Although Big, A Diaper Bag Isn’t A Cool Big Purse

I love purses, both big and small. Purses are like shoes- you always feel good buying them. Purses do not make one feel fat or thin, they just make one feel great!

After Emma was born, I “upgraded” to the obligatory diaper bag. Like a purse, this bag went everywhere with us. The diaper bag also made a statement- sadly, the statement was less “fabulous and prepared for anything” (big purse) and “sexy and carefree” (small purse).The statement was more “here I come with a screaming, needy infant”.

Emma screaming Although Big, A Diaper Bag Isnt A Cool Big Purse

No wonder no one wanted to sit next to us on airplanes…

No matter how well I thought I stocked that bag, I was always missing something. There were a few things I always had on hand, though- other than the diapers… the wine opener, and travel size bottles of vodka. In the three and a half years of carrying that diaper bag through airports, I have never ever been stopped for the adult items. Her bottles, sippy cups, and stuffed animals have been scanned, searched, and patted down to assure TSA that my child is not, in fact, a terrorist. The only reason I can come up with is that the TSA agents are parents as well, and they understand that air travel with a small child can bring out the terrorist in all of us, and they were actually preventing any incident by allowing me to self medicate (also, maybe they too are sick of the inflated airport prices for a drink).

For Christmas, my darling, wonderful husband gave me a new purse. (It’s amazing how good he is at picking out gifts clicking the link I emailed him!) This new purse is smaller, and a little sassy, if I do say so myself.

kate spade purse Although Big, A Diaper Bag Isnt A Cool Big Purse

Kate Spade Knightsbridge Elena
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The best and worst thing about this purse is its size. It accommodates all of my things easily; and it is easy to find things- no more black holes! It is not big enough for iPads and water bottles though… My chiropractor is thrilled- no more stabbing pains on the left side of my body! (I think he is also a little disappointed as I was a large revenue source!) I am going on a trip in the next couple of weeks, and as much as I love my new shiny purse, I don’t think it will make the trip. Too small.

Big Or Little?

Big or little? The answer is almost always BIG. Bigger is better- look at Texas: they have made Going Big a way of life! Also, diamonds come to mind when discussing the merits of big vs. small. Now, a few things are better small: butts (for the white girls anyway!), debt, and areas needing to be cleaned.

Generally, I always go for Big. Go big, or go home has been a personal declaration for me.

Big or little was never question for me when it came to purses- BOTH! Hey- like shoes, a girl can never have enough handbags!

I love the functionality of a large purse. Also, with more real estate, there is more of the bag to be seen, and therefore, more chances others will see the awesomeness of the bag.

I love the mystic of small bags. There is something undeniably sexy about only needing a credit card, an ID, and lipstick for an evening out.

My sister, who is all things fabulous (that’s what a well paying job, no mortgage, no kids, and a great sense of style will get you) came to visit and brought with her the most amazing bag EVER. (Disclaimer: the most amazing bag that does not require one to sell a kidney.) I HAD to have this bag. Thankfully, she agreed to buy one for me and send it. In return, I agreed to let her have hers back.

lamb williamsfield printed tote Big Or Little?

Love! Thanks Jen!
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This bag was GREAT; I could fit EVERYTHING into it. Laptop and iPad? Yup. Bottle of water, gum, mints, and Diet Coke? Yes. Thirty six assorted lipsticks and glosses (am I the only one whose purse is a black hole for lip care products?) plus eyelash curler and all purpose lip/cheek/eye shimmer? You betcha. While on a trip to Chicago, I had (at any given time) water, a bottle of wine, the camera + carrying case, and a tour book… not to mention the standard purse things like sunglasses, wallet, and iPhone. My husband claimed he didn’t like the bag, I suspect it had more to do with the amount of time he spent carrying it because it was too heavy for me than the actual design. I think that men are secretly jealous of the capacity of a purse- while men’s pockets are bigger than women’s, pockets do have their limitations. Exhibit A: the man bag…

In The End, I Got My Bubble Bath…

My relaxing, child free bubble bath had taken a turn and was no longer relaxing.

To recap the scene: foam bubbles flying everywhere, jets hissing, Thomas yelling, and me laughing hysterically. Thomas leapt across the room in a vain attempt to stop the madness. I was very helpful, reminding him to be careful on the slick tile floor. He was not very appreciative of my concern for his safety. We had to accept that we could not fix this nightmare on our own, no matter how hard we tried, or how many towels we used.

