My flight essentials

Happy Tuesday. Now I know most of us aren’t doing much [if any] travel these days, so keep this bad boy saved for when you’re flying next. I, however, will be making another trip to Spain in the coming weeks. I was originally supposed to leave in six days, however, my visa has still yet to be approved so I’ll be heading there before the end of the month if plan B goes smoothly.

Something I’ve become quite good at is flying. I’ve loved flying ever since I was little, however, when I first started solo traveling [flying to and from San Diego when this blog was just a baby] I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I would bring so much stuff in my carry on “just in case” that I never ended up using // needing. After 20 or more [ I have no idea if I’m being honest] solo flights around the US, South America, and Europe, I’ve come to know what things are essential for your flight and what can stay at home or in your checked baggage. Here are my top 5 carry on flight essentials.

  1. Snacks – This will forever and always be my #1 flight essential. I’m going to count gum in this category too because I cannot and will not fly without a pack of gum for take-off and landing. For super long overseas flights or for flights with layovers, bringing snacks from home is always the better and cheaper option. Food and drinks in airports are EXPENSIVE and depending on the country’s exchange rate, just not even worth it. Because of this, I always bring an empty water bottle [to fill up after security] and a few snacks [some sweet, some savory] such as dried fruit, nuts, crackers, etc. anything to fill me up and get me to where I’m going. I find that when you have dietary restrictions such as myself, it’s even more important that you bring these on flight snacks. Just because they offer a vegan or gluten free or whatever meal option, does, BY NO MEANS, mean it will be a good one.
  2. Chargers – My favorite thing about longer flights is that they normally have a charging port on the seat back in front of you. My flight to Greece was 11 hours and I’m stupid and forgot to check in 24 hours in advance which meant a middle seat for me. It was miserable and I couldn’t get comfortable enough to take a nap. Therefore, I spent the 11 hours watching 6 movies, playing games on my phone, listening to music etc. When I switched my time to watching movies, I plugged in my phone so that it wouldn’t die during my layover or before I got to my new apartment.
  3. A book // E-reader – Not everyone loves reading on airplanes, but I personally do. I try to grab my computer and write on flights normally but not all planes have enough room to have a laptop out and elbows jabbing when you’re typing. I always carry a book in my bag for those tight spaces on airplanes and when you can’t get Wi-Fi at your layover airport [or if you have a 4-hour layover and only are allowed 1 hour of Wi-Fi … thanks Istanbul]
  4. Headphones – A lot of longer flights will gives you headphones to watch movies, listen to music, etc. They almost always suck. I always bring two pairs of headphones [my AirPods for my phone and a pair that works for the traditional headphone jack] so that I can enjoy movies on the plane and have headphones that I can actually hear out of both sides.
  5. A ‘just in case’ bag – this is 100% the most important in my opinion. The last thing you want to happen is for your luggage to get lost and you’re without a toothbrush, underwear, or deodorant. In my carry on, I always carry a bag of miscellaneous items I might need on the flight or after if my luggage is lost. This usually consists of: a hairbrush, bobby pins, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, travel shampoo + conditioner, tissues, soap, lotion, hair ties, hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, etc. I then have an extra outfit [usually just bra, underwear, socks, t shirt and leggings] in case something happens to the clothes I’m wearing, or my luggage gets misplaced.

Obviously, each person’s carry on will depend on you and your interests, but I have to think that these items are pretty much universal, and anyone can and will need one or all of these at some point while travelling.

❤ Alicia

Explore: Brussels Belgium

Two weekends ago, I had the pleasure of traveling to Belgium for the weekend. After I found roundtrip airfare for $70 I knew I had to jump on this opportunity and take a visit. I’d never been to Belgium before, but I had a friend who visited last summer that absolutely adored the place, so I knew I had to visit if given the opportunity.

The first thing I have to say about this place, is, bring a damn umbrella. It didn’t rain on my first day, but it poured BUCKETS [after I had already styled my hair all cute to get a nice picture] so I walked around with a hat, gloves, scarf, raincoat on, but no umbrella, leaving the entire contents of my backpack soaking. Thank goodness it was my last day and I could allow my backpack to dry once I got home later that evening.

