Simple Tips for Eating Healthier in 2018

This is not a diet. It’s not an exercise routine or a total lifestyle change. These are some simple tips and substitutions to help you make healthier choices in 2018.

  1. Drink water
    Staying hydrated will make you feel better and keep your body running smoothly.  If you need a little push try out this bottle which keeps you on track to drink water throughout the day.
  2. Drink black coffee or add a splash of milk instead of going to starbucks
    If you’re a coffee drinker who loves lattes and fraps but wants to be healthier in the new year, consider brewing your own black coffee at home. Coffee has almost no calories, so if you drink it black or add just a splash of milk or hint of sugar, you’ll be reducing your caloric intake (not to mention fat and sugar) by a lot. A small coffee house drink can have 330+ calories!
  3. Be conscious of your protein and vegetable consumption.
    I make sure to have at least one-two servings of each every day. Even if it doesn’t seem to go together. For example: a bowl of black beans as a side for protein with cheese pizza.
  4. Try squash/zucchini spaghetti
    Cut down on carbs by replacing pasta with spiralized veggies.
  5. Make your own sauces or use spice blends instead
    Pinterest has a ton of ideas for healthier pasta sauces/dishes. My favorite is pasta tossed with olive oil, breadcrumbs, lemon juice, pepper, salt, and parsley.
  6. Switch to sugar-free energy drinks
    They’re out there! Energy drinks have a ton of sugar. If you drink energy drinks and want to reduce your sugar intake, try out the sugar-free versions.
  7. Limit to one soda a week.
    Moderation is key. Let yourself have treats, but know that it’s not an everyday thing. You’ll enjoy it more, and you’re reducing your caloric and sugar intake. Replace the sodas you were drinking with water and you’re killing two birds with one stone.
  8. Diet soda
    See “sugar-free energy drinks” above. Reduce your sugar intake by going diet.

Whatever your bad habit is, find a way to reduce it until it’s gone. For example, my bad habit is eating sweets every night. My husband and I eat supper early, around 5-6pm, so I’m usually hungry again in the evening before bed. For a while, I’ve had a glass of milk and some cookies, candy, or brownies before bed. I’m trying to eat a cup of yogurt (I like the Chobani “flip” greek yogurt) and a glass of water 1-2 times a week instead of sugary snacks. As I get used to that, I’ll try to do it 2-3 times a week, then 3-4, until my regular late-night snack is yogurt instead of cookies.

You know what you shouldn’t eat. With a slow reduction, you can eliminate the things you want to from your diet, and add in the good stuff. Good luck!

Did you enjoy this post? What do you do to stay healthy? Leave a comment below. Share this post via Facebook or Twitter and, as always, follow me here on WordPress for more GREAT content like this!

Disclaimer: if you follow the Amazon link in the body of this post and make purchases through them, I will receive a small compensation from Amazon. This compensation comes from Amazon, not from you, and the price you see through my links is the same as the price you would see otherwise.

Water bottle with time marker: http://amzn.to/2sENn4Z

Photo credit, plus a great article from the CDC about food safety: https://www.cdc.gov/features/foodsafetyquiz/index.html

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10 Cool Gadgets under $100 you can buy with your Amazon gift cards

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your kitchen, living room, or office, you’ll find something irresistible on this list. Happy spending!

  1. Water resistant bluetooth speaker
    This waterproof speaker is perfect if you love singing in the shower. It also has waterproof controls so you can skip songs, adjust the volume, and even answer phone calls.
    Average rating: 3.9 stars
    Price: $14.99+

    5 star review from Jason:
    “What a great product! So much that both my wife and I have one. We take this all over the house. In the shower. Kitchen. Workshop. Back Deck. Study. Easy to set up and link via bluetooth. To proceed with the next song/podcast/etc it’s a simple press down of the left/right arrow keys, while holding them will adjust the volume. Loud enough to be heard while doing dishes and taking a shower. Battery lasts for weeks, so you’re not constantly recharging it (and we use ours a lot). When the battery does run low, it beeps at you and you have about 5 mins of battery left. Sound quality is better than an iPhone. Suction cup on back works well, only following off it the surface is dirty.Highly suggest getting this if you use your phone all over your house and even other places. Better sound, better volume and thus more enjoyable.”
  2. Amazon Fire TV stick with Alexa voice remote
    If you love streaming TV and movies, you’ll love The Fire Stick. You’ll have access to Netflix, Hulu, and many other streaming channels. It can be plugged in to any TV, making it portable.
    Average rating: 4.4 stars
    Price: $34.99+