Remember, we were already on best behavior because this hotel was so fabulous and so out of our league, so calling downstairs was not tops on our list. After a very intense thirty seconds, the jets turned themselves off again. Relieved, we finished getting ready, grabbed our coats, and headed for the door.

t j savannah1 In The End, I Got My Bubble Bath...

Out On The Town!

HHHHHIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSS! As Thomas opened the door, the jets went off again. I kid you not. I cannot make this stuff up. More shrieking (Thomas), laughing (me) and running around trying to scoop up bubbles and throw into sinks/shower (both of us)  followed… for thirty seconds. The jets shut themselves off again. Uncool or not, we decided this problem was bigger and more complicated than we could handle. Pride in our hands, we informed the concierge that we had been outsmarted by our bathtub. She was very nice, and mostly successful in hiding her giggles. She assured us the problem would be taken care of and apologized for the inconvenience.  (I know, it was a classy place!)

Upon returning that evening, the bathtub had been fixed. And, in the end, I did have a relaxing bath!

Bubbles, Bubbles EVERYWHERE

While on a recent weekend getaway to Savannah, I found myself in a hotel room that contained The World’s Best Bathtub.  Of course, I took a marvelous bubble bath. I soaked in the tub, ensconced in bubbles, sipping wine and judging the Kardashians.  I hit the jets several times to keep the bubble level high. It was wonderful. (And quiet.)

 

Right before I got out of the tub, I hit the jets one last time for one last shot of bubbles… and then I could not get the jets to turn off. The mountain of bubbles was growing exponentially. I stood up and pushed the iPad to safety, while yelling NO NO NO STOP STOP NO NO STOP! (If my own child doesn’t listen to me, I don’t know why I thought a piece of machinery would.) In a flash of brilliance, I plunged my hand to the bottom of the tub and pulled the plug. As the tub began to drain, the jets magically switched themselves off. I gave them a stern talking to, and jumped into the shower (I had to wash all those bubbles off), thankful that Thomas was with his buddy and were not around to witness my epic mechanical failure.

As it turns out, I had congratulated myself way, way too quickly. Twenty minutes later, I was dressed and in the bedroom, putting make up on. Thomas was in the bathroom, tying his tie. Suddenly, the jets again turned themselves on! Foam bubbles, a la Cancun Spring Break Foam Party style started flying around the room.  In case you didn’t know, bathtub jets make a horrible hissing noise when they are turned on and not under water. I would not recommend trying this at home. In fact, I would not recommend trying it at all! Luckily, I was very relaxed, so I was able to see the humor in the situation. I don’t think Thomas did…

nightmare bubble bath Bubbles, Bubbles EVERYWHERE

Emma Will Not Eat Tofu (Not That I Blame Her)

My daughter, Emma is absolutely adorable (even strangers tell us, so we assume it is not just us). However,  she has her moments.  As of late, there have been more and more of these moments.  While I was pregnant, I connected with several old friends who were also pregnant at the same time. We commiserated together, moaning about aches and pains, whining about swelling, and swapping recipes to satisfy food cravings (oatmeal cake mix PBJ bars? YES PLEASE!). But now, when I go on Facebook, I see only beautiful, clean children.  These children are always smiling and according to their mothers, these children always say please and thank you and never ever have meltdowns.  Their vacation pictures portray smiling children on the beach, whereas our family vacations have A LOT of tears… from all parties involved. Seriously, traveling with a child is one of the most stressful things I have ever done!

family fun Emma Will Not Eat Tofu (Not That I Blame Her)

 These mothers say that their children eat everything that has been put in front of them, including- but not limited to- every vegetable you have ever heard of. That is the one thing that irritates me the most.  I know these mothers are lying when they claim that their homes are meltdown-free zones, however, I find myself buying into their claims about their toddler’s eating habits.  Steamed tofu with a side of brussel sprouts? For real? I wouldn’t put that in my mouth, let alone ask my three-year old to eat that. Which is a good thing; because I can assure you we would have an epic fit on our hands!

tofu Emma Will Not Eat Tofu (Not That I Blame Her)

