What to pack for a ten day trip

Hi loves! I told you that I had some posts that fall in line with my upcoming trip! Because it’s the holiday season, and a lot of people of traveling to see family or friends (like me), I thought I ought to do a post about what to pack for a ten day trip. Of course, you can adjust the numbers of each item depending on the length of your trip!

To begin, I have my travel outfit. We’ll be in the car for about 12 hours, so I need something comfy. Whenever I travel, I generally wear leggings and some kind of sweater. These leggings are from American Eagle, and I just have a classic Patagonia pullover (like this).

Next, I just have three basic tops, a tank top, a t-shirt, and a long sleeve. These are perfect for layering, and they don’t take up a lot of room.

Then I have a few blouses/shirts. These are a little heavier than the basic tops but can also be layered. The gray turtleneck and the lilac button up are from American Eagle, and the gray thermal is from Free People. All of these are a couple years old, so the exact ones aren’t available any more, but here are a couple similar ones. Turtleneck: http://on.ae.com/2hrBRjQ Button up: http://on.ae.com/2hpvJv8 Thermal: http://bit.ly/2hiNwnw

The final category of tops are sweaters. These can all be layered with the basic tops. Unfortunately, these are all from thrift stores, but check out your local thrift store. You just might score!

Okay, it’s quite rainy and cold in Oregon and Washington this time of year, so the only bottoms I’m bringing are jeans. I have two pairs of my vintage 501s, a pair of dark wash skinny jeans from Hollister, and a medium wash pair from the Gap. Here’s some similar Hollister jeans and Gap jeans

I’m optimistically bringing one dress just in case we go out to a nice restaurant or do something else mildly fancy. Again, I’m so sorry, but this is an older Free People dress, so it’s no longer available. I will try to find something similar! 1 2 3

Finally, pjs! I usually just wear an oversized t-shirt and shorts to bed. These are honestly nothing special, only comfy. One day, I’ll have my life together enough to wear cute nightgowns and whatnot.

I didn’t take a picture, but I also have my underwear, socks, etc. Always bring a couple pairs more than how long you’ll be there just in case. It’s much better to be prepared.

These are my basic toiletries although I’m sure I’m forgetting something! I’ll just give you a quick run down of everything. I have my glasses, glasses case, contact case, and contact solution as far as eye stuff goes. I also have my Old Spice Fiji deodorant, Body Shop hairbrush (honestly the best brush out there), coconut oil, rosebud salve, rose face wash (I really love roses), a travel sized Burts Bees body wash, a Bath and Body Works body mist in coconut lime, tweezers, my Sonicare toothbrush (you’ll never use another toothbrush), and a reusuable container for shampoo.

And last but not least, I have makeup. Honestly, I barely wear makeup, but I always bring a little just in case I’m in the mood. All I have a my EcoTools brushes, my Real Techniques makeup sponge, a NYX brow kit, a L’Oreal powder, my L’Oreal liquid liner, my Maybelline concealer, my Too Faced Better than Sex mascara, two lipsticks, and a gold Body Shop eyeshadow. Very minimal, and I most likely will only wear any of it once or twice the whole trip.

Hopefully you enjoyed this little peek into my suitcase, and this post helps you with what to pack for a ten day trip! I actually hate packing, and it always takes me soooooo long to do. I honestly read so many blog posts about packing. Anyway, if you didn’t see my last travel tip posts, go check it out! http://www.coffeepotsandthoughts.com/five-travel-tips/. I’ll talk to you soon!

Love,

Emma xx

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Five Travel Tips

Hey, loves! I’m sorry I’ve been MIA the past week. School has been crazy, but I’ll be done next week. From then on, I’ll have nothing to do but to blog and drink too much coffee for a month! Anywho, I wanted to continue this little travel series with five travel tips. These are just what I do and what I find super helpful when I travel. I hope this helps you or just further fuels your wanderlust. Without further ado, here are my five travel tips.

  1. Plan, plan, plan

    I cannot iterate this enough. Yes, it’s good to go with the flow. BUT for major stuff like flights, lodging, and packing, it will make traveling so much easier if you plan ahead. It’s not the most fun activity, but it’ll ease some of the stress of your trip. Instead of worrying about where you’re going to sleep, you can focus on dinner plans or sightseeing.

