October 2014 Recap

Friday, October 31, 2014

This Autumn has been especially delightful and I hope you have enjoyed it to the fullest. Today I wish you the happiest of Halloweens and a special weekend enjoying the last of the changing colors, especially if you are in the Midwest.

The month of October was a nonstop one with my most extensive travel for work. Thousands of miles were driven and flown through Iowa, Arizona, and Washington. I am thankful for safety and health among a crazy schedule. Jacob was able to join me in Arizona for a few days which was a much needed reunion. We even scored a free night at a super fancy resort and pretended like we were much more proper and high-class than we actually are.

One of my greatest of all friends was wed to her lover and we celebrated in all the best ways on a gorgeous Autumn Sunday. We made friends with the wedding party and enjoyed special moments with the bride and groom.

In the blogging world it has been a record breaking month for According to Laura Jean! Followers have nearly doubled and I have stepped into the world of Google+ (eek, I am still so lost). There have been some awesome opportunities that According to Laura Jean has been a part of like The Etsy Swap, #sharemyautumn, and The Great Christmas Exchange. Thank you friends so very much for your loyalty and commitment to this passion of mine. What an honor these milestones are!

Northwestern's homecoming acted as a mini-homecoming for myself upon my return home from traveling for a weekend. We loved being official alumni, cheering on our favorite Raiders, and getting together with new and old friends alike. House guests are my favorite. Plus the weather could not have been better!

Tell me about your October!
What were some highlights?

Laura's Best Travel Tips

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Our generation is in love with the concept of wanderlust and traveling the world. We are adventurers at heart and desire to see, experience, and know what is out there. It is a beautiful concept, really, and I am thankful for a career that allows me to see and meet other places and people across the country.

In theory we would jump in a hipster van, drive down the road less traveled, and forge a new path for ourselves. In reality however, travel takes a bit more preparation and thought to run smoothly. As a seasoned traveler, here are the best tips I have for being out on the road or adventuring the world. Go get 'em friends!

Plan Ahead
Maybe it is the Type A organizer in me, but planning ahead is my best friend. When plans are set in place and I know where I will be and when, life on the road runs much smoother and more naturally. There is a fine line between making plans and planning every moment of everyday out however. Allow yourself grace, spontaneity, and freedom to go out on a whim within your loose agenda.

Pack Lightly
Well obviously Laura you say, but really this is a struggle for me #bringmywholewardrobe. I am one of those who thinks well what if today I decide I want to knit even though I have not in months or I should bring these boots in case it gets below 50 with a chance of snow in the middle of September. Remember that everything you pack you need to lug around. Practice simplicity and only bring what you absolutely need, your arms will thank you in the airport.

Make Time for Rest
It is too easy to get in the mindset of jamming everything in to a such short amount of time. I struggle with this both for work trips and vacations but have learned just how valuable making time for rest is. Travel quickly becomes a nightmare on little sleep and a drained mind. Do yourself a favor and rest in down times. If you are looking ahead to a busy day, get a strong night's sleep beforehand and build times in your schedule to take a breather.

Ask the Locals
This is my favorite. Locals know everything and some of my best memories include members of the community telling me stories and tidbits about where they consider home. Instead of hitting up Starbucks for the third time in a week, stop by a grocery store and ask around for the best coffee shop. Spend time in local libraries getting a vibe for the culture and atmosphere of the community (added bonus of free wifi). Make friends with the waiter or waitress serving you lunch and exchange stories. It is so worth it.

Soak It Up
Live large and make the most of your times of travel! If you see a beautiful landscape out your car window, don't be afraid to pull over and take a picture of it (story of my life). It is a privilege to explore different parts of the world and see what makes each unique. Share your stories, relive the memories, snap a bunch of photos, and remember the significance of places.

What is your best travel advice?
Where is your favorite place to travel to?

The Great Christmas Exchange

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Let the countdown begin - only 56 days until Christmas! Maybe this number overwhelms you by everything between now and then or maybe if you are like me you have been sneaking in Christmas carols on Pandora every other day. Pine cones, wrapping paper, Christmas shopping, tinsel, JESUS. This season is the most glorious of them all.

The Great Christmas Exchange
Beth of Oak + Oats and Samantha of Elah Tree dreamed up a perfect way of celebrating the holidays with The Great Christmas Exchange. This gift exchange is an opportunity to share in the season of giving and gift some special Christmas goodies to a new friend. AND you have a chance to win some spending cash of your own. Community? Presents? Christmas? #allmyfavorites

The Details
To be a part of the greatest Christmas exchange around, jump on over to Beth or Samantha's blog to register! Their posts include all of the details like the timeline, dollar amount, and logistics of the exchange but trust me you don't want to miss out.

The Giveaway
Best of all, we want to help pay for someone's participation and also pitch in to help with all their other holiday shopping! I have joined in with Beth and Samantha along with several other of my bloggy besties who are participating in the campaign to give you the chance to walk away with $125 in PayPal cash! It is easy, just sign up for the exchange and then use the rafflecopter below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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