The one item that has changed my travel game the most? Packing cubes. Seriously, if you’ve never used one of these space saving devices…do yourself a favor! Since making this life-changing discovery, I’ve tried a few different kinds. But today, I’d like to put the NOMATIC COMPRESSION CUBE to the test. Let’s see what I can stuff inside!
The NOMATIC COMPRESSION CUBEis made of rip-stop nylon so it is super durable and strong. What sets it apart from the other cubes I’ve tried is that it has two compartments. Not only that, there’s an extra zipper in the middle that helps compress everything down! The double compartment could be useful for a few different things — keeping dirty and clean clothes separate, organizing by type of clothes, or even a side per person if you’re a super minimal couple!
When the packing cube is full it is about 5 1/2 inches tall. However, by zipping the central perimeter zipper, that number can shrink down by about 2 inches! What?! The overall size of the cube is roughly 10 1/2 by 8 inches. For perspective, I have PURSES bigger than that!
Let’s pack some stuff up!
I tried to include some bulkier items that I might not normally take if I was one-bag traveling — like heavy duty yoga pants and jammy pants.
Here’s what I fit inside:
1 button down shirt
1 pair of yoga pants
1 pair of denim shorts
1 set of jammies (t-shirt and pants)
3 pairs of underwear
and 1 pair of ankle socks
The middle zipper is what makes it a compression cube!
My hope was that it would sit at the bottom of the bag like this!
Success! (You could honestly stack two in there!)
Look at all that room! Plenty of space for my laptop, another packing cube (or two!) and a toiletry bag. Plus, all the other pockets of the Tom Bihn are free for other goodies. If I were packing for an actual trip (instead of just experimenting), I would probably use the NOMATIC for everyday clothes (maybe tops on one side and bottoms on the other?) and use a smaller packing cube for underwear, socks, jammies, and workout clothes. Which would mean I could fit A LOT of outfits in a NINETEEN LITER bag.
Final verdict – This is a fantastic packing cube for smaller backpacks! The compression zipper really does a lot to bring the bulk down and double sides is super handy. This little baby holds a LOT!
Hi friends! As promised, today I’m going to fill you in on my recent trip to Los Angeles. In celebration of his birthday, my dear friend Adam asked if I would like to spend a few days in L.A. culminating in a Venice Beach birthday party. Of course I jumped at the chance! It was a wonderful excuse to spend time with him (we haven’t lived in the same city since college!) and see some of our other friends who call the West Coast home.
Lately, I’ve been really into reading diary-style blog posts (“I did this…and then we did this…”) so I decided to try that out for this post. I actually typed this up straight from my personal travel journal! Let me know if you like this method. Here we go —
After a morning of work, I Ubered to MIA with plenty of time for a leisurely, non-rushed experience. I boughtWhite Fur by Jardine Libaireat the airport Books & Books, grabbed a turkey bagel from Einstein’s, and ate while listening to Britney’s Gram: The Podcast. I nabbed some snacks for the flight. The flight to L.A. was 6 hours. On the plane, I read a few chapters from my new book and then watched The Glass Castle and Girls Trip. Long flights by yourself are kind of a treat (as long as you don’t have a man-spreader next to you), aren’t they? I landed at 8:30pm pt and met up with Adam, whose plane had also just arrived–no easy feat as LAX is huge. Colby picked us up and we stayed up (too) late talking. I had a couple glasses of red wine because California.
Not a great night of sleep (damn you time changes!) but I woke up ready to tackle the day, after some coffee of course. Adam and I went to M Cafe (a vegan spot in the neighborhood) and split a breakfast burrito and avocado toast before walking around West Hollywood for a bit. We planned out the rest of our day and decided to walk to The Original Farmer’s Market.
