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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Our Backpacking Route Through Central America

where to backpack in central america
Original photo source
(UPDATE: Check out the revised route here!)

After months of thinking about travel and saving all our money, we're six weeks out from backpacking through Central America and I couldn't be more excited. I literally woke up this morning thinking about Little Corn Island in Nicaragua with a smile on my face. 

There's a lot of change going on in my life right now with finding new tenants, packing, painting, and moving out of our apartment. Thanks to my different schedule I've still been able to delve into planning the logistics of our trip, staying up late into the night until my neck cramps from being hunched over my travel research. Sometimes I get carried away and really go into the details, like finding out which bus companies offer which routes (Tica and Hedman Alas pop up frequently) and how much things cost ($5 USD for lunch or dinner is the norm). I can't help but feel the excitement build as our departure date grows nearer.

For my husband and I, this will be our first time travelling long-term together. We’ve had a bunch of conversations to make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to travel style, budgeting, and the “feel” of the trip that we’re going for. I naturally like to be the planner so over the weekend I really got into our itinerary (which got the thumbs up from M).

Our Criteria

  • We want to travel to all seven countries in Central America (Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama)
  • Length of travel: 3 - 3.5 months. We’ll purchase our return tickets on the road and see how we feel
  • Even though we're backpacking and keeping to a budget, we’re still travelling as a couple and prefer private rooms when available
  • We’d rather splurge on our activities than luxurious accommodations
  • We’d prefer to support local guesthouses and companies
  • We like museums, ruins, and volcanoes but we’re not obsessed about seeing, touring, or climbing them all
  • We'll travel by bus and boat throughout the area
  • Accommodations average $25 USD per night for private room and hot water bathroom
  • Daily spending average $30 USD per person per day

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How To Take a Good Passport Photo

With the holidays right around the corner, lots of us are getting ready to travel so we can spend quality time with our family and friends. If, like mine, your family is spread out over a country or two, that usually means pulling out your passport and getting ready to hop on a plane.

Especially when you're flying to another country, it's important not to let your passport get within six months of its expiry date (some countries refuse to allow entry after this point). If you're coming up on that date, time to queue up at your local passport office and get that sucker renewed! Before you tackle your to-do list, though, let's take a minute to talk about one of the most important parts of your passport, aside from those prized visa stamps -- the photo! 

How many times have you cringed when handing over your passport because the photo is less than flattering? I remember my first "adult" passport, from 16 - 21 years old, my photo was awful. Just terrible. Hair in a slicked back ponytail. Unflattering makeup. The angry look of death which is apparently my natural resting face. With my second photo (pictured below), I overcompensated with too much lipstick and blush. Now that I'm on my third passport I've learned how to pick up my game and today I'm spilling my secrets! 


Here are my top three tips for how to take a good passport photo:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

To Ring or Not to Ring

Our backpacking trip to Central America is getting closer every day and my brain is spinning with all the items I’m trying to keep track of on my pre-travel to do list. With our trip now six weeks away, one of the little details that’s come up lately is the issue of whether or not to travel with our wedding rings. 

At this time last year we were counting down the days to our honeymoon in Jamaica. Since we were going to a Sandals all-inclusive, we figured that the resort would be secure enough that we didn’t have to worry about being robbed or anything like that and we could safely walk around with our rings on.

Our wedding rings. Photo courtesy of Dave and Charlotte

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Irrational Fear


Allow me to preface this post by saying that I’ve been living on my own since I was 18. 

I lived with roommates throughout university, some of which were awesome and became my best friends, some of which remained roommates and we didn’t necessarily have each other’s backs in the same way. We each did our own thing and came and went as we pleased. 

I’ve always had my own space and think of myself as a rather independent person. At 22 years old, I picked up and moved across the world to Korea and lived by myself. At 23 years old, I embarked on a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, travelling by myself.

Three years ago I came back to Canada and moved in with my boyfriend, and that’s where it all began.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What I'm Loving: Fur Vests and Leather Leggings

I've been trying very hard not to shop for myself and just focus on Christmas gifts for others. Especially with our trip to Central America coming up, it doesn't make sense to be purchasing things for myself right now. 

But as much as I know I should stay clear, I can't help but feel the pull toward fall and winter fashion. Does that happen to you too?? I won't even be sticking around for much of the season so rather than opening up my wallet I'm turning to online window shopping instead. 

