Now that I am back to real life I read all the comments and Wow! You guys! I really missed you, too. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to hear all those nice things. I know I wrote this thing kind of explaining it, but the Internet is a strange and lovely place and there are times when I wonder what would have happened to me had we all not found each other. I try not to linger on those thoughts, and I am flawed and have never been good at saying how much this stuff means to me, but please know I am touched by your happy and warm comments. Thank you!
And yes all the damn exclamation points are back! I have not changed all that much (!!)
————– Now on to today’s important topics ——————–
Pretty much everyone who sees them asks:
Where did you get those Nike shoes?
The shoes in the picture at the top of this post are my current Favorite Shoes Ever. They are floral Nike Women’s Zoom Structure trainers and I got them in this fancy flower print and all done up with a pink swoosh by using the customize feature of Nike ID.
They don’t appear to have the same exact shoes in the store right now, but you can check out the full list of all the customizable shoes in the shop here. I only found one other shoe that seems to come in floral prints and I’m extremely tempted to get it, too: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus. It comes in a dark floral and PINK and some other colors.
While I love Nikes and have been wearing them forever, this was my first time buying the Nike ID custom version of a shoe. Using an online tool you can customize the color or pattern of the upper, sole, shoelaces, swoosh, and even add text if you want. There’s a cool preview function that shows your shoe before you buy. The cost is about $40 more than buying one of the pre-made color combos and I’m not sure I’d do it for a plain black shoe but the floral is amazing.
Usually I wear the stretchy Nike Air Free shoes so I took a chance on these, and I also ordered them in a wide width which was smart — these are more padded than the Free Run style and I have such wide feet they’re practically square. You almost never see the wider width (or narrow, tbh) at stores and getting the custom fit was awesome.
I have had everyone at work ask me about these shoes, and I have gotten compliments/comments from TSA agents, flight attendants, and random citizens of the world. They just make me happy. They weren’t cheap but they are now my primary shoe of choice so well worth it at about $160 (with free shipping and handling.) They take about three weeks to arrive, so that’s something to factor in as well.
One tip: Sign up for a Nike account on their online store and get the emails. That’s how I found the floral pattern, which they apparently only had in stock for seven minutes. They also send out great sale info and promo codes.
– – –
This question came from Aidan, Julia, Karen and kind of also from Leslie:
What are these skirted leggings of which you speak?
Skirted leggings are the single item of clothing I wear more than anything else. They feel like pajamas, look polished enough for everyday wear, and can be dressed up or down for just about any look possible. Add heels, a strappy tanktop and and drapey sweater for a nighttime look, or throw on a t-shirt and hoodie and trainers for a lowkey casual look. They don’t wrinkle and I practically live in them.
These are the ones I wear: Eileen Fisher Skirted Ankle Legging
The link above is to Bloomingdales, and I’m linking to it because it’s the only place they ever go on sale. However, there’s a great video of these in action over at the Saks Fifth Avenue site here.
At $138 they are definitely not cheap but I wash and wear mine constantly and they don’t pill or lose their deep black color in the wash. I find this brand runs big, so if you are on the fence order one size down. These are not just my travel staple but a life staple and I have been wearing them for years. Occasionally they will pop up in other colors (I have navy blue and charcoal grey) but looks like black is all they have online right now.
– – –
I thought there were new regulations about laptops and iPads not being allowed on transatlantic flights…?
As of now, you may still carry your iPads and laptops in the main cabin on flights to and from the US. Even the electronics ban in place on the ten Muslim-majority countries was lifted in June, here’s a link to the NYT article about it. However, this may change with the wind. I wrote about the proposed laptop ban here, and since I have been obsessed with this topic I’m sure I will update if there is a change in policy.
One thing I did notice which felt like a harbinger of change — when we were flying back from Copenhagen we heard an announcement on British Airways that was new to me. Passengers were warned to make sure all devices, especially laptops and tablets, must have enough charge to be booted up and inspected if needed if you are traveling to the United States.
There was nothing new or different about handling electronics in the security lines at Heathrow or at the Copenhagen airport, so my guess is that enhanced screening is coming in the future and you may be asked to power up before boarding. I’m OK with this and think it is far preferable to having a bunch of lithium laptop batteries (or worse) in the cargo hold. Much of the opinion articles I read on the ban called it “security theater” which is a nice way of saying it’s all for show and doesn’t really make anyone safer.