    5 star review from King:
    “This 2017 generation fire TV stick works great for. Just plug it in. It comes already connected to your account if you buy it directly from Amazon. If you don’t want it connected to your account from out of the box? Then select the gift option. Or when you setup it up for the first time it will ask if you are so and so? And you just press no. Then you can connect it to a different account.
    So yeah it great,portable and easy to use and navigate through the menu with the remote or the built in Alexa voice control button. Picture quality is great and no slow downs or hiccups while watching video programs like Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu or YouTube. $40 well spent. Cutting the TV cord really soon. It has all the programming you want. When or if you want it or not. You are in control not the networks or broadcasters 😊👍”
  3. Instant Pot (3Qt)
    The Instant Pot is this year’s kitchen it gadget. This little guy is the 3 quart version, making it a great choice for small families. Just like it’s big brother, it’s a multitasker and can function as a Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker, or Warmer.
    Average rating: 4.6 stars
    Price: $58.31+

    5 star review from Diane:
    “I bought my first Instant Pot, a Duo80, before Christmas and fell in love. Although there are only two of us, the 8-quart was a wise purchase because I love to make up big batches of stuff and freeze it in portions for me and the SigO to pull out whenever we want. My “Papa Bear” Instant Pot is great for that. But it’s overkill if I’m doing something just for a dinner, and it’s also nice to have the separate pot for cooking something that has to cook a long time. I can do my steamed veggies and such in the big pot for just a few minutes while I’m cooking something like pork loin I want to be very tender and shreddable in the mini. Or vice versa! My Corelle 16 oz. bowls fit in the mini great when I want to do oatmeal or heat up leftovers. “Baby Bear,” my mini, has two fewer buttons on the sides, which works out just fine, but the Keep Warm button is in a different place from my Duo80. I’ll just have to cook less on auto-pilot when I’m using both of them!”
  4. Shiatsu massage pillow
    This small, heated massager is perfect for targeted massages. It’s designed for the neck and shoulders, but can be used on the lower back, calves, or feet. It comes with straps so it can be secured to your favorite chair during your relaxing massage.
    Average rating: 4.5 stars
    Price: $39.95+

    5 star review from Kelly:
    “I love this massager! I use it every day several times a day if I’m sitting a lot. I’m a writer so I sit a lot. The best part, for me, is that it heats up. When it heats up everything starts to loosen up and feels so much better. I highly recommend this product, it’s been great. This is a great product and we were so satisfied with it we bought one for my boyfriend’s sister for Christmas.”
  5. Stovetop Espresso pot (3 cup)
    This Italian espresso maker is perfect for a single person. It makes 3 shots of espresso on your stovetop so A) You don’t end up with a ton of extra and B) You don’t need a bulky espresso maker taking up a ton of counter space.
    Average rating: 4.4 stars
    Price: $32.99+

    5 star review from M:
    “Received this little 3-cup maker a few weeks ago and have enjoyed several mornings of great lattes and espressos already. This is very simple to use and only takes a minute to get a brew going. Simply add water to the base, add a tablespoon or so of grounds in the filter, screw on the pitcher and heat up. Espresso is ready in just a couple minutes. Great little design that is very easy to use and clean.”
  6. Earbuds with or without mic
    These earbuds are inexpensive, without being cheap. They’re basic, but ergonomic earbuds, with a low price tag and over 45,000 positive reviews on Amazon.
    Average rating: 4.2 stars
    Price: $8.03+
    earbuds5 star review from megallo:
    “I am at work, next to the window, and there is a LITERAL JACKHAMMER outside the window. I have these headphones in, listening to music, and I can’t hear it at all. If you want that in your life, these are the earbuds for you.”
  7. Food Processor
    Food processors are a fabulous kitchen must-have: you can prep everything from hummus to ground nuts. This one has a scraper attachment for easy cleanup and getting the most out of your food.
    Average rating: 4.2
    Price: $30.59+

    5 star review from BLRG
    “I tried several others before settling on the Hamilton Beach Bowl Scraper Food Processor. For a start, this one is quieter, very easy to use, has a pulse and two speeds, the quality is up there with much more expensive food processors and it performs great. I use it quite a lot and it is easy to clean, use and looks great. The scraper comes out if you don’t want to use it but it is very effective. I was surprised at how well it works so I tend to leave it in. Another aspect I really appreciate and is just peace of mind is that Hamilton Beach have an online store and it is very easy and inexpensive to get spare and replacement parts for this unit should you ever need them, including the bowl, blades, slicer and more. So effectively eliminating the need to get a whole new food processor should a part get lost, break or wear out – very nice. Easy 5 stars!”
  8. Mini portable photo printer
    This little printer allows you to print directly from your smartphone (android or iOS) anywhere you go. It is fully wireless and comes with a free app to edit your photos before printing them.
    Average rating: 3.7 stars
    Price: $89.99+

