with kids. You’re stressed because you’re going to see family who you don’t get along with, the list goes on and on.

We get it, as flight attendants, we have seen everything. I mean that, we have seen everything. We’ve also experienced everything. Yelling at us that you are going to get us fired, telling us we are stupid, telling me I’m fat. I’ve heard it all. So to reduce your stress and mine, here are 3 asks I have before you come to the airplane.

  1. Make sure you are seated together.
    • Did you know if you purchase your tickets through a third party vendor like Expedia and Orbitz it is not the responsibility of the Airline to ensure you are seated together? If you read the fine print when you are purchasing it from Orbitz, it essentially says that Orbitz can’t guarantee that your seat preference will be fulfilled by the airline. This is because by the time Orbitz or Expedia sends your information to the airline, someone could’ve already purchased the seats that you had requested off the airlines website. This means you are not sitting together when you check in. This is not the airlines fault, not the Customer Service Agents fault and not the Flight Attendant’s fault.
  2. Be Nice
    • You’ve gotten to the airport, you’re not seated together and you are annoyed. Yelling at the Customer Service Agent (the person at the counter) is not going to help you. I tell my friends this all the time, if you are nice to the CSA’s, they will be more willing to help you out.
    • Be nice to your flight attendants. I know you think we are annoying when we ask you to raise your seat up and put away your tray table but its for good reason (I’m doing a post later about that). Please remember that while you are flying to visit your family and loved ones over the holidays, your flight attendants and pilots are away from theirs. We know this is part of the job, we understand that, but it makes it harder to away from our families when people are constantly yelling at us. I often think to myself “I’m missing Christmas with my family so this guy can yell at me over something that I have no control over.” It doesn’t really create Christmas spirit when you’re being mean does it?
  3. Download Apps and entertainment ahead of time.
    • Please, for your sake and for ours, have all your entertainment gadgets and toys prepped ahead of time. Sometimes the WiFi is spotty, sometimes the in-flight movie tablets don’t work. Most airlines now provide a free movie streaming service as long as you download their app GoGo Entertainment. I suggest you download this app while you are still at home and have solid WiFi service. Additionally, Netflix now has downloading available for some of their movies. By having these already prepped and ready to go before you board the flight, you’ll be a lot happier and less stressed trying to download the last minute at the airport.

These are a few things I ask that you think about before you head to the airport. Friendly reminder to give yourself plenty of time to get through security (also not our fault if TSA is slow, that’s a whole separate organization). Any advice you have for your fellow travelers? Let me know!

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4 Soundtracks of 2018

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2018 was a great year for films. We had movies with huge diverse casts that were not only successful but also got slated for sequels. We had crazy rollercoaster rides (I’m looking at you Avengers: Infinity War. I haven’t recovered from Infinity War.

My two favorite movies this year were Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians. I saw both of them multiple times in the movie theater and I didn’t even feel bad about spending that much money.

Not only were these really good movies, but they had some awesome soundtracks that were chosen to add an additional level to the movies.

Here are my four favorite soundtracks that were released in 2018. I have to say, disclaimer wise, I haven’t seen Fifty Shades Freed, it just has an awesome soundtrack. My favorite album that I’ve been waiting for is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I first saw the play in 2016 and knew that the music, written by Imogen Heap, was beautifully written and I waited 2 years for it to be released. This album is amazing and I have never been so excited for this album to be released than when it was released earlier this year.

What’s your favorite album that was released this year?

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5 Essentials from a Flight Attendant

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As someone who literally lives out of their suitcase, I have learned to be a savvy packer so I can fit everything I need. Sometimes I stack my trips together which means I could gone for 8 days or more. While I often rotate different outfits, there are a few things that have become my essentials for every trip. Below are some of my favorite items that I always take with me.

1. Packing Cubes

I mentioned in my post about Holiday travel about the AmazonBasics Packing Cubes, but I’m mentioning them again because I swear by them. I pack a different outfit for each cube and each climate. I have an outfit for winter, summer and moderate climate. I am able to fit three cubes in my suitcase, a toiletry bag and three pairs of shoes (flip flops, converse and tennis shoes).