  2. Comfy clothes are your best friend

    Whether you’re flying or driving, wear comfy clothes. Through on some leggings or sweatpants and layer up on top (planes are always freezing). Like with planning, instead of thinking about how uncomfortable you are, you can deal with more pressing matters (like coffee and food).

  3. Bring snacks and water

    This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s so easy to forget food and water. If you’re flying, don’t pay 10x more for unhealthy, un-filling snacks. Bring your own. My family and I always bring sandwiches and whatnot. Similar to food, water is ridiculously expensive in airports or even at gas stations. Save yourself the extra expenses and bring a reusable water bottle. If you don’t like the taste of tap water, you can buy Brita water bottles (like this) with built in filters! Good for you and the environment!

  4. Enjoy and don’t restrict yourself

    I know that you want to be healthy, and you want to work out every day, etc. etc. I get it, and of course, be healthy and work out if you want. However, don’t be too hard on yourself if you eat ice cream and fast food or the only exercise you do is walking around. It won’t be the end of the world. I promise.

  5. Don’t get too caught up in taking pictures or posting on social media

    Similar to number five, enjoy your time. Too often, we become obsessed with taking that picture and immediately posting it to snapchat or instagram. I’m guilty of this. And it’s just been recently that I’ve really tried to take a step back when I’m traveling or on vacation. Soak up the views and just bask in the glow of where you are.

Alright! I hope you enjoyed my five travel tips. I’m actually road tripping to Oregon and Washington on the 15th, so I will doing all of these things very soon. I also already have a couple of blog post ideas in relation to that trip and traveling! Let me know which tip was your favorite or if you have any really good suggestions.

Love,

Emma xx

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Ten Winter Activities

Hey, loves! Like everyone else in the world, I’m coming at ya with a winter themed post. I’m one of those annoying people who listens to Christmas music basically all year long. I just love this time of year because, generally, everyone is much happier. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas specifically, here are ten winter activities you can either do by your lonesome, with family, or with your friends!

ten winter activities

1. Decorating your house/room

This can be either just for the winter season or specifically for Christmas. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I love the look of fresh pine branches around the house (plus they smell really amazing).

2. Sledding

This is kind of location specific. If you live somewhere with plenty of snow, sledding is so much fun. However, if you don’t have snow, there are plenty of other fun outdoorsy activities such as hiking or swimming so don’t fret!

3. Winter walk

No matter where you live, winter walks are possible. There’s something so refreshing about the cooler air.

ten winter activities4. Movie marathon

Okay, I know that this is a year around activity, but it’s just a classic winter activity. Make some hot chocolate, grab a blanket, and settle in.

5. Cozying up with a good book

Yes, like number four this is another year around thing, but something about winter just screams cozying up inside. I hope to do a few book recommendation posts soon but in the meantime, I suggest picking up The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.

6. Baking

So you’re probably thinking, “God. Does she not realize that you can also do this year around?”. And yes, you can, and I do, but like movie marathons and reading, it’s so much cozier in the Winter. I really like to bake snickerdoodles, but you could even bake your own gingerbread for activity number seven!

7. Decorating gingerbread housesten winter activities

See, here’s another one you can’t do year around (well you can but you know what you mean). As a kid, I always loved decorating gingerbread houses and men. It’s delicious, fun, and gives you a chance to tap in to your inner architect and interior designer.

8. Looking at lights and house decorations

If you’ve read my Where to visit in the US post (here it is in case you missed it), you’ll know that I spend a lot of Christmases with my family in Houston, Texas. Now, when people say that everything is bigger in Texas, they completely mean it. We always drive around when we’re down there at Christmas time and look at all of the insane lights and displays. If the weather’s nice enough where you live, you can hop out of the car and combine a winter walk and looking at lights into one!

9. Christmas caroling

This is a little specific, and I know that it isn’t for everyone, but I always love singing Christmas carols. Singing in general just makes me happy. However, if this isn’t your thing, you can always just listen to winter-y music in the comfort of your own home or listen to other people carol.