It’s a long walk but mostly through cute neighborhoods. We saw lots of bungalows (totally my vibe!) and kids dressed up for Purim. Once at the market, we walked around the stalls. The sticker stall was a clear favorite for me and I couldn’t resist buying a few sheets. (I mean who can resist ALPACA stickers?!) We also lingered in the stalls selling incense and essential oils. Free smells! There were a ton of food options but I settled on Loteria Grill and ordered huevos rancheros with warm corn tortillas. Then we stumbled into a fruit stall that smelled even more amazing than all those hippy-oils and bought some mangoes. There was a Zara nearby so we popped in for a quick browse. I ended up buying a marigold cardigan and justified the purchase because L.A. was much colder than I had planned and I needed an extra layer.
We then took an Uber to Colby’s apartment; our driver played old school hip-hop the whole way and it seemed like the perfect soundtrack to the passing scenery. Since we’d been walking all morning, we relaxed for about an hour at Colby’s before heading out to Runyon Canyon. We hiked a large loop which took us along a ridge with beautiful views of Downtown L.A. on one side and the Hollywood sign on the other.
We stopped at various benches to take in the landscape and take pictures, and chatted the whole way. I took a water from the “honor system” cooler on the way out, paying a dollar via Venmo. (Technology!)
From there, we made our way down to Hollywood Blvd, by way of Muji (my obsession), and saw the star clad side walk. Then we walked the red carpet (!) which was already set up for Sunday’s Oscars – just with a bit of plastic on top. It was fun to get a behind-the-scenes look. We also found another view of the Hollywood sign, saw more stars, and the apartment building from Pretty Woman.
After another chill sesh at Colby’s, we decided to call it a night after a quick pop-in dinner at Village Idiot.
I woke up quite early and read White Fur for a bit. Adam and I decided we both needed to do a little work to wrap up the week so we headed to Coffee for Sasquatch. This was the rainiest day (rain in LA?!) of the trip and the coffee shop was a cozy place to spend the morning.
After a little work we took an Uber to downtown L.A. to spend a few hours at The Last Bookstore. Adam’s birthday was the following day and he has a tradition of treating himself to a stack of books each year. I abstained from purchasing my own stack as it wasn’t my birthday but, honestly it had more to do with my one bag travel situation.
Still raining, we darted a few blocks to Bäco Mercat. Our meal here was definitely a highlight of the whole trip. Highly recommend! We split caramelized cauliflower to start and I had The Fava Fritter. So good! Adam grabbed a post-meal espresso at Tilt
and we took a hilarious Uber pool back to West Hollywood. (Hilarious because Adam and I know each other well enough that we can speak without needing to speak…and our car companions needed to be spoken about. Let’s just say I spent a portion of the ride staring out the window with tears coming down my face because I was trying so hard not to laugh!)
From there, we drove to Dan’s house in a borrowed mini cooper. The first half of the drive was stunning as we navigated through the Hollywood Hills in the rainy weather with jazz playing on the radio. Dan and his wife Samantha gave us a tour of their house and we spent some time visiting. Then we headed to a couple grocery stores to buy supplies for Adam’s party. Back at the house, we met Dan’s 2.5 year old daughter, Olivia.
Finally, we met up with Maggie at Los Feliz Theater (Recommend! Only $9.50 for a ticket and super charming!) and saw Red Sparrow. I snuck in a burrito bowl from Tacos Tu Madrewhich is right next door. Sorry, not sorry.
Birthday party day! Adam and I returned to M Cafe – I had oatmeal with berries and a juice (with lots of turmeric!). We ran up the street to a Trader Joe’s to get last minute supplies – water, snacks, beer – for the party. We drove to Venice Beach and dropped stuff off at Dylan’s apartment, the party locale. His place has an adjoining beachy courtyard strung with fairy lights, complete with picnic table and fire-pit. The three of us walked the boardwalk and got cold brew at a cute place nearby with outside seating (I don’t recall the name).
Party guests started to arrive, including Dan who was making all the yummy food, and Stephanie, who I hadn’t seen in almost 10 years. I also got to meet Colby’s boyfriend who had been at work when we hung out on Thursday. We dined on bean-burger sliders with coleslaw and homemade bbq sauce, tempeh kebabs, and chips with hummus and homemade salsa. Vegan BBQ-theme on point!! I also bought Adam a 9″ fruit tart from Whole Foods as his “cake” and, although we skipped the candles, we sang a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday. We made a fire in the fire-pit, talked, and listened to music.