    5 star review from Elaine:
    “The mini printer is great very easy to set up the pictures are very clear , very fast to print. Pictures are small but it’s nice to have them in a few minutes. Love this little printer.”
  9. Flexible tripod with smartphone and gopro adapters
    This is not your ordinary tripod. It’s much smaller with flexible legs making it portable, and easy to set up. You can secure the tripod’s legs around a tree or balcony, set your camera’s self-timer and take awesome group shots with ease.
    Average rating: 4.7
    Price: $14.99+

    5 star review from MariaBrad:
    “This tripod is really cool. The legs move in all directions making it quite easy to wrap around items to secure your phone for photos or video taking. Very convenient. I would really recommend this tripod to anyone.”
  10. Coffee bean and spice grinder
    You can officially stop buying ground coffee and spices: up your freshness game with this nifty grinder. It can grind up to 3 oz of coffee beans in seconds. Tired of pre-ground spices that have been sitting on the shelf for oh, a few years? Get fresh spices and grind ‘em up yourself!
    Average rating: 4.1 stars
    Price: $17.99+
    coffeegrinder5 star review from Gabriel:
    “This coffee grinder is awesome and simple to use. It really gets the job done. We use this for multiple things also. I can use this to grind up herbs, seeds, and coffee. You can’t clean it using water, but it’s really easy to clean – just wipe away with a paper towel after each use. Or if you insist of using soap, just use a small amount with paper towel and clean out just the inside. I wouldn’t get the exterior wet though. I’ve had this for a couple months now, so this review is much deserved. The speed is really fantastic, I feel like it’s high quality grade – something they might use in a small coffee shop. Love it! Would definitely recommend to anyone who loves coffee and needs a coffee grinder.”

Are you ready to put those Amazon gift cards to good use yet? What are your favorite gadgets? Share with me in the comments below! Share this post via Facebook or Twitter and, as always, follow me here on WordPress for more GREAT content like this!

Reviews were edited for length/clarity.  If you follow the links in the body of the text, I may receive a compensation from Amazon.  This compensation comes from Amazon, not from you, and the price you see through my links is the same as the price you would see otherwise.

 

10 Gifts Under $20 for Your Favorite Bookworm

Your favorite book lover already has a million books they haven’t even read. So what do you get them for a holiday gift? Check out my list below for bookworm-themed gifts under $20!

  1. Go Away, I’m Reading sign
    This sign is to-the-point and on point for any book lover. It’s a perfect decoration for any home library or young reader’s bedroom.
    Average rating: 4.5 stars
    Price: $9.51

    5 star review from A Bucket of Corn:
    “Awesome sitting on my shelf, right next to all my favorite books. A great product. This item would make a great gift for anyone who loves to read.”
  2. Harry Potter Earring Set
    This adorable earring set comes with 6 pairs of Harry Potter-themed stud earrings. They’re a perfect gift for your favorite Potterhead, while also being friendly to your wallet.
    Average rating: 4.7 stars
    Price: $10.50

    Check out this 5 star review from SMB:
    “These are adorable and comfortable to wear for ANY Harry Potter fan! I ALWAYS get compliments at work from adults and students alike! So very glad I bought these!”
  3. Book shaped cake pan
    Your baking bookworm bud will adore this open-book shaped baking pan. It’s perfect for parties and events or just a fun Saturday at home.
    Average rating: 4.2 stars
    Price: $11.88

    5 star review from Rhonda:
    “I was very pleased with this pan, cooked evenly and cake came out great. The pan is sturdy and performed well, just have no complaints.”
  4. I’m Not Addicted to Reading…I can quit as soon as I finish this book mug
    This adorably clever mug will please any coffee drinking reader. Imagine yourself sitting on the couch on a rainy day with a good book and a clever mug full of steaming coffee or tea. This is the perfect mug!
    Average rating: 4.8 stars
    Price: $13.99

    5 star review from Gail:
    “Cup is fun and very nicely made, with clear print and bright colors. Came quickly, too”
  5. Kitty and Books necklace
    Bibliophiles will love this sleepy kitty in a library on a pendant.
    Average rating: 5.0 stars
    Price: $3.99

    5 star review from an Amazon user:
    “Cute cat and books!”
  6. Dr. Seuss quote wall decal
    So this one is aimed at children, but I adore the quote, as it’s totally relatable for adults too.
    Average rating: 4.6 stars
    Price: $14.99

    5 star review from Amazon user:
    “Perfect for my storytime room.”
  7. Bookmark? You Mean Quitter Strip? T-shirt
    Comes in 5 colors and Men’s, Women’s, and Children’s sizes. I believe I have a couple of dear friends who could rock this geeky Tee.
    Average rating: 5.0 stars
    Price: $19.95

