Travel Gotta Haves

February 7, 2015 2 Comments

Ever have that feeling of sheer panic while you pack? Brittany gets that feeling about… always. Weekend trip? Panic. Two week trip? Panic. Open-ended backpacking trip across Europe? … PANIC overload. *Matt rolls eyes, exhales and exits room*

Here’s a little peek into our bedroom and the packing process

Annnnd, that has to fit where?! FYI Brit cut this down to about half in the end.

Packing was not an easy feat for either of us when prepping for this trip. We could only accommodate necessities to ensure all would cram into our backpacks, but it had to last for months. This trip, in particular, was a real toughie though – not only were we packing backpacks, we were juggling the task of packing everything else into boxes and put it in storage. Forget to pack something? Ohhh too bad, it’s now in a bag, in a box, at the bottom of a stack, deep in storage. The black hole of doom, not to be seen for months.

Although packing can be stressful, we’ve learned certain items remain in our weekly repertoire, time and time again. We’ve linked the products below, simply click the corresponding number. Everyone has different priorities and needs, but consider finding these items when making your next vacation or trip more comfortable.


1. Scarfs in general are heavenly in the colder months, but every girl (or boy!) needs a blanket scarf for traveling. These babies rock. I use mine on just about every airline, train or bus ride. ASOS has a great collection of them and they really are big enough to use as a blanket. Double thumbs up.

2. This travel pillow is by far the best we’ve used. Easily inflatable with a couple breaths and just as easy to deflate. The check-valve also makes it simple to adjust pressure after you’ve inflated. Effortlessly folds up and comes with a carry case. This pillow is ideal wherever you need to catch a few ZzzZzzz’s.

3. Fairly certain the bristles of this brush have magic in them. Especially if you have thin hair, which tangles really easily, this is the brush for you. The Wet Brush glides through wet or dry hair with ease. Ain’t nobody got time for nappy hair when on the move.

4. Okay, ladies, this one is for you. A curling iron is certainly not a travel necessity, but when it’s this simple to use and pack away … I’m bringing it every time. Cordless, butane- heated and compact. Curl your hair on the go. No brainer.

5. Everyone knows how amazing Lululemon is and if you don’t know, you really should. We don’t own everything Lulu by any means, but these Wunder Under pants really are the bees kness. Brit could wear these all day, every day. Stretchy, soft and perfect for traveling.

6. Germs are evil little b*****s and they are everywhere. The train, the taxi, the airline, the bus, the hostel, the public restrooms… you get the idea. No one wants to be sick while traveling, use this liquid protection and stay happy and healthy.

7. Matt swears by his REI daypack. Being the gearhound he is, he throws all the “essentials” inside and all that’s left is our adventures. Any day pack will do, really, but this one in particular seems to be on sale at the moment. Light, form-fitting, and full of utility = man’s real best friend.

8. We lucked out finding this down vest. Grabbing last-minute items from Costco, Matt stumbled across this $20 steal. The vest packs down to about nothing, folding within one of the pockets. We shouldn’t have to convince you down is premier when it comes to warmth:weight. Wear as an extra layer or alone.

9. Last, but certainly NOT least. The GoPro and GoPole combo. Certainly essential to capturing incredible memories and scenic selfies. Every adventurer/traveler needs one.

Leave us a comment and tell us your favorite travel items!

Blondie and the Beard

Couchsurfing in France

January 21, 2015 3 Comments

Wow! Talk about a blogging hiatus from your old pals Blondie and the Beard, huh!? Well, we’re back and plan to keep this blog regularly updated with exciting, adventurous and sometimes funny posts until we ultimately decide to check back into reality in the United States.

When we left you last, Blondie and the Beard had just wrapped up their time in London with Ed (We miss that guy lots!) and were off to couchsurf in France. We were lucky enough to meet a very generous lady, by the name of Catherine, a couple months back while staying at the YMCA hostel in Bath, England. Catherine had a bunk in our ‘dorm room’ at the hostel and after a friendly chat swapping travel stories in broken French and English, we quickly became friends. Catherine was leaving Bath the next day, but offered up her home to us in Montélimar, France, should our travels ever take us her direction. We exchanged email addresses with the promise to keep in touch.

Fast forward a couple months as we planned out our arrival date for Switzerland, traveling from London to Switzerland and how we would fill the gap of time in-between. We scanned the map, while Brit suddenly remembered Catherine and her couchsurfing offer in Montélimar. Neither of us knew exactly where in the h-e-double hockey sticks Montélimar was, but with a swift Google Maps search, our problem was solved. Montélimar is conveniently located in the southeast corner of France and approximately 238 miles away from Vevey, Switzerland. We knew this would be a perfect resting point to spend some time before making our way to Matt’s uncle and aunt’s house.

Montélimar to Vevey map
Catherine was more than happy to accept our couchsurfing request for 10 days. The airline and train tickets were purchased and Blondie and the Beard were off to France. We see a trend here… making travel arrangements on a whim, no concrete plans – just the way we like it!

image1 (1)For those unfamiliar with, you’ve got to check it out. It’s a great little community, everyone sharing a common passion and love for travel. Continue reading…

Thanksgiving and Familiar Faces

December 17, 2014 1 Comment

It had been a little over a full month of WWOOF’ing and traveling while away from the comforts of home when Thanksgiving grew near. As the day of feast approached, we couldn’t help but feel a longing to be with loved ones.

Thanksgiving is likely our favorite holiday; mashing good company, delicious food, football and elastic waistline pants all in one, with extra gravy on top. We knew we’d miss out while abroad, but didn’t expect our homesickness tide to be this strong.

But, alas, there shined a light at the end of the tunnel… the Liikalas and Ed’s proactive dinner planning. Ed is a closet “Londonite” and we couldn’t have been more grateful. We dined at an “American” bar and restaurant: Jackson + Rye. Ed had done his homework; Jackson + Rye promised to serve a contemporary Thanksgiving dinner.

Brittany’s former co-worker and her dad, Carolyn and Michael (aka the Liikalas), had planned to be in London during the time we spent there. Looking forward to seeing a familiar face, our adventures on Thanksgiving day started in the morning. We awoke to a thoughtful and endearing handmade sign by Ed, wishing us a spiffing day.
IMG_4717Michael/Mr. Liikala, had meetings lined up during the day and Ed had to work, so the three of us hopped to – first giving Caro the official Oyster Card and tube transportation intro. Continue reading…