My child exists on a diet of apples, strawberries, cheese, hot dogs, popcorn and PBJ (on multigrain bread- give us some credit!)- We tell ourselves it is very “French” in that she is making a meal out of fruit and cheeses. So far she appears none worse for the wear.  Recently, Emma started a more formal day care that provides hot meals at lunch for the kids.  Thomas and I are thrilled! This is the first exposure she has had to hot food that did not come from the grill and is not frozen pizza. She is less than thrilled, and has no idea what to do with things like casseroles, potatoes, rice, and broccoli. Tonight we made pancakes (I have not made pancakes in at least ten years), and she was amazed that Mommy knew how to make them!

emma baking Emma Will Not Eat Tofu (Not That I Blame Her)

Mommy does have a few tricks up her sleeves. However, she does not have the tricks that it would take to get Emma to eat steamed tofu, but if anyone does, I will be checking Facebook . You can message me; I won’t tell anyone that your toddler isn’t perfect!

Long Distance Love, Or How I Made Thomas Think I Was Perfect

So, I married my third boyfriend. (I am not counting my forgotten boyfriend; he sucked.) Like all things Julia’s Math, the road was not always straight, wide, and freshly paved, but I knew within two days of meeting Thomas that I would marry him. I know everyone says that, but I really did know (he, however, was not as certain). Unlike everyone else who says “I just knew I would marry him, it was so magical and wonderful and blah, blah, blah,” I am not saying I thought it was a good idea (I do now, of course!), as I mentioned, not only were we opposites of each other, but he was the opposite of what I thought I wanted. When I met him, I was 23 and just out of college, he was 35 and divorced …

fork in the road Long Distance Love, Or How I Made Thomas Think I Was Perfect

First of all, we lived a thousand miles away from each other. So, as most couples go to dinner and a movie, or out for drinks or to a baseball game to get to know each other, we would, instead, have to do things a little differently. Those thousand miles meant that rather than spending a few hours together, we would spend a few days together. Our ‘first date’ was thirty-six hours. I still remember buying that first plane ticket, my mouse arrow hovering over the ‘buy’ button on American Airlines. Not to sound overly dramatic, but it was one of those ‘Fork In The Road’ moments. I had a choice to make, and the ramifications of this choice would be life changing.  I had to choose to go to visit Thomas,  or not to go.  This was one of those roads were staying straight and ignoring  the entire situation wasn’t an option. Of course, I went, and had a great time.

fake1 Long Distance Love, Or How I Made Thomas Think I Was Perfect

Not Yet…

As anyone who has been in a long distance relationship will tell you, it is a very strange beast. It is very easy to put on a pretty face, or rosy colored glasses, or whatever reality altering accessory you want when you are in a long distance romance. For the forty-eight hours each month I spent with Thomas, I was a girl who did not watch her diet, who could afford to go out for dinners and drinks, who did not work out, who LOVED sushi, and who did not read while in the bathroom (shut up you do it too).

abscense Long Distance Love, Or How I Made Thomas Think I Was Perfect
In reality, I work out every day, watch what I eat, don’t really care for sushi, and I hate football (I live in the South, deep in SEC country, and I might have just risked my life!).

sec Long Distance Love, Or How I Made Thomas Think I Was Perfect

And, eventually, the truth had to come out… stay tuned…

And Then My Life Died

Everything was perfect- K and I were so in love, and so happy, and just the picture of a Lifetime movie about Finding Love In Unexpected Places. And then, everything changed. One Friday in December, I got to work and called K. I couldn’t get him on the phone, which was weird as I could always count on him to answer the phone.  The day went on, and K still wasn’t answering his phone.  On Friday I was worried. On Saturday, I was pissed. By Sunday, I was levitating. You know that saying, “Hell Has No Fury Like A Woman Scorned”… That? Is a gross underestimate. 

no answer And Then My Life Died

He finally answered the phone Sunday afternoon.  He at least had the decency to be somewhat sheepish about his lack of communication. I demanded answers.  He first tried to placate me with stupid BS excuses, but as I am not blind, stupid, or newly born that strategy did not work. He then tried being defensive. Why was I calling so much? That did not end well for him either. 

Finally, he told me what had happened.  He and his ex-fiance were going to try again.  WTH?! Seriously? Remember, I already mentioned I was  young and impressionable. I also had convinced myself that I NEEDED this relationship to work out.  Empowered, independent women were turning out to be greater on paper than in real life.  I had believed him when he told me that he was done with her, that he felt nothing for her, and that the wedding would have been a huge mistake.  I needed to believe him when he told me how much he loved me, and that he was so excited for a future together.

dear john letter And Then My Life Died

His third option was to let me rant. And rant I did. 