I’ve mentioned in other explore posts that I love free tours in big cities. Brussels was no exception. In Brussels, the city is divided into two parts: the upper city and the lower city. Therefore, Brussels has two free tours that run at different times of the day. The lower city is offered in the morning and the upper city is offered in the afternoon. I, of course, did both tours. The two tours combined offered everything I wanted to see in Brussels minus like two things which were kind of outside of the city, so I knew I had to do the tours. The tour guides were great, I learned a lot, and saw so many beautiful sights and got ideas for more places to go, so all in all, some pretty great tours.

If you visit Belgium, prepare to walk. Not only is the city on a damn hill but there is so much to see and it is spread OUT. Unlike some other cities like Sofia and Thessaloniki, which are cities that are in pretty close quarters, Brussels is very much all over the place which made me sure to get about 50,000 steps over the weekend. I definitely recommend gym shoes or at least shoes that you know you can do a lot of walking in. I wore some booties that I wear almost every day to school so I knew they were broken in and wouldn’t get blisters or have tired feet. Also, there are TON of beautiful parks in Brussels that you HAVE to visit. Lots of greenery, statues, fountains, and some very weird and interesting birds make for the perfect break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Belgium is known for its Belgian waffles and let me tell you, I have been so sad that I’m vegan for the sole reason of not being able to try these traditional delicious foods that everyone raves about. However, I managed to find a VEGAN, yes VEGAN, Belgian waffle restaurant and I almost cried. I knew I had to make a visit and ethically try a Belgian waffle in their home of Belgium. If I return to Brussels, I will be making another trip to #VEGANWAF. When I tell you, this was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in my entire life, I’m not lying. I got one waffle [more than enough] covered in chocolate sauce. There’s something about a warm waffle and warm chocolate sauce after just coming out of the pouring rain that really just… hits different. Also, the man who worked at the place was such an angel [and thought I was from the UK for some reason] and we chatted about Greece, summer, and Brussels while I enjoyed my delicious waffle.

This is something I’m soo NOT proud of. When I’m abroad I like to eat at traditional food and drink locations and try new things. However, I’ve been missing home, I really have. And sometimes when I’m homesick, I go to Starbucks. There’s something about an after-school Starbucks run with my little sister for a lemonade with no ice and a black tea lemonade that gets me reminiscing on my home and summertime and that’s what Starbucks always makes me think of. There are no Starbucks in Greece. However, I found a Starbucks in the train station in Brussels and an almond milk latte and vegan donut were just what the doctor ordered. I immediately didn’t feel homesick at all and was ready to continue traveling. So, if you’re missing home or American coffee, Brussels has you covered.

All in all, Brussels was beautiful. I would definitely recommend taking a visit, eating as many Belgian waffles as you want, and soaking in all that the city has to offer.

Have you ever been to  Belgium? If so, where??

❤ Alicia

Apartment tour

Something I did way back when [2 and a half years ago] before the apartment life was a dorm tour! I loved getting to share my little home with everyone! Dorm, apartment, house, etc. tours on blogs and YouTube are my absolute favorite because I love seeing where people live and what they do with the space they have. I didn’t do an apartment tour with my last apartment [I might be able to if I still have the pictures I took of it] but I wanted to share my space in Greece.

I live in a studio apartment in a suburb of Thessaloniki known as Kalamaria. My apartment is on the top floor of a five-story apartment building with two apartments per floor. I am the only one currently living on my floor but people have been in and out of the other one for the past few days so I have to assume I will be getting a neighbor at some point shortly.

After unlocking the front door of the building, there is a small lobby area with mail slots, one apartment, a set of stairs, and a sketchy elevator. I take the elevator of course because I’m not trying to walk up five flights of stairs after a long day at school or with two arms full of groceries. If the elevator could hold my two 45-pound suitcases, my backpack, me, and another woman, I’m sure I’ll be fine.

When I get off the elevator, my apartment is on the left side of the platform.