Lately two things have been catching my eye: fur vests and leather leggings. Here are a few looks I put together.

Click here to find out where to purchase these items

Click here to find out where to purchase these items

What's your opinion about fur vests and leather leggings? Since it's my first time playing with this trend, I'd personally stick to neutral colour palettes and add visual interest by wearing a variety of textures instead. This is one of my best suggestions for those who want to try out new trends without feeling too much out of your comfort zone.

What're you online window shopping for these days?

Linking up with Glossy Blonde / Karly Kim / Style Elixir / Because Shanna Said So / My Girlish Whims / Kiwi Womens Style / Get Your Pretty On / My Fash Avenue

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Monday, November 11, 2013

How I Remember


Today is Remembrance Day (or Veterans Day, or perhaps Armistice Day, depending on where you’re reading this) and every year as this date comes around, I’m reminded of a funny story from the first time Matthew and I spent this holiday together.

My husband, who at the time was my boyfriend of six months, was stationed in North Carolina and asked me to fly to the States that weekend to be his date for the Marine Corps Ball. For those who may not know, Nov. 10th is the official birthday of the US Marine Corps so this day goes hand in hand with Nov. 11th.  

The USMC celebrates their birthday with a cake-cutting event which M’s unit had been notified was not mandatory. Told he’d be getting a 96er (military term for four day weekend), M made arrangements for us to get away to a beautiful suite overlooking Wrightsville Beach so I wouldn’t have to stay in the barracks (dorm rooms) with him and his two roommates. We should have known things would change though as M’s unit always had the worst luck with getting their weekend liberty revoked, but the chain of command had been notified and everything seemed fine. 

We were young and in love and hadn’t seen each other in three months, so we happily drove an hour away from Camp Lejeune and spent the next couple of days literally frolicking along the beach. This Canadian girl couldn’t believe her luck with this wonderfully warm North Carolina weather!

The view from our balcony 

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Calgary Highlights

Last week I flew halfway across Canada for the first time and had such a blast in Calgary, Alberta! I stayed with my wonderful friend Klara while I was in town and this girl turned out all the hostessing stops -- it was such a fun visit and very rewarding to see more of my own country.

I arrived on Thursday (Halloween) where we spent the day catching up on girl talk and eating lots of chips and salsa. Later on, Minnie Mouse, Cat Woman, and a flapper dressed up for a night of drinks and dancing. As we were sipping our jagerbombs like classy ladies do, I couldn't help but notice the couples that was dancing around us. And when I say I couldn't help but notice I mean they were twirling and flipping all over the dance floor and in the middle of the bar. How do so many young people know how to do these hardcore country swing dance moves? Is it mandatory in school growing up in Alberta? 

Anyway, the dance moves were entertaining until I almost got kicked in the head. Instead of pointing out to the young'ns that, as cool as they were, maybe the place was too crowded to continue with the same flipping moves over and over, I distracted myself with another round of drinks that I probably didn't need.

The many drunk faces of Minnie Mouse

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

October Links I Love

Currently writing you from Calgary so I'll make this short and sweet! On Thursday I'll have lots more to say with some beautiful pictures from my first trip to Western Canada :) Here are my favourite posts from the last month. Keep on reading if you want to get lost in some link love on this chilly Tuesday morning...

Karma at its best!! Karly talks about why bullies suck. Especially racist bullies.

For any bloggers who are curious about how to make image links -- Dana’s got you covered.

Erica writes about what she wishes she knew when looking for a rental apartment. Did you know girlfriend survived four windowless months in a basement apartment? So many useful pieces of advice for those who are thinking of moving soon.

Alternatively, if you've decided to move back home with the parentals, Brazen Careerist lays down the official ground rules for 20-somethings living with mom and dad.

Mioara shares four tips for how to dress for a fall wedding.

Holy eff Candice was one busy girl in college -- here are 15 things she learned from her undergraduate days that offer some life lessons.

Oh my gosh I just love Jennifer Lawrence (if you couldn’t already tell by the gifs in this post) and this photo campaign with Dior is simply stunning! Check out what Donald has to say about Jennifer's latest styling.

Having a proper bra fitting makes such a difference! Tanesha lists 5 things you can check to see if you’re wearing the wrong bra size.

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