 I demanded to know HOW this had happened because he told me that he never saw her.

I demanded to know WHY he told me things that were LIES.

I demanded to know what he was going to do to fix it, to fix me, to fix the unbelievable anger, pain, and loss of both a dream and of my rose colored glasses.

Also, what kind of COWARDLY mamby-pamby IGNORES frantic phone calls for THREE DAYS?!

Also, what jack ass waits to break up with his girlfriend when she is at work? This guy.

I worked for Nordstrom at the time, which is a store famous for its attention to its customers.  We had very strict rules for what was appropriate on the sales floor.  That Sunday, I broke every single one of them. I was a one woman s*** show. I was so scary that I did not get in trouble, I was simply asked to ‘please take my conversation outside’. I remember walking outside, in the snow, without a coat, for half an hour screaming.  I was so out of my mind that the crazy homeless people were running away from me. 

nordstrom And Then My Life Died

Of note: screaming, name calling, and crying are not encouraged. (No matter how much someone might deserve it.)

As I write this, I am attempting to put into words how angry and betrayed I felt (ten years later), yet words alone are not doing it justice. Also, I am getting mad all over again!

 

the dramatic ending tomorrow… I get mad, but do not break any stalking laws

 

Six On Sunday (Even though it is Monday. Again.)

1. Technology Issues. Nothing will bring someone to their knees faster than a tech FAIL.  I have pissed off the tech gods in a previous life and am currently paying the price. It is a very steep price, and I wish I knew what I did because I would really like to atone for my sins.

error Six On Sunday (Even though it is Monday. Again.)

2. The Heat Wave.  It’s really hot. It was really hot in the pool- 92 degrees… which isn’t at all refreshing, even when the air temperature is 107 in the shade.

3. Basketball Wives. You know me and my trashy reality television addiction.  I finished up Mob Wives, and to date there is only ONE season, so I am anxiously waiting for the fall television season to start.  In the interim, I discovered Basketball Wives on Netflix.  The biggest irony: the only one who is married is filing for divorce.  The show SHOULD be called Basketball Ex-Fiances. Greatest quote so far: “Oh no. He better be coming at me with something better than THAT. I had eleven karats last time.”

11 karats Six On Sunday (Even though it is Monday. Again.)

very similar to mine…

4. The Today Show.  I loved you for ten good years, and then you had to go and put Ann Curry on.  You forced my hand, and I left.  What other choice did I have? I wasn’t on the market long and I found Good Morning America.  I wasn’t totally sold, but what other choice did I have? I tuned in this morning to Today.  I was so excited to watch Savannah and Matt, and so so happy Ann wouldn’t be anywhere near the set.  And ….sniff… Today, I had to turn you off.  What happened?! We totally have lost that loving feeling.  I cannot say that I am head over heels in love with GMA, but I think that my break up with Today is Forever. Unless it is the Olympics, and then I am a slave to whatever channel (in this case, NBC) is ‘hosting’ the Games…

ann curry Six On Sunday (Even though it is Monday. Again.)

today Six On Sunday (Even though it is Monday. Again.)

 

 

   

 

 

5. Skinny Pop.  OMG do you KNOW about this stuff?! It is AMAZING! For those who don’t know, it is popcorn that has 39 calories per cup. Skinny Pop has a limited distribution, (Publix, you failed me for the first time.  I hope it is the last.)  and is available at TOTAL WINE! Total Wine is the candy store for grownups. Any excuse to go is a WIN in my book, and now I have another reason to wander its hallowed ground, accepting recommendations for all kinds of delicious wine.

skinny pop Six On Sunday (Even though it is Monday. Again.)

6. Home Sweet Home. After seven days and 1700 miles, I am glad to be here.

Six On Sunday (I know it’s Monday, Shut UP!)