The first thing you see when you walk into my apartment is everything. It’s a studio apartment so it’s very very tiny but it has everything I need. To the left of my door is my mudroom or mud area because obviously in a studio apartment we only have one room and then the bathroom. In this mud area, I keep all my shoes, my two coats, my teaching bag, hats, scarves, gloves, my umbrella as well as purses. There’s also a really nice mirror that I make sure to look in every morning before I leave so that I’m not going out looking a mess.

Right next to the mud area that is my bathroom. The bathroom is also pretty tiny, but it also has everything I need. There’s a toilet, a sink, a shower, and a laundry basket. My favorite part of the bathroom is the little counter underneath the mirror where I keep all the stuff that I use each morning and night like my skincare items, toothbrush, toothpaste, my sinus rinse, etc.

Something I love in homes are kitchens. I love cooking, eating, the homey atmosphere that kitchens bring so having this kitchen is a little bit of a challenge for me because it is so small but like everything else, the apartment is only for three months and it has what I need so I’m making it work. In my kitchen, I have a tiny microwave oven, three stovetop burners, a sink, a mini-fridge with a freezer built in and then a bunch of storage space as well. In the weeks I’ve been here I’ve only eaten out TWICE which means this kitchen is getting a TON of use.

One of my favorite parts of this apartment is my little coffeemaker area. I have a 10-cup coffee pot, a water heater, a toaster, as well as another toaster//Panini maker type thing. It’s rested on this cute little table and under the coffee pot I have coffee, sugar, tea bags, etc. Then underneath there’s a little storage area that I keep extra snacks in as well as my first aid kits.

I sort of have a dining room. In my dining area, I have a very small table with two stools that I really don’t ever use to eat. This table is more of my hub for keeping random stuff so when I go grocery shopping I put my groceries on there, after school, I put my laptop on it to charge, etc. It is still a nice little addition to the apartment and there are some days that I use it to eat dinner or breakfast which makes it nice to have.

Next, we have my closet. On top of my closet are my suitcases. Inside of my closet, I have a top-shelf which is where I keep underwear, bras, socks, and pajamas. I also have a shelf on the bottom and underneath that shelf, I have a vacuum cleaner and a couple sweatshirts that I brought. In the middle of the closet, I have a rack to hang things. When I got the apartment it only had a couple of hangers, so I do have to fold a lot of the clothes I brought and put them on the bottom shelf. I could go out and buy more hangers or ask my Airbnb host for some, but I’ll live with only hanging the necessities.

The next thing is my bed. My bed here is a sofa bed so during the day you can have it as a couch and then at night turn it into a bed however I prefer sleeping on the couch, so I usually just keep it as the sofa.

The balcony is by far my favorite part of the Airbnb because it is so big it’s really great to just sit and watch the sunset and sometimes I can watch the sunrise. I could literally sit out there all day. I work out on the balcony, do homework, lesson plan, etc. it is by far my favorite place and view in all of Greece.

What’s your favorite part of your home?
❤ Alicia

Disconnected

Hi all and happy thursday. A week ago today, my phone broke. Not sure what happened but it just froze + wouldn’t get to the home screen. I called apple support, verizon + consulted the internet to try and get it fixed to no success. Finally, 2 days later, on Saturday, I made my way to Verizon to get a new phone. During those two days I realized something so profound that I feel not many of us realize: we are so damn dependent on our phones and we can’t do anything without them.

I was fuming that my phone broke at first, I needed to snapchat, text people back, post on Instagram + more. How was I going to make it through a shift at work with no phone????? How would I hang out with my friends with no phone?

I am not going to lie, all day Friday I carried my phone with me. I carried a broken phone in my hand as a security blanket because I did not feel that I  could go without it. Isn’t that pathetic? On Saturday, I went to Columbus for a CHAARG event + didn’t bring my phone because I realized there is literally no point to carrying a $1000 paperweight around with me for 5 hours but it was so weird. You never realize how often you or other people are on their phones until you physically cannot be on your phone. I wanted to take pictures, I wanted to follow new people on Instagram, and I could not. I wanted to mask silent moments in the car with my phone but I could not.