10. Family time

Finally, this is what the holidays are all about, and that’s spending time with the people you love. I use “family”  loosely because close friends (and pets) can also be considered family as well. You can do any of these aforementioned activities together or something completely different.

I hope you enjoyed these ten winter activities. Let me know which ones are your favorites or if you have any suggestions for what I should do this winter!

Love,

Emma xx

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Where to visit around the world

Hey, loves! Here’s another addition to my kind of travel series and a continuation of my suggestions for travel destinations.  I already did where to visit in the US , so here’s where to visit around the world. Granted, there are plenty of places I haven’t been too, but of the one’s I have seen, these are my suggestions.

Italy

All right, so eventually if you get to know me a little better, you’ll learn that I’m in love/obsessed with Italy. I’ve been lucky enough to visit twice. The first time, we were in Tuscany, and the second, the Amalfi Coast. I always half joke that one day I’m going to drop off the face of the earth and move to the Amalfi coast. But this is actually a real possibility for me.

Italy is just so full of culture and history. Every single cobblestone street is full of stories and incredible architecture. You’ll also drink the best coffee of your life there too. My love with espresso and coffee began in Italy actually. Additionally, there is amazing food to be had whether that’s a Margherita pizza, a seafood pasta dish, or gelato. I could honestly go on and on for ages about my love for Italy, but let me just give you a short list of my must sees/dos.

  1. Spello, Italy. It’s this tiny little town in Tuscany, and it will steal your heart in an instant.
  2. Anywhere on the Amalfi Coast. Look out for cafes with beautiful views of the Mediterranean and fresh seafood.
  3. Rome, Italy. Okay, so this seems like no-brainer but it still deserves a mention. I was lucky enough to go to Easter Mass at the Vatican, and even though I’m not religious, it was the most surreal experience.
  4. Pompeii. Another obvious choice, but it really is a breathtaking sight. My only suggestion is to go earlier in the morning when it first opens before it becomes overrun with tourists.

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Spain

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I’ll readily admit that I do not love Spain as much as I love Italy. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t think you shouldn’t visit Spain if given the chance. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to Barcelona, but I hope to go back and see more of the country. I’ll also admit I’m not the biggest fan of tapas. Don’t get me wrong, I like them, but I prefer big, fuller meals (aka Italian pasta). However, when in Spain, churros and chocolate are a must. You can thank me later. If you visit, I think you should definitely see:

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  1. Sevilla, Spain. This is a city south of Madrid with some amazing history. You should specifically walk around the mosque and the Alcazar de los Reyes (which has an amazing garden)
  2. Nerja, Spain. This is a small little seaside town that is very popular among British tourists. The beaches are all made up of these perfectly smooth white pebbles. When there or anywhere on the coast, definitely try Paella, a seafood rice dish that’s made with saffron. It is heavenly.
  3. Madrid. Another “duh” suggestion, but I specifically suggest seeing the Palace and walking through Retiro Park.

Vietnam

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This may seem kind of weird and out there, but for those who don’t know, I’m half-vietnamese. My mom came to the United States at the end of the Vietnam War, and we finally went back and visited about a year ago with all of my maternal-side of the family. While I don’t recommend going in the summer like we did (I don’t think I ever stopped sweating), I do highly recommend visiting because it’s so vastly different from the western world. Vietnam is a developing and communist country. The standard of living is much lower than that in the US, and while it’s heartbreaking to see the conditions millions of people live in, it’s similarly amazing to see how kind and generous everyone is.

We went all over the country when we were there, and thankfully, I was with people who spoke the language which made travelling so much a lot easier. It’s definitely possible to visit without knowing much or any Vietnamese. A lot of people do speak a little English. I can really only order my coffee and food and say the names of cities, and even when I wasn’t with my mom or someone, I managed alright. If you’re heading there, you should:

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

  1. Visit Ha Long Bay. Ha Long Bay is in the North, and honestly looks like something out of a fantasy world. (See above picture) We rented a junk boat, so we spent the night on the bay, visited a floating village, and kayaked among thousands of jellyfish.
  2. Eat a lot of really amazing food. No matter what city you’re in, there’ll be great food. For sure try pho and bun bo hue.
  3. Visit Hoi An. Hoi An is a small, more touristy town, but they are well-known for their tailors and ancient town. You’ll immediately fall in love.

