The Week That Was: July 31, 2015

And just like that, only one month of summer left to enjoy. I haven’t even made a single peach cobbler yet this summer! This weekend, I’m going to recruit Nora as my sous chef and do just that. Hope your weekend is equally delicious.

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Grilled peaches and pecans — another way to enjoy one of my summertime faves.

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We can learn a lot about ourselves outside of our comfort zone.

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My beloved white jeans have mysteriously gone MIA. Time to replace because they’re not just for summertime anymore.

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Proud to have actually finished a summer read this week: Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise. Delicious, easy read.

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Chicago-style or New York-style?

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With autumn around the corner, now is the time to detox the closet.

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It’s so sad that this is what dinner with family and friends has come to. Even sadder, I know a few who could use these placemats

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Have a lovely weekend!

The Week That Was: July 24, 2015

Lobster roll

I’m back East this weekend, visiting friends and their adorable kids just outside of Boston. I always get nostalgic when I come back and what’s more quintessential summer than the East Coast? Two highlights of my weekend will be a lobstah roll and watching the Red Sox at Fenway tomorrow.

Enjoy your weekend!

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Not just because I’m in Boston, but how did the lobster roll not make the cut of 20 foods around the world you must eat before you die?

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I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: roll — don’t fold — clothes before putting in the suitcase. That, and other packing tips here.

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What do you love doing that you aren’t doing? Get inspired.

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Road trips often create happy memories.

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My new favorite recipe find is this mango salsa that we made to top our fish tacos.

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Have a lovely weekend.

9 Things I Learned From a Juice Cleanse

Last weekend I attempted a three-day juice cleanse.  Less than 24 hours into the cleanse I called it quits. But nearly one day of cleansing taught me plenty.

  1. Preparation is key. Prepare the night before you start the cleanse. On the first day of my cleanse, I had to go to the grocery store because I was missing a few ingredients for my breakfast juice. Then I had to clean the kitchen because we still had a few stray dinner dishes in the sink. The night before, ensure that you have all of the produce you need. Clean your kitchen so that it’s free of clutter and set up an area to juice. Get out your juicer and put it together, and pull out any extra containers you might need. While I love our Breville juicer, the pitcher that comes with it is relatively small and doesn’t even contain some recipes, so I had to use a larger pitcher and juice in batches.
  2. Prep your produce properly. Many fruits and vegetables simply need to be washed before they’re fed into the juicer. Others need more preparation. The Reboot plan that I followed has a handy guide that outlines how fruits and veggies should be prepped for juicing.
  3. Juicing is expensive. And it’s even more expensive if you buy the organic variety of the dirty dozen. I now understand why some people choose to buy juice cleanses rather than prepare them themselves.
  4. You’re consuming copious amounts of produce. And a lot of it will likely be kale and other fibrous fruits and veggies. As my juicing guru friend told me, prepare to get cozy with your bathroom.
  5. Hangry is a real thing. This is not rocket science. Hunger causes irritability.
  6. Juicing is not toddler-friendly. It’s probably not baby-friendly, either. Despite the fact that I was cleansing and hangry, I still had a two-year-old daughter to care for and entertain. Luckily, my husband was home, too, and it was nice to have an extra set of hands and brain power to keep little miss entertained. (Also, thank you to The WigglesThomas the Train and Sesame Street.)
  7. Busy is good. An old colleague juiced semi-regularly, and she said it was important to keep busy. Of course, as a single, child-free woman, “busy” to her meant scheduling massages, napping, going to the movies and other amazing activities — when cleansing. I imagine a massage would’ve felt lovely on Friday afternoon, hours before I decided to kaibosh my three-day cleanse. Obviously, the thought is to keep yourself so busy that you don’t really think about eating. Distract yourself.
  8. You will lose weight. I lost nearly two pounds in less than a 24-hour period. I’m not condoning a juice cleanse for weight loss purposes, as it’s not maintainable, but I suspect you will shed a pound or two.
  9. It’s okay to quit. Not everyone is cut out to solely drink juice for three days. I’m not. I beat myself up about it for a tiny bit of time, but I’m totally over it. And now I know.