I woke up at 4:30am and was out the door by 5:15. Made it to LAX without a hitch. Thank goodness for the early morning departure time. Paramedics were randomly resuscitating a woman on one of those metal tables in security and my pre-coffee consumption self was highly confused. She seemed to be ok by the time I made it through. I got a bagel (which I saved to eat on the plane) and coffee (which I immediately downed). On the plane I watched The Battle of the Sexes and hardcore creeped my seat mate’s business because I was convinced he was an air marshal – still no conclusive evidence on that one. I made it back to Miami just after 3pm est. Such a wonderful trip. So glad I got to spend time with Adam for his birthday!
Have you ever been to Los Angeles? What was your favorite part? Do you keep a travel journal with details from your trips? I love having a place to jot down the places I visit and the restaurants I want to remember. Hope you enjoyed this peek into mine!
P.S. Some of these photos were captured by Adam. Thanks boo!
If you’re around these parts long enough, you’ll learn I have an obsession with turning the day-to-day into endless opportunities for adventure. I love travel and the outdoors and exploring new-to-me places. Which means I’m always on the look out for products which will facilitate my whims!
The newest addition to my Every Day Carry: Adventure Edition is the HEROCLIP. This little doodad is the perfect thing to toss in your bag if you’re headed out for a hike, day at the beach, or any sort of travel. Here’s why…
Heroclip is a fully functional clip, with a rotating, folding hook. Meaning- you can hang your bag, water bottle, hat, beach towel, etc. off of just about ANYTHING. Hang your backpack off of the nearest tree branch on a picnic. Hang your purse off the table at your favorite dive bar. Hang your water bottle off your exercise bike. Hang your day bag off your wheely suitcase as you whisk it through the airport. YOU GET THE IDEA!
A few specs of note:
Heroclip rotates 360 degrees, folds at two joints for maximum versatility and has a rubber tip so whatever you are hanging will stay put. When not in use, the hook folds securely on to the clip. (So it’s easy to store in your backpack if you’re 1-bag travelin’!)
Since I’m down here in South Florida, I love using my Heroclip to keep my tote bag off the ground at the pool. (LIZARDS!) It’s also great if you have items at the beach that you don’t want to get sandy.
But my #1 reason for always having a Heroclip on hand?! SKETCH BATHROOMS WITH NO PLACE TO HANG A BAG!
If you’re traveling with all your worldly possessions in a single backpack, the LAST thing you want is to set that backpack in a puddle of pee. AMIRITE?!
Would you like to take Heroclip on YOUR next adventure? Lucky you! I’ve got one up for grabs that Heroclip was sweet enough to send me. To win, make sure you’re following me on one of my social media platforms – Facebook Twitter Instagram
–and leave a comment below telling me the last place you traveled to! I’ll choose a winner (randomly) next Tuesday, 10/10/17! (United States only.) Good luck!!
(Disclosure: I received products in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own and I only endorse brands I truly believe in!)
Hi guys! Last week was a lesson in rolling with it when plans change unexpectedly. Chet and I were planning on spending a few days in his hometown in Louisiana (I could almost taste the poboys and frozen daiquiris) before he presented at a conference at the local university. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans.
We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare (and even bought new books at the airport bookstore for our journey!) But after delays at the gate, delays on the tarmac, and delays on the phone as we tried to figure out if there was any possible way we could get to Louisiana…we ended up in a Lyft headed back to our apartment. *DOH!*
Even though we didn’t make it to our destination, I thought it would be fun to give you a peek into my travel bags anyways. I felt like my one-bag packing mojo was pretty spot-on this time around and I’d kinda like to have a post to reference the next time I’m traveling for 2-3 days by plane. And maybe it will be useful to you as well!