Bottom line: Check with your airline before you fly or look on their website for carry-on rules. But for now it looks like the ill-fated device ban is over and we can all safely play candy crush to our hearts content while middair.
– – –
A real-life person asked me this question:
What would you change about your last trip if you had it to do over again?
- I would bring a compact towel, because all these Airbnb hosts seem to have no need for a separate dry-your-hair towel. I am looking at this fast-drying travel towel on amazon.com but if you have a recommendation please let me know!
- I would add one extra day to the trip. Even for me, five days is really short. We kind of had to do it because of a weird scheduling problem and because these were tickets we had to change from another trip, blah blah blah. But Copenhagen was great and I will definitely go back.
- I would have packed much earlier. I put a lot of time and thought into the flight I select and the place we stay and the activities we do, so why not put that same effort into planning my suitcase contents? I packed way ahead for my Helsinki trip and found it very relaxing to feel prepared ahead of time. It’s also a fun way to milk the happiness out of the good planning stage. But this time I waited too late and packing was kind of stressful.
– – –
The inside of your suitcase looks just like mine! Is it California Pak?
and Jeanne & Mindi both asked:
What carry-on suitcase do you use?
Hi there! This bag is a small Samsonite roller bag I found at TJ Maxx for $59. It’s really great! The wheels are those 360-degree spinner wheels that glide like butter and I really like the way the two halves of the suitcase are divided with a zipper portion on one side.
I have a whole rule about never buying any luggage over $79.99 which is a weird, arbitrary number but that is my limit.
A few years ago I stayed in a new-to-me place in Paris and had an experience with what may or may not have been the dreaded insect whose name shall never be spoken. In an overabundance of paranoia and caution, I had to throw away my luggage and sadly a couple of great handbags and so now I never travel with anything too precious in case I have to burn it in effigy after the fact. A little dramatic, but anyone who has ever had that same fear knows of what I speak.
When it comes to luggage, I can’t recommend TJ Maxx and Marshall’s enough. Oh, and Burlington Coat Factory, too! You can find amazing sales there on really solid brands and they have tons of bags under $79.99 just saying.
– – –
Not about travel but a note from several folks here, including Donna, Lauren, and Pamela:
Your Hello Dolly Bars sound a lot like Magic Cookie Bars!
I had no idea but actually “Magic Cookie Bars” is a way better name because they are indeed the most magical of all the baked things I have ever made. Also I think it is funny that in the first posting of that recipe I made a typo and increased the sticks of butter from 2 to 12, whoopsie. But it’s two sticks of butter. Which is still a delicious amount.
– – –
Is there a way to follow your blog so I don’t miss an entry?
YES! You can. Here is also an embarrassing factoid: This was a head-scratcher for me because I clearly followed my own blog at some point while building it because I was getting emails — but could not for the life of me remember where that feature was located. Lordy.
So finally I found it, or rather RE-found it.
- You have to go click on the comments section of any individual entry. Just put your mouse in the empty field or tap there if you are on a mobile device.
- A checkbox option should magically pop up that says “Subscribe to this blog”
- Enter your name and email and voila!
There are some downsides I can see to this, such as how do you unsubscribe and also that button is super hidden, who has time for hunting in the comments area for a button? But I am not that good at messing with the code of this site yet so it may be a few weeks before I can find a good way to fix that. Here are some not-entirely-helpful pictures:
But the burning question: did you ever try growing square watermelons again?
Sadly, no. 🙁 I never achieved a square watermelon and I have not tried since my little place in Encino-adjacent.
The place I moved to after Encino-Adj had no outdoor space except for a rooftop patio that was too hot for human and plant habitation. The next place was a cracker box with zero outside space. My current house has a garden area in the back but it is definitely/probably/maybe too shady for anything to grow back there.
Since my gardening adventures in Encino-adj, I haven’t done any gardening at all (unless you count my bloom-less orchid collection in the kitchen window.) I would love to have a kitchen garden again but more specifically I would love to have the time to plant and maintain a garden again. Feels like I have prioritized work over a lot of pastimes, something I am actively trying to remediate these days.
Thanks for all the fun questions! As always, ask me anything. I do read every comment and always try to answer every person. Hope you all had a non-laborful Labor Day!