Monday, June 12, 2017

DIY: A World Map Dress And Traveling Tips!

Ciao, bellas! I'm so thrilled that today my mama and I am heading out to Italy. This trip has been in the works for months and yet I still cannot believe that the big day is here. My mom has never traveled out of the country so I am thrilled to experience her very first European none other than Italy! 
Now y'all know I had to sew a dress for the occasion. I've had three yards of this world map fabric in my stash for some time and I thought that this trip would be the perfect occasion to frock it up. So I present to you my World Map Dress!
I used a combination of a circle skirt pattern (currently my fave) and a 1950's boat neck design. To be perfectly honest, I think that high neck might be a little hot on those 90 degree days they are projecting. But that's okay. I'll be in Italy! Bring on the endless scoops of gelato! That should be enough to cool a girl down. 
Despite the fact that it's my mama's first time aboard, I've actually been out of the good ole USA many times. I did my student teaching in Ireland where I caught the travel bug. While there, I meandered to Amsterdam, Belgium and Florence. Several years into my teaching career, I traveled to Japan via the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund (which I highly recommend to my all teacher friends!). When my husband started working for a German company, we began traveling to Germany quite a bit. Those trips often included visits to Amsterdam and Paris which you can see here and here. 

Through my travels, I've learned a couple things along the way. So I thought I'd share them here in what I've dubbed Tips for the Traveling Art Teacher! 
Tip #1: Use a Carry On Only. 

When I travel overseas, I like to travel super light, believe it or not. This means I don't check luggage. Instead, I use a pull-behind carryon and a travel bag as my two carryon pieces. Why? A couple of reasons, the first one being that I've had my checked bags lost before. Trust me, when you are in a foreign country, there's nothing worse than losing a suitcase full of essentials (a tip I learned from my husband: if you are going to check a bag, be sure and include your essentials and a day's worth of clothing in your carryon in case your luggage is lost). Another advantage to only using two carryon's: you won't have as much luggage to lug around. Mom and I are going to travel to a couple of cities. Limiting our luggage will make our lives a whole lot easier. So carryon's only it is!
Tip #2: Take Care of Bidness

When you are traveling out of the country, you really outta let your credit card company know. This will make it so they don't flag your card for fraudulent activity when they see you buying cappuccinos out the wa-freakin'-zoo. 

You also should check in with your cell service carrier. Let them know that you'll be traveling aboard and inquire how to set up your phone. Also, check your rates. It turns out the rates for using my phone are bananas while my mom's service has a much better deal. It's good to know before your go. If the rates for using your phone are cray like mine, consider installing the app WhatsApp on your phone. This app works via wifi and lets you call, text or video chat for free with the use of wifi. 
Tip #3: Safety First

On my first trip overseas, I stayed in youth hostels and I loved it. The rates where cheap, I met all sorts of folks and it really was a great way to immerse myself into the culture. However, with the good, there's always the not-so-good which, on a trip to Amsterdam, came in the form of bed bugs. I remember waking up and seeing my skin covered in what looked like hot pink highlighter pen markings. The "concierge" at the hostel recommended I walk myself down to the local convenience store, buy some Raid and spray my mattress...which I promptly, and in retrospect, foolishly, did. It indeed killed the bugs (and probably many braincells) and inspired me to put more focus on safety first. 

So, let's talk safety: when it comes to travel, your passport is the Golden Ticket that you just don't want to lose. Anything else that gets lost: your clothing, your souvenirs, your "priceless" Bump-Its, they can all be replaced. But that passport, among other things like la cashola and your phone, are pretty stinkin' important. So keep them on you at all times. And be smart when you do. I plan to take an entirely unattractive, grandma-esque, cross-body purse with enough zippers to confuse Houdini. Not what you expected? Remember: safety first. 
Tip #5: Don't Overbook Yourself

So, I'm an over-booker. I do it on a daily basis. In fact, you should see my To Do list. It's all "paint the Mona Lisa, climb Mount Everest, clean the fridge (what?! no.), mow the lawn, trim shrugs into the shape of a pack of llamas", you get the idea. It's pretty ridiculous. The same can easily happen when planning a trip. When digging into my travel books to Italy, I became determined that mom and I would see and do it all. I hopped onto TripAdvisor (dangerous territory) and started looking into food tours, wine adventures, bike trips, museum escorts (wait, what?!), you name it, I started booking it. 

Then I stopped. And I thought. For a second. 

If el mommo and I do all of the things, will we ever truly enjoy even a little of the things?
Probably not, y'all. And when I realized that, I stepped away from my travel books, websites and apps and just thought: we'll explore. And see where our adventure takes us. Where it does, I'll be sure and share with you!

Now, I'll be gone for several days but...y'all make sure to pop by here and visit. I've got many blog posts with fun announcements lined up just for you. Ciao, y'all! 
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  1. Best travel outfit ever! Even your luggage is cute. The bit about the Bump-Its made me laugh, and the bed bug thing is one of my worst fears. But at least it's behind you. Bon voyage!

  2. My husband and I are planning a 30th wedding anniversary trip to Italy next year. Since summer is the best travel time for us teachers, please let us know how the weather is during summer months. Also, let us know some great tips on places to see and things to do. Time is so short, I don't want to overplan as you said! Ciao!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. My husband and I went to Italy as part of a multi-country tour in July, it was hot and very crowded. I would plan my next trip in May/June as soon as the school year is finished.

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