Things I Love

Things I Love: New Beginnings

January 8, 2016
chicago sunrise skyline

Welcome to Things I Love, a roundup of some of my favorite things from throughout the week, including a special travel deal just for readers!

I’ve been working frantically this week to get all of my various projects in order, and have been thinking about what to eliminate and what to do more of. The start of a new year does this to us. There’s a need for cleansing and starting fresh. I don’t make resolutions, because I never keep them, but I did take a few days to think about goals for this year and the long-term.

Havana, Cuba photo with cars

Dreaming of Cuba!

When it comes to travel, I want to branch out a bit more. I did some pretty adventurous backpacking after college, but the past few years I’ve been mostly traveling around Europe. This year Cuba, India, and Namibia are high on my list. I also hope to get back to Jordan at some point, and will probably try to visit Italy, California, and a few other places in the US.

Wadi Rum Jordan backpacking

Petra, Jordan

Work is going well and I hope it continues and business grows, and I’m working on a side project with my friend Sarah, which hopefully will turn into a larger non-profit I can tell you about soon.

Personal goals for the year include taking Farsi lessons again (starting Monday!), studying Spanish again, taking the first level of the sommelier exam, and getting a draft done of a book I’m working on with my mom, and one I’m working on on my own. I’ve been missing my former career working with international development organizations, so I’m planning to spend some time this year volunteering in Chicago and abroad.

I’m also hoping to build stronger relationships with bloggers and travelers both in Chicago and around the world, so please reach out if you’re up for coffee or a drink! (Or trying out one of the 100+ restaurants on my never ending Chicago list). Speaking of, are you living in Chicago and part of WCBC? If not, you should join! It’s a great group of bloggers with lots of fun opportunities, like the annual holiday party you can read about here.

Articles I enjoyed this week include the annual NYT list of 52 Places to Go.  I’m so glad they included Malta! I went a couple of years ago and can attest it is wonderful. Let me know if you want recommendations!

This article from Bon Appetit on 6 Cocktail Recipes Everyone Should Know, and this one from Food & Wine on the best kale recipes. I think it’s funny when food becomes trendy. Last year it was beets, a few years ago it was brussel sprouts… But I do love kale and have been eating it all my life (thanks mom and dad!) so this one I’m excited about. These amazing photos of a fashion show in Afghanistan in the 1960s – gorgeous! And President Obama writing for the NYT on the need for gun control, because I think a lot of us are as frustrated as he seemed at the recent town hall gathering. Also, the 2015 Year in Photographs from White House photographer Pete Souza, one of my idols. And this more controversial profile in Vanity Fair, Blowhards, Beware: Megyn Kelly Will Slay You Now. Disclaimer: I do not agree with Megyn Kelly on 99% of her political opinions, but Evgenia Peretz is a brilliant writer and there are a few lessons here any woman could learn from.

Do you subscribe to My Morning Routine? One of my favorite newsletters for learning from inspiring and successful people by getting the insights on, you guessed it, their morning routines. Subscribe if waking up early and making time for yourself are part of your 2016 resolutions.

Blog crush of the week: Jennifer Claire Photography. A dear friend, a wonderful wedding photographer, and she just got engaged herself!

Book I’m reading: I have two for you this week. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon is one of the best things I’ve ever picked up, and I read it cover to cover (it’s very short) two days in a row. Minaret by Leila Aboulela is beautiful and thought provoking. It’s a story of love, corruption, and finding a sense of self in a foreign place. Wonderful.

Life lessons from Steal Like An Artist

Life lessons from Steal Like An Artist

Travel product I’m loving: My planner! If you’ve ever met me, you probably know that I am obsessed with my planner. It’s filled with everything from work deadlines to grocery lists to travel planning to things like ‘shower,’ as if I would forget to do that. I write everything down. It’s actually a little embarrassing at times. I’ve always struggled to find a planner that has the right amount of space and layout for what I need, until last year when I found Passion Planner. Never going back! Great for those who work while on the road too, as it has separate sections for work and personal to-dos.

Quote I’m thinking about: “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” -Paulo Coelho

And finally, the travel deals of the week! Use the link below to get up to 60% off at AHAVA–my winter skin savior.

End-of-Season Sale: Up to 60% OFF! No code needed. Ends 1/11.

And, Hello World is offering Curiosity and a Carry On readers amazing deals on 3 and 4-star hotels!

Shop Helloworld’s New Year Hotel Sale! 3-star from $50*, 4-star from $95*, 5-star from $130*. Valid Jan 9th – January 23rd. Conditions Apply

And, a deal from Last Minute Travel, just in time for a winter getaway!

Use promo code WT35 and get $35 OFF your winter vacation!
Lastly, a reader informed me that while she and her family were traveling through Beijing, their portable chargers were confiscated at the airport. I’ve promoted these in the past and can’t live without mine, and have never had a problem traveling with them anywhere, but apparently they cause issues in China so if you’re traveling there you might want to leave them at home. And thank you to Marilou for letting me know!

Have a great weekend! If you’re traveling anywhere, don’t forget to share your packing photos with me on Instagram using #InMyCarryOn. 🙂

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