My Three-Day Cleanse Diary

Remember that three-day cleanse I wrote about last week? I wish I was writing to tell you that I powered through the cleanse and have beautiful, glowing skin and so much energy that I don’t know what to do with myself. Spoiler alert: this is not what I’m writing to share with you. The cleanse was a bit of a… disaster. I almost made it through one full day, but not quite.

Day 1:

I woke up a little before 7 a.m. and, remembering that we didn’t have any sweet potatoes for our breakfast juice, decided to run to the grocery store before traffic got crazy. I got the sweet potatoes and the rest of the fruits, veggies, tea and coconut water that we’d need for the first two days of our three-day cleanse. I paid around $90. For this:

3-day juice cleanse

Around 8 a.m. I had a cup of hot water with lemon. I’ve heard people rave about this and had never tried it, but it’s not bad. It’s quite… cleansing. By 9:30 a.m. I still wasn’t particularly hungry — I don’t ordinarily eat breakfast, just have coffee — but I had my breakfast juice: peach delight. I figured I should have it then so that I could enjoy my coconut water as my mid-morning snack before lunchtime. Yes, I looked forward to a coconut water treat. I enjoyed my “breakfast.” The peach delight is one of my favorites. It’s satisfying and has a yummy, sweet taste.

By 11:30 a.m., I was tired. Not hungry, per se — tired. My day normally starts with two cups of coffee. I need the caffeine. My body was struggling. So I decided it was a good time to enjoy my coconut water.

Between noon and 1:30 p.m.  I started feeling super hangry. Full-fledged hunger hit me. And I was oh-so tired. I prepped our green juices for lunch and dinner and damn, it’s a lot of work. Now I see why people bitch about cleaning the juicer, and better yet, why people just buy juice cleanses. I had kale everywhere and the last thing I wanted to do was drink a juice made of it.

Around this point, I came to the conclusion that juicing was a lot like breastfeeding (my brain could’ve been off due to lack of caffeine and the rest of the garbage I put into my body on a daily basis). The two are quite similar in that you put in all this effort — both are a production — you clean up the mess and you just want to take a nap, but you can’t. Because you have to start the process all over again. It’s exhausting.

By 1:30 p.m. I told KP that I thought I was finished. Then I drank my green juice and took a nap. Somehow bits of kale from the soles of my feet ended up in our bed. I hoped by some miracle I would wake up with more energy and feel renewed, with a desire to drink my afternoon snack, my dinner and my dessert juices. Nope. I woke up with a headache and hunger. The detox-like part of the cleanse?

Despite being angry with the world, I also felt enlightened. After sitting on the couch for about five minutes, contemplating, I decided my cleanse was over. Not even 24 hours into the three-day cleanse and I was over it. I came to grips with the fact that I am simply not cut out for this.

With what did I break my cleanse? Strawberries. And then it went downhill from there… KP fell off the wagon later that night, too. Misery loves company.

Day 2:

I woke with a spring in my step, not kale on my heels — a spring in my step. I don’t know if it was because I had nearly a full day of cleansing under my belt, or because I kicked the cleanse to the curb — I’m betting on the latter.

I thoroughly enjoyed my usual two cups of coffee — with hazelnut creamer — for breakfast. It paired nicely with a slice of homemade zucchini bread.

But rather than go back to normal, KP and I decided we’d do what I’ve done before — replace one meal per day with a juice. It’s not remotely as intense as all juice and nothing but juice all day, but it’s still a good way to incorporate a healthy juice into the day. We had a green juice for lunch and I actually felt pretty great afterwards. Or maybe I felt great going into it since my day started off with a solo trip to Target. Either way, I felt good.