    5 star review from kbill:
    “My daughter is very sarcastic and loves to read so this is perfect for her. She smiles every time she wears it and loves to see people’s reaction to it.”
  8. Mix young adult symbols necklace
    Young adult novel fans, this one’s for you! It combines the symbols from The Mortal Instruments, Hunger Games, Divergent, Percy Jackson, and Harry Potter.
    Average rating: 5.0 stars
    Price: $9.99

    5 star review from Melissa:
    “My daughter just loves her necklace!”
  9. Just one more chapter pillowcase
    Curl up with this book-themed pillowcase on your favorite pillow! It’s a great addition to any book nook.
    Average rating: 4.7 stars
    Price: $9.99

    5 star review from EM:
    “I bought this pillow cover as a gift to my sister who loves to read. The material is good quality, the words clearly printed and my sister loved it.”
  10. Lumos/Nox light switch decal
    So simple, but so clever. This Harry Potter-inspired decal will make you feel like a wizard, even when you have to turn off the lights the muggle way.
    Average rating: 4.3 stars
    Price: $4.97

    5 star review by George:
    “Looks great and stays on well even as we brush our hands to flick the switch. I was afraid they would peal off but they are stuck on well.”

Did you enjoy this list? What would you add to it? Let me know in the comments below! Share this post via Facebook or Twitter and, as always, follow me here on WordPress for more GREAT content like this!

Disclaimer: if you follow the Amazon links in the body of this post and make purchases through them, I will receive a small compensation from Amazon. This compensation comes from Amazon, not from you, and the price you see through my links is the same as the price you would see otherwise.

Essential items every traveler needs before the next big trip

Worried you might’ve forgotten to pack something for your big trip? Need a holiday gift for your favorite traveler? Check out my list of essential lightweight, durable items every backpacker needs.

    1. Sleep mask
      It’s not easy to sleep on a cramped and crowded airplane, or in a shared room at a hostel. A sleep mask will help you block out light and ease you into sleep. Try this one from Amazon with 4.5 stars. It is a 3 pack for $6.30+, and brags “Fully Adjustable, 3D contoured shape, skin friendly, and soft”

      5 star review from Cotton Candy:
      “The most comfortable sleep mask ever. I had been searching for them for a long time. My favorite feature about these masks is the design of their nose area. They don’t press against my nose bridges like other ones do. Not only the straps has elasticity, you can manually adjust the fasteners in the back. They are definitely one size fits all type of mask.”
    2. Ear plugs
      Have you ever had noisy roommates? Imagine having a dozen of them in a shared room at a hostel! Ear plugs can be a lifesaver in a noisy hostel or long flight. These babies are $10.99+ on Amazon and come with 5 pairs of reusable, washable ear plugs, 1 ear pick, and a storage box on a keychain so you’ll never lose them. They have a 4.3 star review on Amazon and a 36dB Noise Reduction Rating.

      5 star review from an Amazon user:
      “Soft squishy material that fits my ear very well! My boyfriend snores and it drives me to the living room, so I got these earplugs just for that reason. I found that if you squeeze the memory foam plug into a small thin rod, then insert in your ear (as opposed to trying to fit the puffed earplug in), the earplug will puff open in your ear and shut out sound. Make sure you get the end of the plus inside your ear (so it doesn’t slide out). It doesn’t shut out all sound but TREMENDOUSLY quiets sounds.“Comfortable and when you have them in your ears, it just feels like a good comfortable pressure.”
    3. Neck pillow
      Every traveler knows we sometimes must sleep in weird places. Whether you have an overnight flight, a long bus ride, or a layover in an unfamiliar airport, you gotta sleep sometime. A neck pillow is worth having on hand. You can get this one from Amazon for $10.95. It is a memory foam pillow with a removable, washable microfiber cover, and a strap so you can attach it to your luggage instead of trying to pack it. It also has a 2-year guarantee and 4.3 stars on Amazon.

      5 star review from Amazon user Sharon G Hook
      “This pillow is very comfortable because of its softness and [cradling] effect. I use it everyday as I have a neck problem. It seems to give me the support I need. I would recommend this pillow to anyone who is looking for a bit of relief.
      If I had one negative it would be that on hot days the composition of the pillow can be a little warm.”
    4. Backpack
      What is a backpacker without a backpack? If you would like to travel light, you can avoid checking a bag by fitting all of your belongings into a backpack. But you must be sure that that backpack is comfortable, or you won’t want to haul it around. Not every style works for every person, but Osprey backpacks are my personal favorite. They have a lifetime, no-questions-asked repair and replacement policy. I’ve carried Osprey packs in all sorts of climates and conditions spanning three continents and I’m still convinced they’re some of the best bags on the planet. Tortuga also makes some really amazing packs that are designed with international travel in mind. If you want some examples, here is a men’s and a women’s backpack from Osprey to get you started. The men’s one is my current go-to pack for hiking and international travel.