Painting.  I am not really a big fan of painting. Problem is, I am a big fan of the nice, freshly painted look and so I found myself this weekend with a paint brush and a container of paint. After almost five years of trying to convince me that we needed new doors, my husband finally won. And he was totally right. (Love you honey!) Our old doors were really ghetto. We had our hard wood floors refinished five years ago, and the doors were still at the carpet height they were all two inches to short. (Young readers: this is a life lesson.  Perseverance does pay off!) Thomas hung the doors, and in the spirit of wanting to help out, I volunteered to paint them.  In a complete and total Julias Math moment, I found that I could only use the smallest paint brush because the large one was to heavy when filled with paint and made my hand cramp (Oh, well, now your back’s gonna hurt, ’cause you just pulled landscaping duty. Anybody else’s fingers hurt?… I didn’t think so.) (Oh Happy Gilmore, I love you!) Small brush equals s-l-o-w progress… and makes a painful chore more painful.

happy gilmore Six On Sunday (I know its Monday, Shut UP!)

 

 Packing. We are leaving for a week. Packing for myself is a nightmare, let alone myself and a three-year old. Thank goodness Thomas is self sufficient.  We practically need a moving van for all of our crap.

 suitcases Six On Sunday (I know its Monday, Shut UP!)

Road Trips. Blah. Not a fan. Thank you Sweet Jesus for head rest DVD players. And the mifi wireless card.

The Internet.  I have a mifi card, which turns me into a hot spot (you totally already knew that!)- a mini wifi zone.  We are able to stream Rush from Atlanta the entire way to St. Louis, instead of trying to find a local station and dealing with all the static.  Depending on who you are, this is a very good or a very bad thing!

internet Six On Sunday (I know its Monday, Shut UP!)

Extreme Temperatures.  It is stupid hot. In college, I had my TV set to Local on the 8s, and if it was legitimately below zero, my roommate and I did not attend class…. Kind of missing the cold right now…

cold Six On Sunday (I know its Monday, Shut UP!)

Terrible Service. I need some guidance on this. I have never been a waitress (and my career as a babysitter was rather limited), so I have never depended on tips.  I have many friends who have, and even ten to fifteen years later they remain bitter over poor tippers.  I get it that it is so important, and I tip accordingly- usually 20%. This weekend, I experienced some of the worse service I have ever had to endure.  We tried to order from the  bar, and were refused because we weren’t planning on staying at the bar. We were assured that someone would be right with us.We waited at least fifteen minutes for someone to even acknowledge us. We did get our drinks, and then waited another thirty minutes to order another round. If attitude is everything, then we were a total waste of our server’s time, because her attitude convyed to us that she was surprised we could tie our own shoes and walk and chew gum at the same time.  So, my question is what appropriate? No tip doesn’t seem right, so that’s not an option. Can one tip 10% as a tip is supposed to be a reflection of the service one receives?

 

Packing: Why I Always Have the Largest Bag at the Baggage Claim

Packing.  Oh how I HATE YOU.  The worst part of any vacation—even worse than the pile of crap that is inevitably waiting for you on your desk—is still better than packing (not to mention its ugly sister, Unpacking). I recently tagged along with my husband to Barbados for a few days (Thank you honey! Sometimes there are SOME perks to an otherwise ‘challenging’ job!)).  If you had seen my luggage, you would have guessed that I was leaving the country for several WEEKS, not DAYS.  (I was prepared for fancy dinners, causal lunches, pool side/beach lounging (drinking fruity drinks) and day adventures into town. I also had lounging clothes, gym clothes, PJs, and beach wear. And some backups in case I hated what I had packed for each activity. Hey, I was a Girl Scout!) In a rare case of “beating the system,” I avoided baggage fees by volunteering my husband to transport my suitcase on the airplane he was flying. As you might imagine, I was thrilled. It did however cause a lot of confusion for TSA and customs. (“Ma’am did you forget your luggage?” No, thank you.  “Are you sure?” Yes, I would remember if I had a bag. Really? AGHH!) He also was volunteered for the snacks, wine, beer, and straw hat that I had packed. He wasn’t complaining later when he was drinking free beer, though, I promise you that!) My husband was also volunteered to bring his co-pilot’s girlfriend’s luggage, as she lives much closer to us than to her boyfriend.  After we got back, she called to thank my husband for schlepping her bag. (I love you! You Are The Best!), She apologized for packing so much (she had twelve pairs of shoes. Even I think that is ridiculous) but she also apologized for me packing too much. Say what? I wasn’t sorry at all! In fact, I would do it again because I Was Prepared (although, I did wish I had packed another pair of shorts, and a couple of different sundresses.)