2. Water Bottle

I love my Contigo Ashland Water Bottle because it has a hook that can attach to anything. I leave it empty and then once I’m in the airport I’ll fill it up and hook it to my luggage. I constantly drink water to stay hydrated and I try and reduce waste by not using plastic water bottles. It’s also a very sturdy water bottle as I use this on every flight I’ve had since I’ve started (about 470 flights, but who’s counting). By having this reusable water bottle, I always have water on hand and I’m helping the environment, win-win!

3. Lunch Box

Sounds funny right? I stopped carrying an actual lunch box in middle school and would only carry my food in a brown paper bag. However, with the crazy hours of my jobs, I pack food to make sure I always have something to eat. This is a good habit to start because it can help save you money on in the airport but also if there isn’t anything open you have a backup. I use SnapLock by Progressive to pack my food in as they’re light and dishwasher friendly.

4. Moisturizer

Traveling to different climates wreaks havoc on your skin. Trust me, I’ve spent the last 22 months trying to find the perfect moisturizer that I’m not allergic to. I use Garnier SkinActive for multiple reasons. The first, it has 30 SPF built in. I like that its a two-in-one, it’s moisturizing my face while also protecting it from the sun. Additionally, it’s the only moisturizer I have found that has been able to withstand the constant flying and heavy makeup that I wear. The second, it’s relatively inexpensive. When I started researching different moisturizers, I wasn’t ready to commit to anything expensive, as I wasn’t sure how successful it would be. This was one of the most highly rated moisturizers that I felt didn’t kill my wallet at the same time. I’ve been happy with it and I haven’t had to buy a replacement yet. I purchased it in February of this year and I put wear it four to five times a week.

5. Kindle/Kindle App

I actually have the OG Kindle and it recently died on me so I haven’t invested in a new one, but I have my iPhone and my iPad which I am currently using in lieu of my dead Kindle (R.I.P. OG). As I travel more and often do this as a solo traveler, I have found that the thing I enjoy the most is finding a coffee shop, drinking tea and reading a book. I always have two or three books on my Kindle that I am reading at a time. I actually rent all my books through my local library and it’s very easy to do this. Many libraries are increasing their ebook selections and I encourage you to join your local library and support them. I’m currently reading Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital (The Story that inspired NBC’s drama New Amsterdam). I recently just finished The Romanov Empress and I’ll be coming out with a review of it later.

Are there any things that you always take with you no matter where you are traveling? Comment below and feel free to subscribe.

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6 Travel Ornaments

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I hope by now you’ve already bought your tree and decorated it. My favorite part of Christmas is decorating the tree. I’ve gotten into this tradition that wherever I go, somewhere new, I buy an ornament from that place. The ornament either has the city written on it, or something related to the city. This reminds me of everywhere I go, and it always brings back memories of my trips.

Some of my favorite ornaments I bought when I was abroad and I hope that even when I move, I am able to keep them.

However, for those late people (because life gets in the way sometimes right?) here are some of my favorite travel related ornaments.

1.
 

2.

3.

4. This one can be personalized!

5.

6.

Do you have any ornament traditions or is it just me? Probably just me.

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7 Best Travel Accessories for Backpacking

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So two years ago (I can’t believe it’s been two years already) I backpacked across Europe. This was the most terrifying and exhilarating thing I have ever done, except when I went skydiving, that was pretty awesome. Here are some of the most important things I took with me on trip.

