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Tips Travel

Packing Tips for a Backpack

May 12, 2016

A few days before we left on our big trip, Mat and I each had a test run packing our new backpacks. On previous trips we have borrowed travel backpacks from family (thanks Sarah!) but finally made the investment in our own. I always pack too much and then regret it as I’m lugging around extra shoes and outfits that I “just couldn’t leave”, meanwhile my spine feels like it’s being compressed and my shoulders ache. I decided to buy a smaller backpack to force myself to pack lighter. That is crazy if you know me, because I love having a variety of clothing to choose from. I have been known to change outfits during my lunch break. It’s crazy, I know.

I ended up with the Osprey 36 L women’s backpack and Mat chose a simple REI 40L He chose the simple style on purpose because he hated having to deal with all of the extra fancy zippers, ties, and bells and whistles that come with a typical hiking/camping/travel bag. He also wanted a smaller and more sleek fit so he didn’t feel like he was constantly bumping people with his huge backpack.

We had read online that packing cubes are a must when backpacking, as it helps with efficiency when trying to find an item and saving room. Mat ordered these from Amazon and mine were a gift from the Easter Bunny. 🙂 I have three total: a small, medium and large. Mat’s packing cubes came in a group of five, but he is using only three: small and two mediums. We are working on mastering the art of rolling for maximum space.

In my largest packing cube I fit two pair of pants, two pair of leggings, one maxi dress, one maxi skirt, sleep shorts and workout shorts. A total of seven bottoms and a dress. The middle sized packing cube was for my tops, which fit four tank tops, three short sleeve shirts, one sweater, one cardigan and a swimming suit. The smallest cube is for socks and undergarments, which held a total of 13 items and definitely wasn’t full.

These three cubes plus a pair of sandals and a pair of Converse still only filled about 2/3 of the bag. So awesome! The rest of the empty space will be filled with toiletries, so hopefully it all works! Also, there is a special zipper at the bottom of the bag that holds my raincoat.

Mat was able to fit 11 tops, six bottoms, a rain coat, 12 undergarments and a nice pair of shoes in his bag thanks to his packing cubes. He is using the two medium sized cubes for tops and bottoms, while the smallest is for undergarments. Mat was even able to utilize his outside mesh pockets to hold other miscellaneous items that we will be taking i.e. laundry detergent, first aid kid, and ginger candies (for my nausea).

You better believe our hip belts carry snacks like protein bars, dried fruit, granola, etc. We can’t go anywhere without our snacks!

Do you know any secret packing tips or advice to share with us?























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Venture Meridian

Teaming up with Venture Meridian Magazine!

April 1, 2016

Following a recent photo shoot we did with the good folks at Venture Meridian, we were lucky enough to be offered a monthly column in their magazine!  We couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity and are hopeful that we’ll be able to consistently provide helpful tips and stories to their readers.  Spoiler alert! Our columns will focus on downsizing, traveling, and having a fun budget-friendly lifestyle.

The April issue of Venture Meridian magazine was released earlier today.  You can find our first column on page 38!  Check out this magazine and show them your support as they are busting their butts to provide an awesome magazine for Idaho!

(The featured image used on our homepage linking you to this post, along with numerous others in the Venture Meridian Magazine are compliments of Ali Smith Photography)

Venture Meridian Magazine April 2016

Venture Meridian Magazine April 2016

Venture Meridian Magazine April 2016

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Combat the Winter Blues

January 27, 2016

Combat the WInter Blues

January is by far my least favorite month of the year. This year has been especially rough with doctors appointments, yearly reviews, stitches, a (ridiculous) cancer scare and a very stressful few days being on call for work. Combine all of that nonsense with cold, gray weather and it’s hard for this hot-weather-loving girl to even make it to Valentine’s Day without running away to Florida. I thought now would be a good time to list out ways to combat the winter blues, mostly to remind myself that winter isn’t all bad.

1.Get outside anytime it’s sunny

This means pulling yourself away from your work station for a quick walk outside, or bundling up on the weekends for a stroll to a nearby coffee shop. It will be good for your muscles and brain! Get that blood pumping and soak up some natural Vitamin D. If it’s way too cold (for me that’s single digits), at least get to a window and let it shine on you through the glass!

2.Participate in winter activities (snowboarding, snowshoeing, sledding, tubing, ice skating, etc.)

Now is the time to take full advantage of doing things that are typically only available a few months of the year. Don’t have any equipment for the above winter activities? Then rent! Or let you inner eight-year old out and build a snowman. 🙂

Mat next to the Snowman he built


What better time to start a new workout plan than the beginning of a new year? After all of the holiday indulging it shouldn’t be too hard to find the motivation.  Produce those endorphins to fight off the winter blues!

4.Travel, even if it’s somewhere close by

A change of scenery is always a good thing, especially because winter can oftentimes seem so repetitive. Take a weekend trip to a nearby city. Explore a new part of town. I have never actually done it, but I have always wanted to try a “staycation”-rent a hotel in your town just to make it seem like you are on a real vacation and not distracted by the mundane tasks/chores at your house.Lacey strolling in Tamarack

5.Better yet, travel somewhere warm!

This is obviously my favorite one, and I wish I could do this for the entire of months of January and February. I guess this year I will just have to settle for a quick weekend trip to sunny San Diego. 😉

6.Spend time with family and friends (have a party!)

Spending time with family and friends is my cure for everything. I love attending parties and although I’m a terrible host, I love having people over too! In fact, I think it’s about time for another game night…..

New Year's Eve with Friends

7.Laugh! (watch your favorite funny movies/shows)

This is the easiest and cheapest way to kick winter’s ass. Invite that hilarious friend over, watch your favorite comedy, watch YouTube…there’s always hilarious animal videos on there. Fortunately for me, this is easy to come by because I happen to be married to the funniest man on the planet.

8.Take Vitamin D supplement

They even make Vitamin D in gummies for adults. Seriously, the taste like gummy bears. I pretty much overdose on these November-April.


The best way to fight any sad feelings-get out and volunteer! Volunteering is a great reminder to appreciate what you have. Plus, helping others just feels good!


If you have any additional tips that will help make the cold winter months a little more fun, PLEASE let us know!

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