The European packing list!

The goal was to fit two weeks’ worth of possessions into my backpack and have a little room left over for souvenirs and anything else I might pick up. I knew we’d have access to a washing machine at least twice during the trip so I packed accordingly. This may not seem like a lot of clothes but you’d be surprised how a few outfits can last.

  • 8 unmentionables (I meant to take 7 but somehow an extra stowed away)
  • 4 short-sleeve shirts
  • 2 tank tops
  • 3 day dresses
  • 2 cardigans
  • 1 rain jacket
  • 1 pair of capris
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 belt
  • 1 pair of sandals
  • 1 pair of flats
No shorts, you may ask? I don’t have any at the moment that aren’t running shorts, and those didn’t make the cut. I figured the dresses would suffice, and they did. I have a new love for day dresses! I felt comfortable in them the whole time, except when we were climbing circular staircases in domes and the like – then I had to be careful to not flash anyone! Mildly awkward. Hug the walls.

As for makeup, I tried not to take the whole bathroom sink but I didn’t want to feel like I was lacking the whole trip. So below is the carefully curated list of what I took. And believe me, I could’ve taken MUCH more! Did I use it all? You bet.
  • Foundation
  • Primer, both face and eye
  • 2 eyeshadow palettes: Urban Decay Naked and Urban Decay Smoked
  • L’Oreal Infallible eyeshadow in bronzed taupe
  • 1 blush
  • Illuminator
  • All-over face setting powder
  • Bronzer
  • 3 pencil eyeliners (2 blacks and a brown)
  • Eyebrow gel/powder
  • 1 mascara
  • Eyelash curler, duh
  • Accompanying brushes (I think I took 6)
Other odds and ends
  • Hairbrush
  • Flatiron
  • Power converter, since my flatiron wasn’t dual voltage
  • 2 plug adapters
  • Cell phone charger
  • iPad charger + iPad
  • Jewelry!
  • Glasses that I never used but you never know when you might tear a contact
  • Plenty of toiletries (when I took the bag out to go through security, the TSA guy asked, “Maam, are those all yours or are you sharing with him?” I was like, “Uh… sharing?” So I got to keep all of them! En route to Central America, TSA had me throw away three of my travel bottles. Because my hairspray is a real security threat.)
  • Important docs like the passport, a copy of the passport, printed directions to each of our accommodations, debit card, credit card, and insurance card.
  • An Italian phrase book
And that was it! Everything fit in my pack so I didn't have to poach any of Mark's free space. As for what I would've done differently: I overpacked a little when it came to clothes. I didn't wear one of my tees at all, and I could've taken one less tank. I could've done with another pair of shoes, but then again, who couldn't? ;) I also went for cute shoes over comfortable shoes and my feet were NOT happy at the end of the trip. But you know what they say... beauty over pain, and fashion is uncomfortable!

We have returned!

After a hectic and fun two-week vacation to Europe, we have returned! We're back to work per usual and I haven't had a chance to sort through the tons of pictures we took. It feels good to be back home though, even if I have to be at work! My body seems to be adjusting to the time change fine, though I think it still gets confused when I eat at new meal times. Speaking of, it's time for lunch. But I'll be back with pictures!

Labor Day Camping and Rafting

Breakfast on Monday morning.
We went camping last weekend near Naches, which is about a half hour or so northwest of Yakima, in central Washington. We took our chances with first-come first-serve camping because, unlike two years ago, the campground wouldn’t let us reserve only one night on a holiday weekend – the minimum stay was three nights. After much beating around the bush with the campground and the service that runs all the reservations for all Washington campsites, they finally told me that they wouldn’t bend the rules and give us a site for the night, even though there were sites available.

So we gambled and drove out Sunday afternoon, crossing our fingers that there would be a site available. I must admit… I was doubtful. Beautiful holiday weekend + one of the last weekends of summer = lots of people. But there was ONE unreserved spot at the first campsite we checked! There were also a couple of spots that had placards saying they were reserved for five days but the sites were empty, no campers in sight. So being the go-getters that they are, the guys went to the camp host to ask why those spots were empty. I can’t speak for how other campgrounds are run, but this camp host told us that if the campers didn’t have any of their stuff at their reserved site, especially in the middle of a multi-day reservation, then it was available to campers who needed it. So we got a prime spot next to the river without a reservation!