It’s truly comical to me that as I was planning this post that the title that came to me was disconnected. I was in fact not disconnected, not in the slightest. When I had access to wifi aka on campus and in my apartment I had access to my laptop + all my friends. Yet, because i could not have my phone attached to my hip for roughly 48 hours, I felt disconnected. It makes you think, doesn’t it? We’re so reliant on these devices, for everything. From social media, to maps, to a calculator, to email, and everything in between on these pieces of hardware that when they break, we feel incomplete. It blows my mind.

Honestly, it was nice. I wish my phone broke more often [or that I would just leave it at home haha]. I talked a lot more to the people around me. I had good genuine conversations with friends because when they knew I didn’t have a phone, they also stayed off theirs. The CHAARG event was also made more special for me personally because I had no phone. I had to interact with others and be present in the moment which I loved. Yeah I wanted to photograph it and post about it on every social media platform I have, however, it became more special to me, to sit there and let it all soak in.

A guy I hung out with Saturday after my phone was fixed said to me, “I liked it more when your phone was broken.” I was high key crushed. Was I really on my phone that much? It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. Because of this whole ordeal, I want to be more present. I set locks on various apps so I can only be on them for certain amounts of time. I’m paying a lot of attention to my screen time data on my phone and trying to get it to be less and less each day. It’s hard to not be as connected as everyone else and I think it’s normal to feel the need to be on our phones as much as we are because it’s what everyone else is doing. But I’d much rather be having these genuine conversations, reading, writing, getting ahead on work, or doing literally anything else except solely existing on this small screen.

Much Love ❤

Alicia

Finding the good in every day

Hi all. I’m writing again. 2 DAYS IN A ROW! In the midst of my busy, I’m trying to find time to do the things that bring me joy. I was going to write again last night but once I finally got home, did homework, and got ready for bed… I was exhausted! So, I’ll take what I can get. I have a small break in between 2 meetings and the gym and class so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to write.

I downloaded the app Daylio a while back [you rate your mood for the day and add what you did, notes etc.] and I was looking at my monthly calendar view and realized I don’t have a lot of great days. Most of my days are either meh or bad [their words not mine] and my good days are few and far between. With my relationship with my brain, however, I am less than surprised. On Monday, for this CHAARG challenge, we were challenged to post about 10 things that made us smile that day. It was a damn struggle let me tell you.

I came up with the following:

  1. I did ALL my laundry
  2. I slept in warm clean sheets
  3. I cleaned my room [we’re seeing a trend here… I did a lot of cleaning]
  4. I hit my step goal
  5. I had a delicious smoothie
  6. I taught an entire lesson in Spanish to people who didn’t speak Spanish AND THEY UNDERSTOOD ME
  7. I saw some very positive post-it notes
  8. I looked cute as heck
  9. I can breathe again because I’m not sick anymore
  10. I did the face mask that makes me feel like a snake.

Doing that made me realize that the day wasn’t as bad as I initially thought. Good things happened among what I would label as a ‘bad’ day. There is good in every day. Not to sound like a middle-aged white woman’s kitchen wall, but I want to try and find the good in every day. So, I decided to start using my 5-minute journal again [I won one in a CHAARG giveaway and lasted a whole 5 days :/ ] to reflect on my days and share what the good was. I think it will help my mental health immensely and will help change my mindset to see the good things over the bad that happen in a 24 hour period.

Will I keep up with the 5-minute journal? Only time will tell. Will I make a conscious effort to remember the good that happened to me in the day when filling out my daylio entry? Absolutely. Here’s to finding the good in every day.

A good thing that’s happened today, you may ask? I ran into one of my favorite people, Sam, during a break we both had + we got to sit and chat for about 20 minutes :’)

Much Love,

Alicia ❤

Long time, no write

Hi all, I hope you all haven’t forgotten about me. The last time I wrote [besides essays for class] was 138 days ago. August 14th to be precise. I hadn’t started my junior year of college, I hadn’t started my first semester on CHAARG exec, I hadn’t been promoted at work, I hadn’t dyed my hair, I hadn’t changed my major [more on that later]. I hadn’t done so many things 136 days ago.

I’ve been sitting at my computer over the past few days, pondering on what to say. Why haven’t I written anything in 136 days? Why have I rarely even logged onto WordPress in these last 136 days? Why haven’t I had any motivation or longing to write?