    1. Converters
      Whether you need an adapter or a converter often comes down to the voltage in the country you’re going to, and the type of device you’re trying to use. Most modern laptop and cell phone chargers will convert automatically, while simpler appliances such as hairdryers and electric razors won’t. Do some research on your specific destinations and devices to determine if you need one. If you do, grab this all in one converter. It’ll work in most destinations and one gadget is better than five! It’s Prime eligible, has an average rating of 4.5 stars, and is $19.97.

      Four star review from Taylor:
      “Honestly, before I went on my trip to South Korea, I was freaking out about adapters and feared that my things would get fried. Thankfully, this adapter worked amazingly well! I used it for my computer and iphone. There are a lot of reviews about other adapters out there and how they don’t work or they worked for a short time. I can definitely say that this adapter worked for me while in Korea.”
    2. USB travel adapter
      For those times when you need a to plug in your phone or camera but don’t want to mess with a converter, travel adapters are a good option. These adapters come in a pack of two, and each one has two USB ports. Offer to lend the second one out to someone in your hostel who forgot to bring one, and make a new friend! At $10.99 for a two pack, these are definitely a worthy investment. They’re also Prime eligible! They average 4.1 stars over 287 reviews.

      5 star review from Fred Sandsmark:
      “We bought a two-pack of these for a three-week trip to Italy. They performed perfectly for charging two iPhones, a Fitbit, and a Kindle. They also provided a nice green night light. Well worth the price.”
    3. Packable rain jacket
      A good rain jacket is one of those things you’ll forget you have until you really need it. For lightweight international travel, the best thing is a jacket that packs into itself. These jackets usually have a small pocket or stuff sack that allows you to stuff it away into a beer can sized lump. The outdoor industry has made some incredible strides here, with some jackets packing small enough to go into your pocket and weighing only a few ounces. You don’t have to go that high-tech though, a simple one from Columbia will work fine. That’s what I carried in India to keep the monsoons out. It is $54.58+ from Amazon where is has a 4.5 star rating over 47 customer reviews.

      Five star review by Brian Baker:
      “What can I say. It is a Columbia!! Every Columbia product that I own is a great piece of equipment/clothing!! Hands down some of the best gear you can buy. Love this jacket! I would buy again for sure!!”
    4. Packing cubes
      It may seem counter-intuitive to add items to your luggage to save space, but packing cubes are a lifesaver! They help to pack down clothing and to organize it so you don’t have to dump your underwear everywhere to look for that red t-shirt you just have to wear today. These cubes from Amazon are lightweight with a zipper and handle on each of the 4 bags. They’re $16.02+ and have a 4.8 star review.

      5 star review from Deb:
      “I love these packing cubes! I got them to help organize my backpack for an upcoming trip to Thailand. They are the perfect size and free up a lot of space! I fit all my clothes in 3 cubes and I’ll use the 4th cube for my toiletries and accessories. The quality seems good, I will add to my review if anything negative happens after my trip. Fast shipping as always. Happy customer!”
    5. Sink laundry detergent
      You gotta do what you gotta do, and sometimes that means scrubbing your underwear in the sink because you don’t have access to/can’t afford a laundry mat. This sink-friendly laundry detergent will be a lifesaver. This one from Amazon comes with 12 packs of Tide for $16.83 total and a 4.1 star rating.5 star

      review by Nine Cats Corner:
      “This was far more useful than I thought it would be. We recently made a 3 week trip to the United Kingdom, hopping around the country, and staying in multiple hotels. Packing lightly was a necessity. Every night we washed out our shirts, socks and undies, hanging them to dry on cheap plastic hangers we’d brought with us. Having these little sink packs of Tide was easy and convenient. One pack usually washed out 2 shirts, 2 socks, 1 undershirt and 2-3 undies…These Tide sink packs sure beat lugging bottles of anything.”
    6. Roll-up clothes line
      Hey, if you’re washing your clothes in a sink, chances are pretty slim that you’ll be able to throw them in a dryer when you’re done. So, you’ll have to hang them to dry. Please don’t dump them on your roommate’s bed. Try out this clothes line instead! $19 and Prime eligible, with free returns. It’s also solidly rated at 4.5 stars.

      5 star review from W3KO:
      “I now have two for traveling. Longer trips need more hanging space for two people. The Velcro straps make it adaptable to hanging in a variety of places. Highly recommended for travelers.”
    7. Microfiber Towel
      A lot of people absolutely hate them, but there’s no beating a microfiber towel for its weight and quick drying ability. I never travel abroad without mine. The biggest drawback for some people is that it’s not the warm and soft sensation you’d get from a normal bath towel. If you can get used to it, there’s no better alternative though. They pack up teensy tiny and weigh just a few ounces. So far I’ve used mine on three continents in climates ranging from icy Stockholm to scorching Lucknow, and it’s been a lifesaver every time. This one comes with a hand towel and stuff sack, in addition to being an Amazon’s Choice item at 4.5 stars and $13.35+.