Mexico

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Last but certainly not least, we have Mexico. We’ve been to Mexico several times, so I do have a few things you can do while you’re there. For reference, I’ve been to Mazatlan, Cancun, and Puerto Vallarta.

  1. Obviously spend some time on the beach and enjoy your vacation
  2. Eat tacos al pastor. This is where they shave the meat off of the spit, and it just tastes delicious.
  3. Go zip-lining. You can do this essentially anywhere but we zip-lined through an a agave farm, and it was really fun
  4. Eat mangos on the beach. Because Mexico is so touristy, there are a ton of vendors walking up and down the beaches selling everything from ceramics to food. You have to try mango on a stick with lime and Chile.
  5. Snorkel. Like every beach-y place, there’s a lot to see in the water too. Even though I haven’t personally been there, I’ve heard Akumal is the place to go for snorkeling.

Anyway, there you have it. That’s all of where to visit around the world. I know it’s a short list, and hopefully as I’m able to travel more, I can do some updated editions. Let me know if you’d like a more in-depth post on any of these locations or the trips I’ve been in and leave your travel suggestions below!

Love,

Emma xx

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What I’m Thankful For

Hey, loves. If you’re from the US, Happy Thanksgiving! If you’re from somewhere else in the world, the ideas behind Thanksgiving still hold true. Anyway, I just wanted to take a little bit to list out what I’m thankful for. I’ve read a ton of articles about how important it is to be grateful and keep a gratitude journal or list (I do have one but I always forget to write in it). While I’m not the biggest fan of turkey or stuffing, I do like that Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on our lives and let people know that we love them.

So without further ado, here’s what I’m thankful for.

  • My family and friends
  • My pets, Abby and Lily
  • Montana
  • My scholarship so I can attend college
  • Music (I’m loving Ocean Eyes by Billie Eilish. I found it after reading this blog post)
  • Coffee (and tea)
  • Obama (it was a good 8 years)
  • My phone + all of the apps on there
  • Cozy sweaters
  • Snow
  • Good food
  • Books
  • Netflix (especially with all the new movies they’re adding)
  • Three-way calls and FaceTime
  • Sleep

And lastly, my blog and all of you reading this or any other post. It’s been a good few months, and I can’t wait to see what more is to come. I hope you all have a wonderful day.

What are you thankful for?

Love,

Emma xx

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Five Things to do on a Sunday

Hey, loves. I just wanted to give you a short list of five things to do on a Sunday. I’m still usually doing on homework on Sundays (there’s no rest for a college student), but every now and then, I manage to sneak in a few hours for myself. Here’s what I do in those stolen moments.

  1.  Sleep in5 Things to do on a SundayLike I said, all I do is homework, and because I’m an architecture student, I stay up to all ridiculous hours of the night finishing projects. Sleeping in is so necessary or even just sleeping for at least 8 hours.
  2. A little pamper sesh5 Things to Do on a Sunday This activity falls under pampering yourself. I like to do a coconut hair mask, take a bath, and use a nice sugar scrub. For a hair mask, I just put plain coconut oil in my hair the night before, braid it, and then sleep on it. As for the sugar scrub, my skin is always super dry so exfoliating is super important. The sugar scrub I’ve been using lately is this lemon cream one. It was a gift from a friend, and it smells amazing
  3. Catch up on YouTube videos5 Things to do on a sundayI love my youtubers. BUT I also have a love-hate relationship with the vast majority uploading on Sundays. I love having the new videos to watch, but I hate during the week when I don’t have anything new to watch. Some of my favorites are Zoe Sugg (Zoella), Tanya Burr, the SacconeJolys, Audrie Storme, and Claudia Sulewski. (Of course there’s a ton more but these are who I most highly reccomend)
  4. Make a good dinner5 things to do on a SundayAgain with the kind of taking care of yourself theme, good and healthy food makes a world of difference. Pictured here is sauteed arugula, salmon, and mushrrom couscous. Yum yum yum
  5. Make a current mood playlist5 Things to do on a sundayI love making playlists, but I’m definitely someone who listens to like one or two songs on repeat for at least a week. My current playlist has The Head and The Heart, Billie Eilish, and Daniela Andrade. Daniela Andrade literally has the voice of an angel.