While I don’t know the answers to those questions, I do know I’ve been pretty miserable this semester. From school, to CHAARG, to my other orgs on campus, to work, to pretty much every other aspect of my life, has been miserable.

As I’m sure you all know by now, I put far too much on my plate. I take on every activity, every class, every extracurricular, every new position that I can. I try to do it all. I’ve exhausted myself. I could not find time to write this past semester because I was physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. When I wasn’t at school, a student org meeting, or work, I was studying, eating, showering, or sleeping.

This semester was rough, I’ll give myself that, but next semester with a new promotion at work, and more classes, along with all of my previous commitments… how am I to handle it? Over the past few months, I’ve realized on very large thing: there aren’t enough hours in a day.

I pride myself on being busy, on filling up my planner so I have to allocate time for working out, eating, showering, etc. Why do I do this? I can’t do everything in the world and still have time for my absolute favorite thing in the world: curling up in my bed at night and doing nothing; ie. staring at my phone or reading a good book. I need to start prioritizing my time and prioritizing what I do with my time and I need to do it fast before I exhaust myself next semester as well.

2019 is in two days. I don’t want to set a million resolutions for 2019. I want to set one: follow through. I am notorious for starting things. A new school, a new major, a new job, a new application, a new blog, a new journal, etc. Yet, I can never seem to finish these things I start. I love doing SO many things but there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do everything. In 2019 I want to follow through. I want to start [or continue] things that I am passionate about and I want to follow through with those things. I need to leave things less important to me in 2018 and bring what is vital to me into 2019.

I’ve got a few more posts of life updates, year wrap-ups, etc. on my to do list before the year’s end. I just wanted to make this to show you guys I’m not done with my blog, I’m not done with my writing. I just had to take a few months to really realize what was important to me and how to keep it in my life.

Much love,

Alicia

Back to school series: apartment packing list

Hi everyone + Happy Tuesday! If you’ve been a follower for the last year or so, you may remember that I made a Back to School series last August. I got really positive feedback from it so I’ve decided to do it again this year!!! Let’s get started with it!

I am officially moved into my apartment at school + I’m very excited! Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I am living with 3 girls I do not know, all from other countries. One of them has brought her dad to stay for about 2 weeks + removed the furniture last night (unsure why) so I’m just trying to stick to my own schedule and live my own life until school starts.

So, from the title of this post you know I’m not sharing a tour of my apartment today (if I do one it will probably just be of my room) because it’s not fully finished, but it is a packing list for apartments! I definitely forgot some things and I brought things I for sure don’t need. Also, a ton of girls (freshmen) have no clue what to pack but with 22938 different packing lists available for freshmen, I figured I would make one for people in apartments because there are far fewer lists to get inspiration from but a lot more things to get! So, here is this artsy list of what to pack for an apartment (or at least what’s working for me).


Is there anything I’m forgetting or anything on this list that doesn’t need to be?

❤ Alicia ❤

August intentions

Hi everyone + Happy Tuesday!! I wrote this post last week and totally forgot about it! I head back to school in 3 days + I’m SO excited!!! As I prepare for the school year to begin, I have a lot to do + I’m putting everything on my intentions list for August. Here they are!


  1. Pack for school // I’m about half way done with this and after another load of laundry or two + some final purchases, I should be done soon!
  2. Make my apartment homey // I have been doing a bit of DIY (+ buying cute things) to get my apartment feeling like it’s all mine
  3. Prep my planner // I just got new pens + markers yesterday so I’M PUMPED to get my planner ready for this semester
  4. Develop my school routine // I’m getting back to school 2 weeks before school starts so I have plenty of time to get my workout, work, school, sleep, etc. schedules down pact.
  5. Work out 5-6 days a week // This is part of my school routine + 2 of those are already covered with CHAARG!!!
  6. Eat only things that make my body feel good // I’ve been having more stomach problems lately so I’m going to be doing a sort of experiment with foods I eat to see what is bothering my stomach
  7. Conquer my first week of school // Junior year here I come!
  8. Make some new recipes // I actually just tried a new one today (Chocolate Cherry energy bites… SO MUCH YUM) so I’m definitely ahead of the game!
  9. Start meal planning + prepping // With 6 classes MWF, eating good foods is going to take some prepping so every weekend I’m going to prep + plan my meals so I am eating healthy foods ++ enough of them

What are your intentions for the month?