As always, I’m a forever devotee of my Tom Bihn Synapse 19. The newest member of my packing accouterments entourage is the Tom Bihn Side Effect, an awesome place to store all the little things you might need access to without having to sling a backpack off your back (See also: purse). It’s a great, little companion for my Synapse. 🙂
So without further ado, here’s what I packed for a 2-day (+travel days) trip to Louisiana by plane…
As you may have guessed from previous posts (like this one and this one), I’m low-key obsessed with my Tom Bihn backpack. I could regale you for hours with info about all it’s features. It is just so. dang. packable. But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding…
So, instead of tell you about all the versatile pockets and roomy compartments, I’m gonna walk you through a few of my favorite ways to pack the Tom Bihn Synapse 19.
1. Main Compartment
2. Shallow Center Pocket
3. Deep Center Pocket
4. Left Pocket
5. Right Pocket
6. Bottom Compartment
For 1 Bag Air Travel:
1. You’ll be amazed at how many clothes will fit in the Tom Bihn Synapse 19 with the help of a packing cube (or two). The double-sided packing cubes are genius if you want to keep your clothes organized (think: tops on one side / bottoms on the other OR day clothes on one side / loungewear on the other) or separate dirty and clean.
Your laptop or tablet will fit comfortably in this compartment as well.
2. This is the perfect space for all the small bits you may need readily available while up in the air. Tuck in your earbuds, your favorite lip balm, and a snack.
3. Slide your toiletry bag down in this front pocket and you’ll have no qualms about pulling it out when you go through TSA. This one from Tom Bihn has clear sides and was designed as a 3-1-1 toiletries bag for air travel. There’s plenty of room inside for all your essentials.
5. Think of this as your electronics pocket! There’s plenty of room for a camera and there’s an additional pocket along the lining that’s perfectly sized for a phone. Clip a clear organizer pouch to the O-ring inside and fill it with your various chargers. No need to frantically search for cables that have made their way to the bottom of your bag!
6. Finally, the bottom compartment will hold a pair of sandals or flat shoes, a pashmina to keep you cozy when the plane gets cold, and a collapsible poncho if you’re headed to a rainy climate.
For Working On-the-Go:
1. As this is the largest compartment, this is where your bulkiest items will go. If you’re working on-the-go this probably means your laptop as well as any notebooks, folders, and books you may need.
3. Amazingly enough, this pocket was designed by the folks at Tom Bihn as the perfect place to hold a water bottle. This is great for keeping weight distribution even and totally cuts down on spills. You could go with a classic or class it up.
4. Store your pens, memory cards, and a wireless mouse in this convenient side pocket.
5. The other side is perfect for all your chargers. Again – one of the clear organizer pouches would be perfect for corralling them all. And don’t forget to throw in a snack bar or two! It’s hard to work when you’re hungry!
6. Finally, the bottom compartment is a convenient location for your wallet. And it’s wide enough that it will accommodate a billfold style design. Don’t need that much space for your wallet? This is a great place to store an umbrella, as well!
For Having Outdoor Adventures:
1. Whether you’re hiking, biking, or just urban exploring; you’ll want to have a few essentials in your Tom Bihn Synapse 19! The main compartment is a great place to store an extra layer of clothing, in case it gets cold, and any equipment you may need to bring along. (Think: camera or video gear, tools, DRONES!)
2. Safety first! Don’t forget to bring a small first aid kit. Buy one or make your own out of an Altoid can. Making your own allows you to really customize the contents for your particular adventure.
3. Again, the Deep Center Pocket is the perfect place for your water bottle. Toss in a bandana, too. They have SO MANY uses. (Here are 25.)
5. If you’re venturing away from civilization, it may behoove you to reserve this pocket for “I can pee anywhere!” materials. Think: tissues, wet-wipes, anti-bac, etc. Of course, these could come in handy for other purposes, too!
6. Finally, pack a lunch! This bottom compartment will ensure your sandwich won’t get squished amidst all your other equipment and it’s spacious enough to accommodate an adventurer’s appetite! The menu, of course, is up to you.
Where would you take your Tom Bihn backpack? Do you have a favorite travel accessory you recommend to anyone who will listen? Tell me about it below!