 

Anyway, I hope you all are able to take time this Sunday to do something for yourself. Is there anything you like to do on the weekends?

Love,

Emma xx

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Where to visit in the US

Hey, loves. I wanted to continue on with this travel kind of segment I’m doing. I decided to break up my travel suggestions to the United States and the rest of the world. Anywho, here are my recommendations of where to visit in the US.

1. MontanaMissoula, Montana

Alright, if you’ve read my Montana post or anything about me, you’ll know that I absolutely love my home state. I know I’m a little bit biased as a born and raised Montanan, but if you just take quick peek at my other post, you’ll understand why I so high recommend visiting here.

If you are able to make it, my favorite destinations and cities are Livingston, Missoula, Yellowstone National Park, and Glacier National Park. All of is breathtakingly gorgeous, but these are all must sees.

2. CaliforniaSanta Monica

La JollaOkay, so I know that this may seem obvious, but there’s a reason why Cali is so famous. There are so many beautiful scenes and towns all along the coast, and you’ll never be at a loss for something to do. I have family in the L.A. area, and I love visiting them for the beach and really good food.

If you’re heading there, check out Berkeley for great coffee shops and boutique shopping, Santa Cruz for the boardwalk and the beach, Lake Tahoe for either lake time or ski time, and of course, L.A.

3. OregonOregon

While I do like most of Oregon, I especially love the Oregon Coast. No, you won’t be able to jump in the Pacific Ocean (I mean, you can if you really want to but it’ll be cold), but you will find beautiful agates and equally beautiful cuisine. You’ll probably begin to realize that I’m heavily guided by good food.

Anyway, my favorite Oregon coastal towns are Bandon and Newport. While you’re there, you should also stop by Portland for the famous Voodoo doughnuts and to see all the “weird” residents.

4. HawaiiHawaii

Like California, this may seem like a no brainer, but I can’t stress enough how much I love Hawaii. I’ve only been to Maui, but I hope to go back and explore the rest of the islands sometime soon. Hawaii is paradise, and like many other places, there’s so much to do. When I was there, we went hiking, snorkeling, surfing, shopping, etc.

5. Texas

Kumquat Picking

Vietnamese Food

This is weird one, and I can only really talk about Houston, Texas, but I promise, I have a good reason for putting it on this list. And that really great reason is the food. I’m not going to pretend that Houston is gorgeous and scenic. It’s not. It’s a giant, busy city. The only thing to do there is shop at massive malls and eat. There happens to be a thriving Vietnamese (and Asian in general) community in Houston which translates to amazing food. You can find an infinite amount of small, hole in the wall restaurants that will serve the best food you’ve ever had all for a reasonable price. It’s completely worth the visit.

I hope you enjoyed this brief list of where to visit in the US. I haven’t spent much time on the East Coast or the Mid West, so I can’t really give many recommendations there, but I know there are plenty more great places to explore.

Have you been to any of these places? Where would you add to this list?

Love,

Emma xx

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Home is Wherever I’m With You, Coffee

Hey, loves. I just wanted to share an essay I wrote last Spring about coffee shops, and their significance in my life. I hope you enjoy this kind of long post. I hope you can either relate with your special place being coffee shops as well or maybe somewhere else completely. Anyway, here’s “Home is Wherever I’m With You, Coffee”.