We went all out and really broke the cleanse that evening — dinner at Maudie’s, one of our favorite local Tex-Mex places.

A wise woman pointed out: avocado juice, tomato juice, lime juice, agave juice
A wise woman pointed out: avocado juice, tomato juice, lime juice, agave juice. Not pictured: KP’s raspberry juice.

Day 3:

By day three, life was back to normal — that is, our new normal with one juice per day. Feels more manageable. More realistic.

I can’t imagine how I would’ve made it through three days of straight juicing. Admittedly, I’m a little bummed. I thought I had more will power. But I knew things were going downhill when, on day one, I compared less than 24 hours of cleansing to what a drug addict in detox might feel like. Perhaps a bit dramatic. Still, I’m glad that I gave it a shot and knew when to concede.

The Globetrotting Gal’s New Look

A while back, I mentioned that The Globetrotting Gal was changing a bit. If you’ve followed the blog since then, you’ve already been reading the changes. I’ve been posting about things other than travel, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading as much as I’ve enjoyed writing.

But I’m most excited about today’s changes. You might’ve noticed that The Globetrotting Gal has a slightly new look, with an official logo! I’ve been wanting to add a logo for some time but didn’t do it until now for a number of reasons. Luckily, I have a super talented friend, Elaine, who designed this beautiful logo for me.

While it was difficult to choose from the handful of logos that Elaine designed, I narrowed it down to three… and then to this one that you see above. It’s clean yet striking. And I love how “globetrotting” stands out. When Elaine explained her intent with the design, I knew it was the right fit.

“Combine a typewriter font with a computer font in a fresh way — a nod to writing in general.”

That’s exactly what this blog is all about — my writing. It fits perfectly. And I am so, so thankful to have such a talented friend.

(If you want to know more about Elaine and her innovative business — which is not designing blog logos — you can do so here.)

Help Refresh My Running Playlist

Running

My running playlist is in need of some new jams. Even on shuffle, I get tired of hearing the same 100+ songs over and over again. Do you have a running playlist? A workout playlist? What’s on it?

While I tend to listen to what I suppose is labeled “modern rock,” everything’s fair game when it comes to my running mix. I actually like a lot of pop, hip hop and even some rap. I like poppy, upbeat music when I run.

Please, please, take a look at the songs on my current playlist and help me add some more! I’m open to podcasts or books, too.