      5 star Amazon review by Sam:
      “These are amazing for travel! Very small and compact for easy travel that doesn’t take up your entire suitcase. I bought these for study abroad and they are great. The large towel is very big so I can wrap it around my body and it is quite modest.”
    8. Shower Shoes
      Shower shoes are an essential for every traveler. You do not want to catch a foot fungus from a grimey shared shower. Don’t spend your vacation fighting athlete’s foot! Just wear shower shoes. You can get these slide-on slippers from Amazon for $8.99+. They come in 7 colors and men’s or women’s sizes. These are quick-drying which makes them perfect for travelers.

      5 star review from YR:
      “I took these on vacation to Mexico. I wore them on the beach, at the pool and in the shower. What I liked most about the shower shoes is that they didn’t slip or slide off my feet. They are very comfortable.”
    9. Sunglasses
      A good pair of sunglasses will be your favorite travel buddy. If you’re like me, you don’t want to spend any time squinting in the sun, or you’ll end up with a migraine. Trust me, you don’t want to spend your vacation in your room with the lights turned off and the curtains drawn because you can’t face the sun. These Ray-Bans fold up and come with a little leather case, which is perfect for throwing in your backpack. They have a 4.6 star rating and a $150 price tag.

      5 star review ByA. Daytonon:
      “I’ve bought many Ray-Bans on Amazon and so far have had good luck getting authentic ones each time. This folding pair is my favorite pair I’ve ever owned. I love being able to fold them up and put them in my jeans pocket or shirt pocket, then I don’t have to hang them from the front of my shirt or hold them while I’m inside.”Another 5 star review, by: L. D. Rafeyon
      “These are absolutely splendid! As advertised, lenses allow perfect clear vision, looks great on my face and fold-able. I dropped them on a hard surface with no breakage. Worth every cent! Accompanied by a beautiful zip case.”
    10. Flashlight/reading light
      Please don’t be that guy in the hostel who leaves a bright light on at 2am because they want to read a book or write a postcard. Invest in a small reading light and be a courteous roommate! This one is lightweight, USB rechargeable, and has 2 brightness settings. It has a 4.7 star review on Amazon and is $11.95

      5 star review from Amy:
      “I really like this book light!! Being able to recharge it in any USB port is such a great feature! Two lighting levels and the swivel light gives me flexibility wherever and whatever I am reading. I would highly recommend this light!”
    11. Passport cover
      Passports are valuable, and not just to you. Many passports are stolen. A common scam regarding passports is RFID skimming. Hackers and thieves can “skim” your passport information while it’s in your pocket or bag using simple electronics equipment. In doing so, they can steal your personal data remotely and either sell it or use it to make black market passports. The easiest way to protect from this is to invest in an RFID blocking passport cover. This one also has a slot for credit cards (another common target of RFID skimmers). At $7.99 and Prime eligible, it’s a worthwhile investment. There’s also free returns, just in case you change your mind.

5 star review from DKP:

“Great soft feel. Beautiful color. Passport fits perfectly with room for extra documents, credit cards etc. Glad I bought it”

  1. Tablet/kindle
    If you’re traveling long-term, you won’t be able to take the library with you (sorry!). Invest in a tablet or eReader instead of trying to pick your favorite book to bring along. The Kindle fire 7 tablet is available for $49.99 on Amazon. It comes with Alexa and Prime members have access to many books and movies for free.

    5 Star review by Julie:
    “…[The Kindle Fire’s] small size and light weight makes it ideal for carrying on car trips.”
    Another 5 star review, by Tammy:
    “Great, just the right size! [The Kindle Fire] fits in my bag. Great product”
  2. Pen and journal
    Write about your journey! Invest in a good pen and journal that you love so much you’ll be dying to put pen to paper and share your experiences. Even if you just keep the journal for yourself, future you will be glad you wrote everything down. Here is a great journal that should serve you well on the road. It’s lightweight, an Amazon’s choice item, and carries a 4.4 star rating. It’s Prime eligible, and affordably priced at $9.99.

    4 star review from Amazon User:
    “I’m happy to inform you that this note goes above and beyond what I expected. I’m a heavy fountain pen writer and travel in rough environments often, so any notebook I end up using for daily journaling needs to live up to some really high standards most consumer quality paper goods doesn’t seem to be able to match most of the time. This notebook completely surprised me. The quality of the paper is good enough that my thickly laden Lamy Safari with fine-medium nip is capable of writing on them without worrying about smudges or spill over into the back of the page. The spine and the requisite finish and binding are also excellent, with no wiggles or any weakpoints I can identify that could cause earlier than expected damage to the notebook structure itself.”
    For a pen, I recommend the Zebra F-701. It’s an all stainless steel pen that’s more than durable enough for traveling. I’ve been carrying one virtually every day for almost two years, and it still works fine. They’re only $6.72, and come with free shipping if you use Prime. They also average a 4.4 star review over 1,185 customer ratings.