The packing process is very painful for me. I labor for days, trying to figure out the perfect combination of outfits: casual yet sassy, comfortable yet not homeless chic.  Yet I always always get it wrong.  Ironically, I have professional status when it comes to traveling.  There was a time in my life I was on an airplane at least once a month. Conservatively, I flew one hundred and fifty round trips from 1998-2008 (oh pre 9/11 travel, how I miss you!). So, it’s not like I don’t have any practice packing. This should be quick and easy.

I remember when (and why) I assumed the job of packing for myself.  As both sets of my grandparents lived out of town, our vacations were spent visiting them in Knoxville, TN or WashingtonDC.  (I am now beginning to understand what heroes my parents were for traveling with my sisters and me. Back in the day, my sisters and I got along as well as Iraq and Iran.  On a good day. I have since sat down with my parents and explained to them that for all its wonderful parts, St Louis is not and never will be a vacation destination and if they want to see their favorite (only) (she is still totally their favorite, though) granddaughter, they need to make Atlanta THEIR vacation destination.) My packing karma was forever changed on a trip to DC when I was eight. My parents weren’t stupid (just macho sadist) and they knew three active daughters plus one tiny hotel room plus grandparents and a house full of non-kid friendly items equals DISASTER. As a result, our trips were always methodically planned out. When we were in Washington, we took full advantage of the museums on the National Mall.  (Which is not a mall, as a friend of mine learned in the 8th grade on a visit to DC when she demanded that we leave the park and go to the mall.  Sad day for her!) When in Knoxville, we shopped the local Big Lots. (If we were good, we were given five dollars to spend on anything we wanted in the store. Even candy!) On the first day of our trip, I excitedly laid out my clothes for my full day of museums and sightseeing…but…I didn’t find any socks. Anywhere.  This wasn’t good. My mother had forgotten to pack socks.  In fact there were no socks, for anyone. For an entire week of hot, sweaty, summer vacation.  I don’t remember a lot about that trip, but I do remember stinky gross feet. (Not as bad as my sister’s feet. When she came to visit once, I thought we had a dead dog. Remember those squiggly lines that came off of Pigpen in Charlie Brown? That’s what was coming from that room.  Yep, we had gym shoes festering in my guest room. IF SHE WOULD JUST WEAR SOCKS…) I have packed for myself ever since.

I cannot pack for trips in a way that would maximize space and limit unnecessary items.  I do all the right things- I make lists, I plan ahead, I query my host about what clothing would be appropriate.  I always wind up packing with the mentality that More Is More; and one might conclude that my ultimate goal is to be a well stocked Super Target (Super instead of regular because I always pack my own breakfast, snacks, and wine).  If I get a headache, a stuffy nose, the sniffles, a stomach issue, even a sore muscle, I am prepared.  I won’t be hungry (or sober).  And, I can guarantee I will be well dressed (with a couple of changes of clothes.)

My husband is a pilot, and a natural consequence of his career is a lot of time away from home living out of a suitcase. While the man can pack quickly (a week trip in under five minutes), and efficiently (small carry on suitcase), he too suffers from Can’t-pack-itis.  I can count on one hand the number of trips he has successfully completed by the criteria of 1. Remembering to bring everything he needs, and 2. Remembering to bring HOME everything he needs.  That man has left Blackberry chargers in hotel rooms all over the world. (Literally. And, there is nothing more annoying that needing a charger and the only one you can find is for a European plug. So Frustrating!)  If you found one in your hotel room, you can send us a check. The poor man always forgets something. I remember a trip with a suit but no shoes (for a funeral).  Pants with no belt (for a wedding).  A trip north, in winter and he forgets a coat… the list could go on. (For a couple of years he had a nasty habit of “accidently” losing his Oakley Sunglasses every time we went somewhere.  That got expensive and really old really quickly. The only part more annoying than buying new sunglasses every time we turned around was listening to the WHINING about sun in his eyes (to be fair, the sun might possibly be a little brighter at 35,000 ft.)

I am definitely the girl you want with you when you travel.   One of my sisters has a policy of not packing  anything when she travels with me because she knows not only will I have whatever they need, I will have several choices.  If anyone is planning a trip, I am available! And, as an added bonus, I have gotten the airport security line down to a science (see Airport Security: How I Learned To Stop Judging Others).

Happy Packing!