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In a joking manner, I say, “There’s a fair chance I may just run away to Italy, open a cafe on the Amalfi Coast, and no one will hear from me again.” Although we laugh at the idea of abandoning all responsibilities and take a sip of our coffees, a hint of truth lingers. We talk about life, funny stories, and our friends while the espresso machine and chatter of others fill the background. The hours pass, and our drinks have sat empty on the table for a while, but we make no move to leave or order anything else. Instead, we sit, enthralled in our conversation about nothing. Even though we are not doing homework, being productive, or active, we are happy. We are happy because of each other’s presence, the coffee, the subtle buzz, and the atmosphere of the cafe. You may ask where are we? What is the name? Do they make pastries? When are they open? And the answer is we could be anywhere. The only prerequisite is coffee.

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The characteristic wind slams against me as I fight to the door of a small coffee shop in Livingston, Montana. This tiny place known as Coffee Crossing which boasts on their website “Livingston’s favorite cup of coffee…” is a favorite of everyone from middle schoolers ordering their sickly sweet marble mochas after school to adults grabbing the cheap, dark drip coffee to start the morning. The door sticks a little as I turn the handle, but with some force, it slowly opens up, welcoming me in with a subtle jingle from the bell hung on the door. The first sensation that hits is the warmth, a stark contrast from the gusts outside that leave my face a bright crimson and my hair a massive knot. The homey scent of coffee comes next. The bitter and sweet notes mingle in the air, creating an easily recognizable smell associated with long conversations with friends and relaxation. The barista calls out a sweet hello which is almost lost among the chattering of high schoolers and the sound of milk being steamed. After a short wait, I take my place at a small, square, cold, metal table and wrap my hands around the cup holding my coffee in an attempt to recover from the weather outside. A single sip brings heat back into my mind, the sharp taste embracing all my taste buds while simultaneously causing my brain to release dopamine, the chemical that controls pleasure in the brain (Mandal). I bask in the glow of my drink and the atmosphere until the door jingles, and a friend I have not seen in months enters. Greetings and hugs ensue, and we talk until the sun sets and are ultimately forced to depart.

Over five thousand miles away on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, I find myself in a cafe, my legs exhausted and begging for a rest after a long trek on cobblestone streets from a nearby town. The layout is simple. The majority of tables and chairs are placed outside to provide customers with a view of the blue waters and an optimal opportunity to people watch. Inside stands a simple counter with a cash register, a pastry case, and everything needed to craft the perfect cappuccino. I sit at an outdoor table looking out towards the Mediterranean Sea while my dad, the one to blame for my love of coffee, orders our cappuccinos inside at the counter. I am engulfed by the crashing of the waves, voices speaking a colorful and flowing language I do not understand, and the distinct steaming of milk. The sun warms me from the outside while the espresso drink warms me internally. Again comes the delicious bitterness and the dopamine. We sit for a couple hours, people watching and relaxing.

Even further away from my hometown, over seven thousand miles this time, the streets of Ho Chi Minh City bustle with seemingly billions of motor bikes that each hold anywhere from one to five precariously seated people. The honking and noise of traffic are inescapable. There is no silence in a city of eight million. We treacherously cross the street, praying to not be hit the entire time, and duck into a small cafe. Miniature plastic chairs and tables similar to the ones one might find in a preschool fill the tiny 10’ by 10’ box. A surge of confidence arises when I successfully order my iced coffee or “cà phê sữa đá” in Vietnamese without the help of my mom. While I wait, I continue to revel in the independence glow. Ordering my own coffee, something I love, on my own in a different language is a pivotal moment. I think to myself, “If I can navigate a different language, culture, and country semi-independently, I can handle college.”Although the sound is simply more unintelligible conversations and horns honking, there is an undeniable feeling of familiarity. The taste of coffee only confirms the inkling, and despite being far far away from Livingston, I am home.

Scientifically speaking, coffee has been proven to improve moods. A study from Andrew Smith, Rachel Clark, and John Gallagher, showed that coffee, especially when combined with eating breakfast versus not eating breakfast improved working memory, attention, mood, and cardiovascular function (1). A lot of research exists detailing all of the effects of coffee, and while I tend to ignore the articles stating it is bad for you, I still believe there exists something greater behind coffee than simply facts and numbers. Coffee is a bonding force. I do not drink coffee for the caffeine. I drink it for the taste, the feeling, and the memories it evokes. I drink it for the bond my dad and I share because of our mutual love. We critique coffee together, search for the best cafes on vacation, and discuss how to make the best latte art. This is our connection point.