    5 star rating from Dana Muwwakkil:
    “I love this pen! As a writer that still loves pushing pen to paper I am a huge fan of this pen. The ink flows out very smoothly and it’s a joy to write with. There is no skipping or streaking from the ink either which is a plus. I also love the way it looks, being stainless steel, it looks professional and has more weight to it than the average pen, making it feel expensive and luxurious. The clip feels strong and works well. There is a fine metal, mesh grip where your fingers hold the pen and it feels very comfortable. In all I say it’s definitely worth the price.”

Many thanks to David Anthony for all of his help writing this article, for his guidance in picking the perfect products, and all of the IT support he provided. Happy traveling!

Did you enjoy this post? What are some of your favorite travel must-haves? Share them in the comments below! Share this post via Facebook or Twitter and follow me right here on WordPress for more great content like this.

Disclaimer: if you follow the Amazon links in the body of this post and make purchases through them, I will receive a small compensation from Amazon. This compensation comes from Amazon, not from you, and the price you see through my links is the same as the price you would see otherwise.

10 Inspiring Hermione Granger Quotes

Hermione Granger is an amazing character. She is kind, brave, smart, independent, loyal, clever, vulnerable, hard-working, and is always willing to stand up for what she believes in. The following are just a few of my favorite Hermione Granger quotes.

10. “Just because it’s taken you three years to notice, Ron, doesn’t mean no one else has spotted I’m a girl!” Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire p.400

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Hermione likes Ron, but she’s not willing to let him be a jerk. Sometimes he was downright clueless. Instead of waiting for him to figure out what he wanted, she went out and lived her life.

9. “Are you planning to follow a career in Magical Law, Miss Granger?” asked Scrimgeour (Minister of Magic).

“No, I’m not. I’m hoping to do some good in the world!” Hermione

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows p.123-124

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When speaking to the most powerful wizard in Britain, Hermione shows nothing but sass. That takes some serious lady balls!

8.“Harry, you’re a great wizard, you know” Hermione

“I’m not as good as you.” Harry

“Me! Books! And cleverness! There are more important things– friendship and bravery and– oh Harry, be careful!” Hermione

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, p.287

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While she is often seen as a know-it-all, Hermione is truly quite humble. Here we see how much she admires Harry, and recognizes (at 12 years old, I might point out) that the things she is good at are not the only things worth being good at.

7. “Just because you’ve got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have.” Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix p.459

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Harry and Ron spend much of the later books perplexed by the opposite sex. Hermione acts as translator for the boys, and often gets frustrated with their dense responses. This quote is mostly here because it makes me laugh.

6. “We’ll go with you wherever you’re going.” Ron

“No–” Harry

“You said to us once before that there was time to turn back if we wanted to. We’ve had time, haven’t we?” Hermione

“We’re with you whatever happens.” Ron

Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince p. 651

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This one is a combo Hermione/Ron quote. It made the list because it demonstrates their unwavering loyalty to Harry and the cause the Order fights for. This is the time when they agree to drop out of school and join Harry on his journey to destroy the Horcruxes. Hermione, who loves school, who values her education and the pursuit of knowledge doesn’t hesitate to agree to leave Hogwarts to travel with Harry and Ron.

5.“And just look at these books! …Harry, this is wonderful, there’s everything we need here!” Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix p.390

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Books=Happiness in Hermione’s mind (and mine). She sees a room full of books as the answer to all of her problems, all she has to do is read.

4. “Well, if you two are going to chicken out, fine. I don’t want to break the rules, you know. I think threatening Muggle-Borns is far worse than brewing up a difficult potion.” Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets p.165

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Hermione is a rule-follower by nature. Attending Hogwarts means everything to her, but she’s willing to risk expulsion if it means solving the puzzle they’re facing and stopping the prejudiced attacks on Muggle-Born students.

3.“The way they were treating her! Mr. Diggory, calling her ‘elf’ all the time… and Mr. Crouch! He knows she didn’t do it and he’s still going to sack her! He didn’t care how frightened she’d been or how upset she was — it was like she wasn’t even human!” Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire p.139

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One of Hermione’s most admirable qualities is her fearless pursuit of justice for everyone in the magical community. Perhaps influenced by being a Muggle-Born and a bit of an outsider, Hermione always stands up for the underdog, to whomever is challenging their rights. Her outrage at the treatment of House elves is brushed off by her best friends, but she relentlessly pursues her goals of freeing the enslaved race of magical creatures.

