Posted in Coffee Break

Wanderlust: What To Do Before You Travel to China

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So, you’ve decided to make a trip to China! You’re so excited to go see some place new, but old all at the same time. There are some things that you need to be aware of before you go.
  1. PASSPORT!
I’m hoping because you’ve decided to travel internationally that you have looked into getting a passport. If you haven’t please start the process of obtaining one here. It can take weeks to months to get a new passport, and to renew a passport. If you have a passport make sure that it doesn’t expire within 6 months of you trying to go to China. Finally, make sure you have multiple pages remaining in your passport for the Chinese Visa.
  1. Chinese Visa
Check your local area for a consulate. If you don’t have a Chinese consulate then do another search for places that provide Chinese Visa services. Most places don’t have a Chinese consulate, but they do have satellite places that are able to do the visa for you. For example, here in Georgia we do not have an consulate. Houston has the nearest consulate, but the Houston consulate excepts visa from: AL, AK, FL, GA, LA, MS, OK, and TX.
  1. VPN

China has internet restrictions and many of your favorite social media accounts will not be accessible while you’re there. Also many websites will be blocked, even if you can get on them when you get there it is possible they will be blocked during trip. There are many subscriptions on VPNs ranging from a month to a year. It allows you to privately browse the web, so that nothing will be blocked. Do some research BEFORE you go. You CANNOT do this while you’re there.

  1. Voltage Converter and Plug Adaptor

Lastly don’t forget to get an voltage converter  and plug adaptor. North America mostly uses 110V while China uses 220V. Also the plugs are different in China than they are in North America, so your normal plugs won’t work. In my opinion it is easiest to get an all in one voltage converter and plug adaptor that way you only need on tool. You can then get a multi-plug to be able to plug in the rest of your electronics without needing a converter for every plug.

These are the top four things that I believe that you need before you go to China!! Does anyone have any other tips and ideas that you need to consider before you go to China?! Until next time,
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90s Born Reader
Posted in Coffee Break

Wanderlust: Pisa

Our next stop on our Italian adventure was visiting Pisa! I’m not going to lie, seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa has been on my bucket list for sometime. Seeing it in person was very different than what I ever could have imagined. Believing that hey, maybe the ground is on a slant, or maybe the foundation gave way. There was every intention of the building being straight, but somewhere the building became tilted. The Leaning Tower is actually a Bell Tower in the Piazza dei Miracoli that goes with the Duomo di Pisa in the plaza and two other buildings.
We had a fun time exploring the Plaza of Miracles, and of course we had to get pizza in Pisa. Check out our pictures below!
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A view of the plaza!
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We tried so many times to get the iconic picture of “pushing” the tower back straight. Let’s just say someone didn’t understand the concept….
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mmmmmm Pisa Pizza!! Yes we’re both taking pictures of our food. That’s what everyone really wants to see right?! Hahaha
Is Pisa a place that is on your bucket list? Until next time,
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90s Born Reader
Posted in Coffee Break

Wanderlust: Cinque Terre

 Cinque Terre or the English translation of “Five Lands” in Italian is just that. It is a chain of 5 islands on the Italian Riviera. We were able to easily get to Cinque Terre by taking the train from La Spezia to Riomaggiore, which is the farthest one of the five. People come from all over the world to view these, lets call them islands, to hike the seaside mountains, which are filled with trails for ever hiker experience level. All of Cinque Terre is also considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site through the Cinque Terre National Park. So, if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, and hiking experience where you could possibly get some wine along the way this place is for you!
The beautiful landscape and homes right on the side of the mountains is enough to take anyones breath away. There’s a lot more than just hiking through these lovely villages. There’s plenty to eat and drink like there is in any Italian city or villa. My mother and I had a wonderful time wandering through the trails, and checking out the beach. There were so many picturesque places that we were able to get the best scenery shots and selfies!! Here are some of our pictures below!cinque-terre-2
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Who knew my mother was such a great photographer?! Here I am with my favorite Kelly Moore bag that I travel with everywhere! You can see my review on this bag here
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We went during late September and early October meaning that it was cool in the mornings and then hot during the afternoons. Hence why I’m wearing long sleeves, but I’m also wearing shorts as well.
I never expected to add travel to this blog, so I did not get very many scenery shots of these beautiful villages, but of course you should go check them out for yourself.  Until next time,
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90s Born Reader
Posted in Coffee Break