According to the National Coffee Association, “Coffee grown worldwide can trace its heritage to the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau…where legend says the goat herder Kaldi first discovered the potential of these beloved beans” (“History of Coffee”). This strange bean drink has kept us awake for centuries all over the world. I am immediately bonded to anyone who shares my love, similar to the love for football or soccer. There is coffee is South America and in the United States. Coffee in Africa and in Europe. The poor and the rich both drink coffee. This export is what provides me with a feeling a home no matter where I travel in the world.

Alex Ebert, the lead singer of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Jade Castrinos, a former member of the band, croon in their hit song “Home”, “Home is wherever I am with you.”  While I do largely agree with this phrase, and I love singing along to the song, there are more places that can be home than simply where your loved ones are, unless you count coffee as a family member or a love. Home can be a physical location, a mindsight, an action, a feeling or emotion, or a person. My home is in Livingston, Montana, but it is also in every coffee shop or cafe I step foot into. My home is the small dorm room at the University of Montana, but it is also every cup of coffee I bring to my lips.

My official title at Gil’s, the local cafe where I spend my summers, was “front of house”. However, that truly meant I was a waitress, cashier, barista, and busser. However, not even the stress and chaos of the food industry could scare me away from my beloved coffee shops, an experience I am sure many others can relate to. Even amidst working over 40 hours a week, I still found myself in a coffee shop on my days off, sometimes with friends and sometimes alone. They are an escape from daily life, somewhere you can relax and truly be yourself. Everyone deserves to have their own place of contentment. For some this is in the ocean, their childhood home, etc. It is impossible to deny the happiness that bubbles up due to the barista’s hello and memory of your usual order. Nothing quite compares to enjoying a strong cup of coffee while reconnecting with people, working on a paper, or reading a book. Your bank account may not necessarily thank you, but your soul certainly will.

*  *  *

The colors of the sky begin to change to a fantastic combination of red, pinks, and oranges, and the barista begins to wipe down the tables, flipping the chairs upside down and setting them down on the table in preparation for sweeping and the next day. The buzz of conversation is gone besides ours. Long gone are the business professionals stopping in for a black coffee to go and the high schoolers gossiping about prom and boys. The scent of coffee of course lingers, but it comes time to leave the safe, warm haven of the cafe. We hug and make a few jokes about one day this will be me, closing up my own place and watching my last customers say goodbye. “You’ll have to come visit me in Italy,” I chime in, and then we part our different ways. The evening air is crisp but not cold. I begin the stroll home, the train horn sounding loudly. A mere block away, I sneak a final glance at the storefront, only to catch the lights disappearing. I continue my journey, humming, “Home”.

Home, let me come home.

Home is wherever I’m with you.

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Planning Your Next Adventure

Hey, loves. Like many millennials, I too suffer from wanderlust. I can blame it on my parents for prioritizing travel, but I do honestly believe that a large part of it is our generation. I was thinking about beginning a new kind of travel series on this blog which includes this post, “Planning your next adventure”, some of my life changing trips, my recommendations of where to go, and any general travel tips and tricks. Definitely let me know if you have any suggestions for posts.

I want to structure this post as me going through planning my next adventure (I’m just going to pick one possibility out of many). So let’s get into to planning your next adventure!

Where do you want to go?

In an earlier post about my bucket list, I listed a whole lot of places I either want to revisit or go to for the first time. One place I really hope to go back to soon is Italy. Two of my best friends and I have always talked about going to Europe together, and it would honestly be the most amazing trip ever. One of those friends is currently spending the semester in Spain, so we’ve been talking about for sure hitting Spain, Italy, and Germany (we all took German in high school). I was lucky enough to go to both Italy and Spain with my parents over the years, and now that I’m older, I want to re-explore the countries with new eyes and without the constant presence of family (not that I don’t love them and love spending time with them but you know what I mean).

As for you, where have you always dreamed of going? Maybe you want to go to South Africa or Egypt or you’ve always dreamed of seeing the Great Wall and the Imperial City. Maybe you want nothing more than to lay on the beach of some small, secluded island in the middle of nowhere. The world is your oyster, and the sky is the limit.