Skipping rocks across the river.
Since we couldn’t have a campfire, we prepared all our food in advance. We brought sandwiches, others brought Subway, and others brought a pasta salad. I think that’s the first time I’ve been camping without a campfire and I missed the warmth! We told scary stories (ok, Mark told a scary story) around a Nalgene lit up with a flashlight and it just wasn’t the same.

The next day we went rafting on the Tieton River through River Recreation, a company I’d totally recommend. They outfit you with wetsuits, booties, helmets, and life vests and send you on your merry way down the river, with a guide of course! I’d forgotten how technical the river is – lots of rocks to navigate – but our guide was stellar. I'm really disappointed I didn't get a picture of us in our wetsuits – as you can imagine, they were super attractive. ;) Not. Maybe it's a good thing I didn't get a picture!
Self portrait of the crew since we couldn't find anyone to take
our picture!

#92: Randomly meet a celebrity

I look way more thrilled... ha.
I finally, FINALLY got to meet a celebrity yesterday in a chance encounter at a FedEx office. Not only is he a Sounders player, he also happens to be the CAPTAIN. Oh yeah. That just happened.

So here’s the story. I was standing in line at FedEx waiting to pick up a print job (this sounds like a FedEx commercial) and I saw a guy standing off to the side filling out some shipping paperwork. I caught a glimpse of his profile and thought OH MY GOODNESS that looks like Mauro Rosales. But then he turned his back to me (how dare he) and I couldn’t get another glimpse of him without being a total stalker. So I continued in line and picked up my print job, but during that wait I became convinced that I needed to figure out whether he really was Mauro because if he was, there was no way I was missing this perfect opportunity. PLUS I just happened to have my camera in my purse. So I did what any normal person would do and lingered near the front of the store and pretended to “browse” while keeping him in my sights (stalker much?)

Finally I just decided to bite the bullet and walk over to where he was, but let me tell you, that was a hard decision. There wasn’t really any place to browse or look normal where he was standing, so as soon as I was over there, it would be quite obvious that I was checking him out or something. But I figured, meh, if he’s not Mauro Rosales then I’ll just run away and never see him again (no shame!) and if he IS Mauro Rosales… well, I’d cross that bridge when I came to it. So I walked over and kind of rounded the corner of the kiosk where he was standing and caught his eye… and as soon as I did, it was very clear he was indeed who I thought he was. And then I had to say something because I was standing so awkwardly between him and a wall.

“Hi… are you Mauro Rosales?” (DUH.)

He answered affirmatively and was super sweet about the whole encounter, which is what I was most nervous about because you never know if people don’t want to be bothered or are going to be jerks or something. I told him my husband and I had season tickets and were big fans and blah blah blah (I really don’t remember what I said, I got so flustered) and he thanked me for the support and blah blah blah (again… don’t really remember). So then I pulled out my camera and asked if we could please take a picture. He said sure, but will my husband get jealous? I said, oh believe me, only jealous that I got to meet you and he didn’t! So he flagged down a FedEx guy who took our picture. And then I thanked him and tried to act cool and went back to my office, where I couldn’t stop blabbering about it for the next half hour. My lucky co-workers.

S'mores cookies!

We're going camping with some friends this weekend in central Washington and rafting the Tieton River on Monday, the same trip we did two years ago. Car camping means an opportunity to bring great snacks and since we can't have a campfire this year because of a burn ban, I found a recipe for S'mores cookies since we couldn't build them over an actual fire. These are definitely second best to real S'mores, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

So how do you make them? You're killing me, Smalls! ;)

I found the recipe here and used chocolate chunks instead of mini chocolate kisses, and used the standard mini marshmallows instead of the Mallow Bits the author recommended. I looked for the Mallow Bits because they seem perfect for baking (they're much smaller) but I couldn't find them! Sadness. Regardless, the cookies were still gooey and tasty.

Oh and a hint: use the parchment paper. I didn't have any so I thought, meh, how bad could it be? VERY BAD INDEED. I left the marshmallow encrusted cookie sheet in the sink to soak after the first round and tripped off to Safeway for some parchment paper. The second round went much better.