Wanderlust: La Spezia

While on our tour of Italy last fall we stayed in La Spezia in order to get to Cinque Terre. We didn’t get to explore the small city very much, but we did have two fabulous dinners there. The city is beautiful and easily walkable much like every other Italian city. We stayed at Hotel Firenze, which had a delicious breakfast in the morning and a great balcony view of the city. Hera are some pictures of our limited time in La Spezia.
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This is the lovely hotel we stayed in La Spezia. The hotel is kind of small, and only has one tiny elevator, but luckily they have stairs and the floors aren’t too far apart.
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These are the pictures of La Spezia from the balcony of the hotel.
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Here’s a picture of the two of us enjoying one of those amazing dinners in La Spezia. Look at those wine glasses!!
We enjoyed our stop over in La Spezia, and it is the perfect place to stay to get to Cinque Terre as that is only a short train ride away. Come back soon to see my post on Cinque Terre to figure out why people from all over the world come to visit the rocky island cities! Until next time,
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90s Born Reader
Posted in Coffee Break

Wanderlust: Milan, Italy

The fashion capitol of Italy! Milano! We had a very short time in Milano, but we were able to take in the major sights in the day that my mom and I had there. Check out some of our pictures below!!
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My mother outside of the Duomo in Milan
Of course I took a selfie in Milan
Of course I took a selfie in Milan

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A picture of the full outside of the Duomo!

I did not actually like Milan that much. It reminded me of any major city in the United States, and I felt like I was missing where the fashion was because it did not look like a fashion capitol. I don’t know what I was expecting, but what I saw just wasn’t it. Don’t get me wrong the city was beautiful, and my mom and I enjoyed being on the walking tour that took up most of the day. It allowed us to see all of the major landmarks in the short amount of time we had.
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The Teatro Alla Scala was absolutely beautiful. I can only imagine seeing an opera performed on that stage.
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It doesn’t look like much, but this was actually my favorite tiramisu of the whole trip. Who would have thought my favorite would been on the first stop?
I guess I can’t say nothing good happened in Milan. It will always have a special place in my heart because it is the city my boyfriend sent flowers to to surprise me! Let’s just say we’re still dating lol
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I recommend everyone to travel. If you can find a way to make it happen, make it happen. If you have to work your butt off for a couple of months to take off a couple of days to see something new, do it! Visit Milan for yourself, take in the sights, and spend more time there. I really wanted to be able to explore, but the trip didn’t allow it. Have fun, get lost, but still take a map so you can get back. Until next time,
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90s Born Reader
Posted in Coffee Break

Wanderlust: Land Tours

This year, my mom and I did  a walking tour of Italy, which is something very different for us. We typically do cruises, or we’re in one city for a little bit of time. We decided to travel with a group, Traveling Together, which was good for us because it meant someone else was doing the planning for us once we got there. The leader of the group Barbara Spohn was phenomenal at keeping everyone together, and planning all of the tours, buses, and cities that we went to.
We had a blast because we were able to see so many places, and do so many things while on our trip that we probably would not have planned otherwise, or would have known what to do. The tour group also planned how much time we spent places, which was good because some places we didn’t need to spend a lot of time there though we probably would have thought that we should.
The cons of the tour is that you’re always moving, and you’re constantly packing and unpacking. I also was not mentally prepared for all of the early mornings that were involved. I’m used to cruising, where I get up late, and then lounge around all day. This, we were constantly on the move, which is not a bad things because I definitely felt like I saw everything that I needed to see. Often times we were also given a lot of free time in each city so that we could enjoy it by ourselves and not necessarily with the whole group.
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Overall I enjoyed my time doing the tour. If I did it again, I would make sure that I wasn’t in school, an also be mentally prepared for the constant moving. I would definitely travel with Barbara and Jim again on Traveling Together tours. They are very organized and they get things done. Until next time
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90s Born Reader
Posted in Coffee Break

Wanderlust: Carry On

As I might have mentioned before, I’m a bag lady. I have to have the perfect bag for any trip that I’m going on. Bringing the perfect bag(s) on the plane is no different.
While perusing Pinterest I stumbled on a bag by SoleSociety that I believe is just perfect for what I needed, and can be used for weekend trips in the future. The bag has a roomy interior portion, but isn’t too big. It’s also soft sided so it can be squished into tight places. The fun part is that the bag also has a bottom compartment that can carry another pair of shoes, clothes, makeup, whatever you want to be down there!
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Other than the perfect bag here are the other items I bring
  1. iPhone with charger
  2. Laptop with charger
  3. Important Documents (Passport, Wallet, and ID any tour tickets you planned ahead of time)
  4. Medications
  5. Camera
  6. Pens and Paper
  7. Gum
  8. Snacks
  9. Small blanket and eye mask
  10. Reading material
  11. Makeup (I like to keep this with me)
  12. Change of clothes (I always keep a spare just in case of lost luggage)
  13. Sunglasses
  14. Extra Items: wet Wipes, Tide-To-Go pen, Minimergency Kit, bobbie pins and hair ties, water bottle
On this particular trip through Italy, I had a lot of school work to do, so I also had my backpack filled with school work. I love my Northface backpack because even though it was filled it felt very light on my back.
Some of the items in the picture include a travel wallet, summer blanket, and passport cover all from MochiThings a really great website with a lot of nice travel things, and paper crafts!
What are some of your favorite carry on items? Until next time,
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90s Born Reader
Posted in Coffee Break