When do you want to go?

This is a wayyy more difficult step. Honestly, I don’t know when we’ll go to Europe because it depends on money, college, jobs, etc., etc. BUT I know that it’ll be in the next few years.

You may be able to set a concrete date like Summer 2018 or Spring Break 2019. It’s all highly dependent on your unique situation.

How are you going to pay?

Money is always a huge limiting factor in traveling. Plane tickets are always ridiculously expensive. I was thinking about trying to go to the east coast for spring break to visit a friend, and the tickets are around $600-$1000. Crazy, right? You also have to consider transportation in the country or the place you’re visiting and lodging costs. Plus, don’t forget food, entertainment, shopping, and all of that.

A lot of my trip depends on my friends’ financial situation, but you’ll still need to layout a kind of budget. This also means you will most likely need to save money. Look at how much it’s going to cost approximately, when you want to go, and how much you can save each month. Unfortunately, this may mean postponing your trip for a year or cutting out $5 lattes (so guilty of this).

Just don’t let money get in the way of your hopes and dreams!

Finalizing details

So I can’t speak much to this yet for my Europe trip, but I do want to highlight this step. As you’re planning your next adventure, and everything becomes more concrete, you can begin to finalize all the small details. This includes flights, other transportation, bookings for hotels, potential places to eat, stuff to do, and so on.

However, it’s really important to not try to plan out every minute of your trip. Allow for some spontaneity! It’s okay to deviate from your plan. In fact, that makes your trip even better. It’s often the unexpected experiences that make the history books.

Spanish Town

I hope this helps give you a rough idea for planning your next adventure! I will have more travel posts coming in the next few weeks/months. Let me know if you have any suggestions for posts or any tips that I didn’t mention!

Love you all lots,

Emma xx

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Five Ways to Make a Bad Day Better

Hey loves, I wanted to talk to y’all about bad days. This week, I had a few of these. I had so much work. Plus, I was just constantly exhausted which caused everything to tumble out of control. It’s impossible to avoid bad days, and most of the time, you just have to stick it out (I know it sucks but it’s the only way for it to end). I do want to share, however, five ways to make a bad day better. Even though it may not fix everything, hopefully, it’ll help a little.

  1. Watch your favorite movie/something that makes you happy.Love ActuallySo for this first step, I decided to watch Love Actually. Although I’ve seen it a gazillion times, it is still my favorite. I love it so much, and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It’s even on Netflix!
  2. Cuddle with someone/somethingCat cuddlesI definitely cuddle my cat the most out of anyone or thing, but you can also cuddle with your dog, a friend, your SO, a family member, or a stuffed animal. Giving and receiving some love makes things seem a little better and brighter.
  3. Drink something warm and cozy
  4. Do something that distracts you/gives you something else to focus onColoring and golden milkI know drinks aren’t typically described as cozy, but it’s the best adjective. My favorite warm and cozy drinks are hot chocolate, tea, and my most recent favorite, golden milk (pictured above). Golden milk is an Indian, turmeric drink. Here‘s a blog post all about the benefits of turmeric and how to make golden milk. Also, this coloring book is the Enchanted Forest coloring book by Johanna Basford (From Amazon here). Coloring has become wildly popular in the last couple years, and there’s no question why. It is so nice to sit down and simply focus on coloring in the picture and filling in all of the small details. It helps you take your mind off of your bad day and shift those thoughts to something calming and less stressful
  5. Last but not least, get some sleep.BedI know, it feels like your mind is going a million miles a minute, and you just need to dwell on every last detail. But one of the best things you can do for yourself is just get some rest. Like I said at the beginning, the only way to get through a bad day is to stick it out. Thankfully, sleeping makes that next day come a little bit sooner. It also helps ensure that the next day isn’t as bad either. Everything is better when you actually feel like you have enough sleep.

Anyway, I hope this helps someone somewhere. I know that I will continue to use all of these tips and hopefully some of yours.

What are your five ways to make a bad day better?

Love,

Emma xx

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