  1. I spent a good 8 months researching the best backpack. I knew right away I wanted a front loader bag (as opposed to a traditional hiking backpack which is a top loader). I ended up purchases the Osprey Fairpoint 40 but in hindsight I wish I had purchased the Osprey Fairview 55. The reason I would make the switch is because there’s a detachable backpack on the Osprey and it would’ve made carrying my necessities a lot easier. I would’ve just been able to hook it up as one while I walked around and when I would fly, I could detach the backpack so it would make the backpack carry-on regulation. Instead I walked around with my backpack and a side purse which was fine, but was cumbersome. However, I love my backpack and it is a really well made backpack. I chose Osprey and purchased it through REI because Osprey has a great reputation and REI has a wonderful return policy.
  2. Tide Sink Packets – I left for Europe in September and was gone until December. These tide sink packets were a lifesaver. Sometimes I would make sure the hostel I booked had a washing machine, but this isn’t always the case and so I did a lot of my laundry in the hostel sink and would hang my clothes around my bed. This probably looked weird, but as soon as I introduced myself as an American I assumed everyone would forgive it.
  3. Towel – Packing a towel isn’t necessary as most hostels will provide towels for a small extra fee or the AirBnB will have one. For me, I wanted to bring my own towel. I decided to buy a microfiber fast drying towel. This towel is lightweight, takes up very little space and is indeed fast drying. I also liked having it because I would hang it up around my bed in the hostel and it created a little privacy for me. My sister’s have also used this towel for when they traveled and said it was so handy to have their own towel.
  4. Money Belt – I know a lot of people don’t use this, but I am a big believer of having a money belt. Especially because I was traveling by myself, I felt more secure knowing I was sleeping on my money and passport. I wore this everywhere I went, especially when I was in bus stations and train stations as these are some of the places that pickpocketes target. My advice is just be careful and research where you are going. When I went to Madrid, I was extra vigilant because I know many friends who have had their things stolen while they were there.
  5. PowerCube – So when I backpacked I only carried my camera and my iPhone and extra backup battery. I didn’t bring anything else with me, but I wanted to make sure all my electronics were fully charged every night. I purchased this PowerCube as it is a travel adapter and allows you to charge multiple things at once.
  6. Lock – I purchased this lock for my backpack when I checked it for my bus rides but it was also used for my locker in the hostel. While the hostel will have locks for rental, if you want to save a little money, purchase your own and bring it with you. This lock is approved by the TSA as well.
  7. Toiletry Bag – I bought this toiletry bag because I didn’t want my shampoo to explode and get all my clothes ruined. Additionally, I liked that it is small so it makes me be more efficient with what I packed. I also liked that it was clear so I could easily see my products and I didn’t have to dump it out every time to find something.

Are there any travel necesseties you think I missed? Let me know in the comments below.

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8 Favorite Layovers

Only 8 days till Christmas? That’s crazy! I’m already pretty much done with Christmas present shopping and I’ve finished wrapping all of them. I’m a really bad wrapper, I just can’t get the corners to fold down perfectly. My sister is really good at wrapping presents and making the perfect bow, it makes me slightly jealous she’s so good at it.

One thing I’m constantly asked as a flight attendant is “what is your favorite layover?” This is a hard question because it really depends on the time of year, my mood and the weather. However, there are 8 layovers that are some of my favorites no matter the time of year or the weather.

Here are my 8 favorite layovers (in no particular order).

  1. Juneau, Alaska
    • I love Juneau. Alaska is a hidden gem that I always tell my friends and family to go and see at least once in their life. I know it seems so far away, especially from the East Coast, but definitely come check out this hidden gem.
  2. Maui, Hawaii
    • Who doesn’t love a good weekend in Hawaii? I love Maui and as I have more layovers here, I fall in love even more with Hawaii. The island life helps me recharge and it actually feels like a vacation for me even if I’m only away for 24 hours.
  3. Portland, OR
    • I love Portland layovers because stay three blocks away from Powells. Powells bookstore is a readers dream. I always have to tell myself I’m only allowed to spend $25 when I’m in Powells because I can spend way too much there. Powells is the largest independent bookstore on the West Coast that has both new and used books. If you ever go to Portland, this is a must place to stop at.
  4. Boston, MA
    • I love Boston layovers because of the hotel. We stay in two different hotels and I like both of them. One of the hotels provides breakfast which I why I like that hotel. The other hotel is near Boston Commons which is central to most everything I like in Boston. If you’re ever there in the summer, go to a Boston Red Sox game because Fenway is an amazing baseball park you have to experience.
  5. Orlando, FL
    • I didn’t start flying to Orlando until April of this year, but since then I’ve been there 8 times this year. I love the warmth of Orlando and that we are so close to Disney Springs. Whenever I layover here, I walk to Disney Springs and spend hours just perusing and window shopping. It’s a fun experience for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money but wants to go out and enjoy the outside.
  6. New York, NY
    • There is always so much to do and see in New York that even layover is different and fun. I have a few good friends who live in New York so if I go out there, I try to see them while also throwing in a show or two to see. The last time I was in New York I got tickets to see Late Night with Stephen Colbert. Download the 1iota app and you can get tickets to see shows for free (but often you have to plan ahead for this).
  7. Philadelphia, PA
    • I love Philadelphia for the history. The first layover I had I went and toured Independence Hall and I literally geeked out over how much history was there. I tend to get really over emotional about history and I almost cried because I was so excited.
  8. Minneapolis, MN
    • Minneapolis layovers have a special place in my heart because of all my college friends who still live there. I used to pick them up pretty regularly to see them but lately I’ve had to switch my schedule around and I haven’t made it out there are much as I would like. We stay right near the Mall of America so I always go shopping there whenever I get the chance because no sales tax is a thing I take advantage of.