Wanderlust: Camera Bag

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Now, I cannot say that I am a professional photographer, but I do love taking pictures. I’ve always had a weak spot when it comes to camera gear, and getting a new camera. There is definitely a shelf in my house with the evolution of cameras. When you’re not a professional photographer you don’t need to pack the world with you. You just need to pack the equipment you absolutely need.  Also don’t forget the bag! I take all of my equipment in a Kelly Moore bag, so I look good while I’m touring!
Let’s start with the easy stuff. Your phone!
Smartphone cameras these days have amazing lenses and definition, and apps that can enhance the already beautiful picture that you have taken. Also if you’re taking pictures with your phone you’ll always keep track of it, so that you can take more. With the cloud it’s even easier to save your pictures, and not worry about losing them. Having your phone makes for quick and easy pictures, and don’t be afraid to take a selfie!
On your phone you can also text, post, tweet, instagram, flickr, what ever you want to do with your picture, immediately! Creates for instant jealous from your friends and family as they watch you on vacation. Keep your phone handy and ready to snap those moments.
Next on board for me is my DSLR Nikon D3300 camera.
It is a DSLR, which means that it is not a point and shoot, and it does have interchangeable lenses. I love this camera because is newer, unlike my Rebel Xsi, and it is also a lot lighter for a DSL. It also has some awesome features including an external plug in that allows me to send my pictures from my camera to my smartphone.
For this particular trip we’re going to be doing a lot of walking and going to a lot of different types of places, so I am traveling with 2 extra lenses on top of the one that came with the camera. I’ve got my “nifty fifty” lens and my 18-250 lens for when we’re out with landscapes.
As I said I’m not a professional photographer by any means, but I do like to try and have the equipment I need to be able to bring home memories of this amazing trip! Until next time,
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90s Born Reader
Posted in Coffee Break

EBags Packing Cube Review

*Everything that is in here is my opinion and I was not paid for any of it!*

When preparing for my cruise and trip to Rome I kept stumbling on these weird bags that help you to pack and keep you organized. Now that combines two things that I love to have and do, bags and organizing. So, I had to check them out. I watched countless youtube movies and moved from website to website, and read a whole bunch of reviews. When it came down to it they were inexpensive and came in pretty colors. I decided to try the set of 3 carrying size slim packing cubes, and 3 small ones. After getting the package it surprised me how small they were, realizing that I have never seen a comparison picture. But… I already loved them and was picturing them in my suitcase, which of course they match. I decided I loved them so much, and I had not gotten my best friend a graduation present (terrible friend), so I decided to get her a set of the 3-slim packing cubes (all the same size). I got hers in one of her favorite colors of canary, and decided that I needed another set of the 3-slim packing cubes.

It was difficult to tell what the sizes were like on the website, so I put a picture here. The slim cubes were about the width of a macbook pro, and the small cubes were the size of a hardback book.
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When it was finally time for me to pack I could already see how I was going to divide up all of the clothes I was packing. For my trip I was taking 2 suitcases; a medium sized checked bag and a carry on. I then decided to use the small and slim packing cubes, which were both blue, in my checked bag, and my green odd shaped bags in my carry on. Now I read many a packing list, and I am not a light packer, but I did my best to cut down on the amount of clothes I was bringing and leave out the “just in case” category. I saw my sleeveless shirts and dresses in one, my underwear and swim suites in another, shorts and workout clothes in another, and it was all coming together.

Placing them in my suitcase after they were all packed up was like magic. They took up no room in my suitcase, especially with the amount of clothes I was packing, and I even had an extra, small cube, which I tossed in just in case I bought anything interesting.

Taking them along with me was the best decision I have ever made when it comes to traveling, and I will be using them religiously. Being able to unpack my suitcase just by taking the bags out of my suitcase and tossing them in the drawers was amazing. Definitely get them, they’re affordable and worth it!! Until next time,

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90s Born Reader