ISO The Perfect Carry On Bag

by Ilinap on March 4, 2015

Carry on bags are my new obsession. All of my search history shows myriad sites and bag styles. I’m not a backpack kind of girl, despite the practicality of those double straps. I took a backpack to Uganda and felt like I was going to tip over the whole time. I prefer shoulder straps that are long enough to go cross body. My general philosophy is that style and comfort are not mutually exclusive. I’m looking for a bag that’s both pragmatic and cute. Surely this can be done, right?

I’m a fan of compartments and zippers and such. Durability is a must. Water resistance is a bonus. And like I said, style and comfort are key.

Here are a few bags that come highly recommended. Weigh in.

Lug Cartwheel Fitness/Overnight Bag

LeSportsac Large Weekender

Lug Airbus Weekender Bag





What Should I Put in My Carry On

by Ilinap on March 2, 2015

We are embarking on the journey of a lifetime soon. Perhaps that sounds hyperbolic, but I’d say one month in India is a pretty big deal. I have not returned to the country of my birth for 20 years. This will be the first trip to India for Mac Daddy, and the first time my half Indian, first generation American sons will see their heritage in technicolor. There’s loads to be said about this trip. I haven’t quite wrapped my head around this journey and am pondering how to tell our story.

For now, I’ll start small.

We are a traveling family. We don’t believe in lugging around big suitcases. We only own one large suitcase. I carry more on a road trip because I know I can pack haphazardly. Each of us has a small rolling bag that has seen us across the country and across the pond. We are relying on these same bags for our month in India. I have few talents, but packing like a boss is one of them. It helps that I am small and have small clothes and shoes. Mac Daddy’s shoes consume all the space in a rolling bag so his challenges are greater than mine. My friend Kim once told me about some traveling underwear that can be worn around the world. I mocked her then, but now I need to know what brand that was. 

You see, I’m making lists. I have an old school notebook bedecked in washi tape to record all the thingamabobs and whatnots for this trip. There are lists and doodles galore. I feel a much richer sense of accomplishment to write in ink rather than type a list. The satisfaction of striking a task done is akin to slamming down the phone receiver. Ah, such satisfaction that this young generation will never feel. The first thing I am preparing is our carry on bag, the one that will perch beneath the seat in front. I’ve complied a list of items to include and am still sorting out which particular brands to buy. 

Here’s what I have on my list so far. Hit me with your recommendations.

  • Medicine (a list one its own!)
  • Books (real books and Kindles)
  • Chargers
  • Back up batteries
  • Copies of important documents
  • Scarf/shawl
  • Pen and notebook
  • Camera
  • SD cards
  • Lotion and face cream
  • Dopp kit
  • Headphones
  • Hairband
  • Cardigan/sweatshirt
  • iPad
  • Snacks (also a list unto itself, but give me your suggestions)
  • Travel pillow
  • Lavender spray
  • Wet wipes
  • Lip balm
  • Teddy bear (doubles as a pillow)
  • Compression socks

Tell me traveler friends, what else do I need? Bonus points for brands you love. 



Snow Day Home School

February 25, 2015

Tweet   I joked yesterday that I was going to homeschool my kids if this week were another snow day(s) bust. They’ve had one and a half days of school in the last 10 days. Ice and snow are North Carolina’s kryptonite. We are expecting more snow tonight and tomorrow so I suspect the kids [...]

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Snow Days -At Home and Helping

February 24, 2015

Tweet There’s a hushed tranqulity that blankets us as the snow blankets the park in front of our house. The gray green dying grass is revitalized by a cloak of snow. It’s oddly serene and calm. Even my sons have stopped bickering for the moment, both huddled under the comfort of their favorite fuzzy blankets [...]

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My Frivolous Date with Oscar

February 22, 2015

Tweet Sometimes life begs for a dose of frivolity. While I dabble in tastes of frivolity on almost any given day, today is the grand buffet. The Oscars.  It’s my Super Bowl. For years I have watched all the movies in the big categories – actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, director, and film. When [...]

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All Winter in a Day

February 17, 2015

Tweet Ray Bradbury wrote All Summer in a Day, a book that has haunted me since I first read it as a kid. It’s the penultimate story of bullying and life as an outsider. I’ve sympathized with Margot, the main character, and continue to feel pangs of the pain and injustice Bradbury masterfully reflects.   [...]

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Dear Diary…Hate & Love Lists

February 16, 2015

Tweet I came across some old journals from high school. Oh man, that is always a good chuckle, despite the cringe-worthiness of my words back then. One of my favorite English teachers had us keep a weekly journal. He encouraged us to free write, make lists, draw pictures, whatever moved us. It was a chance [...]

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Persephone – 5:00 Fridays TM

February 13, 2015

Tweet I think Mother Nature and Persephone are keeping each other company these days. Mother Nature has not been answering my calls. I’ve asked for snow here in North Carolina (don’t hate on me, Boston). Since the only flakes we’ve seen have been in the legislature, I figured we’ll pass through winter without any wintry [...]

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The Everydayness of Things

February 10, 2015

Tweet We measure life in milestones. Sometimes I think it’s the unmeasured moments that tell a better story. We snap photos of birthdays, graduations, weddings, firsts of all kinds. Yet it’s in the everyday moments that our photos color a richer story. Sure, I line up my boys in their party finery to take a [...]

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I Don’t Care What My School’s Grade Is

February 5, 2015

Tweet Spotted at a school I visited in Kampala, Uganda. They get it. We should, too. Thursdays are my favorite day of the week. I get to spend time in Deal’s fourth grade class to help with writing. I get hugs and singsong accolades before I even step over the threshold. Even my dog isn’t [...]

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