What are some of your favorite places to vacation?

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9 Best Travel Apps

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When I first started my job as a flight attendant I would pack my laptop with me wherever I went. I ended up realizing that I rarely needed it because I am able to do so much on my phone. My laptop also took up a lot of room in suitcase and made it heavier. If you stop and think about it, it is quite impressive how our cell phones have advanced so much that we carry a miniature laptop with us everywhere we go.

I pretty much do everything on my phone. When I backpacked across Europe, all I carried was my phone, so I’ve become pretty self-sufficient on it. I pay my bills, answer emails and even book most of my trips on my phone. I only use my laptop if I want to compare different prices of hotels, hostels etc.

I often tell people these are the best apps you need so I thought, why not write a blog post about it! I’m going to break down the apps by their category and their price.

 

  1. Maps.me is a great app to download if you are traveling somewhere where you won’t have data. You can download cities via WiFi and it’ll work on Airplane Mode to give you directions. I advise that you download the cities ahead of time before going to Europe as the WiFi may be spotty. (Free)
  2. Rome2Rio – This app allows you to put in the destination you are trying to get to and it’ll give you all the travel options on how to get there and the cost of it. (Free)
  3. GoEuro – This app is the same as Rome2Rio but I use both to compare prices and purchase the cheapest one. (Free)
  4. GateGuru – Run by Trip Advisor, this app will tell you security wait times, gate changes and other information all in one app. (Free)
  5. WhatsApp or Viber – These are messaging apps that allow you to message while abroad. Most people have iPhones now and you can message via WiFi, but for the few who have androids, this allows you to text them while you’re abroad all over WiFi. (Free or $1.00)
  6. Hopper (or Kayak) – This app allows you to enter a date and destination and it’ll notify you when the flight prices are the cheapest. (Free)
  7. XE Currency – This app is super helpful if you’re traveling abroad. The app allows you to add multiple different currencies so you can compare all the exchange rates. (Free)
  8. Google Trips – This app only works if you use gmail.com as your email for your travel. However if you do, this app is so helpful. It loads all your reservations and itineraries in the app so you don’t have to go hunting through your email inbox to try and find the information. If you don’t have gmail, I suggest you get one just for your travels because this app is really helpful if you are taking multiple flights, renting cars, booking tours etc. (free)
  9. Grab – This app is still being rolled out but for most major airports this should be available. If you’re in a rush, or don’t want to wait in line, you can order your food via this app and pick it up at any airport restaurant that participates. (Free)

Any apps you think are a must have for traveling? Let me know below!

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10 Albums Dropping in 2019

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I always look forward to new albums being dropped and discovering new music, but I tend to listen to the same music. I’m hoping to branch out a little more next year but here are some of my favorite artists who are dropping (or it is anticipated that they are releasing) an album in 2019.

  1. The Lion King Soundtrack
  2. Telekinesis – Eufflxion 
  3. The 1975 – Notes on a Conditional Form
  4. Rocketman Soundtrack
  5. Meghan Trainer – Treat Myself
  6. Backstreet Boys – DNA
  7. Jessie J I Love UK
  8. Lana Del Ray – Norman Fucking Rockwell
  9. Pedro the Lion – Phoenix
  10. Switchfoot – Native Tongue

Any albums being released in 2019 that you are excited for? Let me know!

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