❤ Alicia ❤

July wrap up

Hi everyone and happy Tuesday! Somehow July is already over!!?!?!? I’m not sure how that is! I head back to school in 11 days and I’m so excited but also so shocked that it’s time already! In typical Alicia fashion, let’s check out how my month of July went for me, goals-wise.


  1. Finish CHAARG Bootycamp // re: my last post
  2. 120 oz of water daily// Almost every single day!!
  3. Organize everything I own // Not nearly as far along with this as I’d like because of how overwhelming it is. But slow and steady wins the race!
  4. Keep planning for CHAARG // I’ve planned every social,  welcome party + end of semester party so I just have our retreat which is going not as planned because the camp has stopped responding to my emails and calls. So.. we’ll see.
  5. Get everything for my apartment bought + ready // A few things have been bought but I do have everything I still need on a list ready to go!
  6. Start DIYing // Yikes I haven’t done anything :(( I actually forgot I wanted to! I’ll have to start soon!
  7. Work on training my dog // We’ve been working daily and I see improvements in her behavior on walks daily so let’s see!

How did you do on your goals for July?

❤ Alicia ❤

CHAARG “Bootycamp” reflection

Happy Monday everyone! Friday was the last day of CHAARG’s summer fitness plan “CHAARG Bootycamp” and I had the opportunity to be involved with it this summer. I wanted to reflect on my experience in this fitplan as I gear up for another in October (which I get to help lead as an exec member) so why not do it here for the whole world to see?


I am and have always been very black or white. I either love you or can’t stand you (if I know you that is… if I don’t I can be indifferent), all in or all out, I work out every single day or not at all, etc. and that can be good and bad. With fitness plans, however, it’s usually pretty bad.

I’m not sure why I’m like this // how I can change this about me, but the day I take a day off (that isn’t already listed in the actual plan) I just stop with it completely. I feel like a failure even if I’m not (it’s one day, not every day haha) and can’t bring myself to get back in the swing of things.

I was doing SOOO good the first 2 weeks of the plan… and then I went to Ohio to visit some friends. While I was there I didn’t workout, I drank a lot, ate a lot, etc. and when I got home the last thing I wanted to do was workout, let alone make up the workouts I missed. So, I didn’t workout for a week-ish (seems pretty backward I know). Then I made up a few workouts, got overwhelmed, + took another break. I did, however, get back on track for the last week + did all 3 strength workouts but I still didn’t feel that great about not really finishing the fitplan, especially because I spent money on it.

I think this is mainly due to my planning, or lack thereof. The fitplan started the day after I returned from Florida so I didn’t really have time or energy to plan the next 6 weeks of my life when I had been in a car for 10 ish hours. I had one thing on my mind, sleep, and the last thing I wanted to think about was planning the next 6 weeks.

Due to this, I was off on the wrong foot to begin with and I did persevere through my unplanned workout routine for a week and a half but I desperately needed to and should have planned out my workouts. Until I have written down a time or carved it into my planner, nothing is going to happen and that’s exactly what I didn’t do. I knew this would happen and it did, so I can’t really be mad about it now. This is definitely my major takeaway from this fitplan going into my next. I need to spend a few hours of my life the days before the fitplan starts planning my workouts, my foods, etc. if I want to get it done. It’s not that fitplans don’t work // it’s that you don’t make yourself work + I know that in order to build muscle (I have the upper body strength of a newborn baby) I need to plan and stick to that plan to see the results I want.

I do want to share a positive thing about this fitplan! There was a 10 day meal plan included and it was so useful! I didn’t follow the meal plan but I did love trying new recipes that I’m definitely going to incorporate into my faily life!!

So, while this may seem like a “wow Alicia you suck” sort of post, it definitely helped me realize my faults + how I can improve them for the fall! I also will say that this week I am sort of starting fresh with these workouts and doing the ones I like the most so that I can say I did not waste my money!


Are you as black + white like me? Or is there gray area for you?

❤ Alicia ❤