2. “I hope you’re pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed– or worse, expelled.” Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, p.162

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Hermione always has her priorities in order. She knows what she wants and refuses to let anyone get in the way.

  1. “I mean, you could claim that anything’s real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody’s proved it doesn’t exist!” Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows p.411

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If I was to pick a single quote from the whole series that sums up Hermione, it would be this one. She’s skeptical, thorough in researching whatever her latest project is, and refuses to settle for less than the absolute truth.

Do you agree with my choices? What are some of your favorite book quotes? Share them in the comments below. Did you like this post? Share via Facebook or Twitter and as always, follow me here on WordPress for more GREAT content like this!

Sources:

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Images:

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/11/emma-watson-harry-potter-hair

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/What-Emma-Watson-Regrets-About-Harry-Potter-94597.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/some-people-are-pissed-off-about-the-casting-of-a-black-hermione-granger_us_5678486fe4b06fa6887e188a

http://www.sheknows.com/entertainment/articles/820401/Emma-Watson-dishes-Harry-Potter-and-the-Deathly-Hallows

http://emmawatsonstars.blogspot.com/2011/07/hermione-granger-with-her-books.html

21 Signs You Grew Up In the Country

Currently, I live in the city, and I have for most of my adult life. However, I spent my childhood in the middle of nowhere. It was fun to take a trip down memory lane and put together some things that are unique about living in the country. Enjoy!

  1. The nearest grocery store was 20+minutes away
  2. Waiting for 2-3 cars at an intersection was considered “traffic”
  3. You couldn’t see your house from the road
  4. You couldn’t see your neighbor’s house from your house
  5. You laugh when your friends describe their suburb as “the country”
  6. There was nothing in walking distance of your house
  7. You can recognize different types of crops
  8. You know the difference between cow-poop smell and horse-poop smell and pig-poop smell
  9. Your friends couldn’t find your house because the GPS won’t navigate to it properly
  10. Cable companies don’t offer services where you lived
  11. Hearing gunshots was not a cause for concern; you just assumed it was someone hunting
  12. Your neighbor’s cows or horses or goats have gotten loose and wandered into your yard
  13. You’ve had to stop in the road to figure out whose cows are blocking the cars
  14. You’ve been in a traffic jam caused by cows
  15. You know someone who claims that they got hit by a deer, not the other way around
  16. Folks near you drive pickup trucks for practical purposes like hauling horse trailers or carrying farm equipment
  17. You didn’t grow up with “neighborhood kids” because there was no neighborhood (and sometimes no kids)
  18. You could see the stars pretty much every night, so “star-gazing” wasn’t really a thing
  19. You could be loud and the neighbors wouldn’t complain because they couldn’t hear you
  20. The internet was really slow. Really, really slow.
  21. You enjoyed showing your friends from the city how to navigate through the woods, catch lightning bugs, and avoid poison oak, poison ivy, and briers

Did you grow up in the country? What are some other signs you grew up in the middle of nowhere? Share them with me in the comments below!

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25 Signs Adulting Isn’t For You

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  1. You only clean your apartment when guests come over
  2. By “clean” you mean “shove everything under the bed”
  3. You’ve accidentally used body wash instead of shampoo
  4. You’ve purposely used body wash instead of shampoo, because you ran out of shampoo
  5. Your kitchen sink is full of dishes, even though you haven’t cooked in days
  6. You’ve eaten cereal for dinner
  7. You’ve worn a bathing suit instead of underwear
  8. You tell yourself you reuse towels to save water, but it’s really to avoid doing laundry
  9. Leggings ARE pants
  10. You try to eat fruits and vegetables every day
  11. By “fruits and veggies” you usually mean “fruit-flavored gummies and veggie straws”
  12. You have “the chair” where you keep clothes that are too clean for the hamper, but too dirty for the closet
  13. You have a designated place for shoes, but they somehow end up in your living room floor
  14. You wash dishes…when you run out of clean forks
  15. Your pet has been to the vet more recently than you’ve been to the doctor
  16. You do laundry when you run out of clean underwear
  17. You’ve turned your underwear inside out and worn them again to avoid doing laundry
  18. After you finally do laundry, the clean clothes sit in a pile that you sift through for a week instead of folding and putting away
  19. A cascade of crumbs falls off your lap when you stand up after eating
  20. You also discover a collection of crumbs in your bra, which you eat
  21. You don’t say no to free food, even if you aren’t hungry, because it’s FREE
  22. You don’t say no to free alcohol BECAUSE IT’S FREE
  23. You realize you put your shirt on inside out–halfway through your day
  24. You get distracted while shaving and can’t remember if you shaved both legs or just one
  25. You sacrifice sleep for Netflix

Did you enjoy this post? What are some signs you’re not up for adulting? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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