  1. “Don’t Wanna Fight” by Alabama Shakes
  2. “Dearly Departed” by Shakey Graves
  3. “Things Happen” by Dawes
  4. “Love Like This” by Kodaline
  5. “Jackie and Wilson” by Hozier
  6. “Steal My Girl” by One Direction
  7. “Kiss You” by One Direction
  8. “Best Song Ever” by One Direction
  9. “Tear In My Heart” by Twenty One Pilots
  10. “Dreaming” by Smallpools
  11. “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay
  12. “Ink” by Coldplay
  13. “Don’t” by Ed Sheeran
  14. “Sing” by Ed Sheeran
  15. “Man In the Mirror” by James Morrison
  16. “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon
  17. “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen
  18. “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift
  19. “I Lived” by OneRepublic
  20. “Magic” by Coldplay
  21. “If I Lose Myself” by OneRepublic & Alesso
  22. “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
  23. “Rock and Roll All Nite” by Kiss
  24. “Talk Dirty To Me” by Poison
  25. “Roar” by Katy Perry
  26. “Freedom” by George Michael
  27. “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond
  28. “Story of My Life” by One Direction
  29. “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction
  30. “One Thing” by One Direction
  31. “Brave” by Sara Bareilles
  32. “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
  33. “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea
  34. “Bonfire Heart” by James Blunt
  35. “Bruises” by Train
  36. “Invisible” by U2
  37. “Catch My Breath” by Kelly Clarkson
  38. “It’s Time by Imagine Dragons
  39. “On Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons
  40. “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey
  41. “Under Pressure” by Queen & David Bowie
  42. “We Are Never Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift
  43. “The Whole of the Moon” by The Waterboys
  44. “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams
  45. “We Are the Tide” by Twenty One Pilots
  46. “Whistle” by Flo Rida
  47. “Payphone” by Maroon 5 feat. Wiz Khalifa
  48. “Stereo Hearts” by Gym Class Hereos feat. Adam Levine
  49. “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys
  50. “No One” by Alicia Keys
  51. “We Found Love” by Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris
  52. “Not Over You” by Gavin DeGraw
  53. “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You” by Kelly Clarkson
  54. “Rumour Has It” by Adele
  55. “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People
  56. “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida
  57. “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” by Beyoncé
  58. “Forever” by Chris Brown
  59. “Hey Mama” by Mat Kearney
  60. “Good Life” by OneRepublic
  61. “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + The Machine
  62. “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” by Coldplay
  63. “Hello” by Martin Solveig & Dragonette
  64. “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne
  65. “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin'” by Scissor Sisters
  66. “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga
  67. “Umbrella” by Rihanna feat. Jay-Z
  68. “Starlight” by Muse
  69. “Innocent” by Our Lady Peace
  70. “The Anthem” by Good Charlotte
  71. “A Little Respect” by Erasure
  72. “Kung Fu Fighting” by The Crystal Method
  73. “Champion” by Kanye West
  74. “Murray” by Pete Yorn
  75. “Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)” by Pras
  76. “Stronger” by Kanye West
  77. “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay
  78. “Lost!” by Coldplay
  79. “Lovers In Japan/Reign of Love” by Coldplay
  80. “4 Minutes” by Madonna feat. Justin Timberlake and Timbaland
  81. “World At Your Feet” by Embrace
  82. “Beat Goes On” by Madonna feat. Kanye West
  83. “Disturbia” by Rihanna
  84. “Dancing With Myself” by Billy Idol
  85. “She’s So Lovely” by Scouting for Girls
  86. “Heartbeat” by Scouting for Girls
  87. “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by Elton John & Kiki Dee
  88. “I Want You Back” by Jackson 5
  89. “Rainy Day” by Coldplay
  90. “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz
  91. “Live Your Life” by T.I. feat. Rihanna
  92. “American Boy” by Estelle feat. Kanye West
  93. “Gives  You Hell” by The All-American Rejects
  94. “Ragoo” by Kings of Leon
  95. “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga
  96. “Paper Planes” by M.I.A.
  97. “Still Not a Player” by Big Pun feat. Joe
  98. “Gold Digger” by Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx
  99. “Hey Mama” by Kanye West
  100. “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson
  101. “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” by Michael Jackson
  102. “Scream” by Michael Jackson
  103. “Love and Memories” by O.A.R.
  104. “Little Secrets” by Passion Pit
  105. “California On My Mind” by Wild Light
  106. “Kids” by MGMT
  107. “Daylight” by Matt & Kim
  108. “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train
  109. “I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas
  110. “Show Me What I’m Looking For” by Carolina Liar
  111. “Shattered (Turn the Car Around” by O.A.R.
  112. “Get Down Tonight” by KC & The Sunshine Band
  113. “Say Hey (I Love You” by Michael Franti & Spearhead feat. Cherine Anderson
  114. “OMG” by Usher feat. will.i.am
  115. “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga
  116. “Ditty” by Paperboy
  117. “Bootylicious” by Destiny’s Child
  118. “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga
  119. “All For You” by Janet Jackson
  120. “California Gurls” by Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg
  121. “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry
  122. “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz
  123. “Club Can’t Handle Me” by Flo Rida feat David Guetta
  124. “Break Your Heart” by Taio Cruz & Ludacris
  125. “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars
  126. “Firework” by Katy Perry

The Week That Was: July 17, 2015

Juicing

Today KP and I are starting a three-day juice cleanse. Whole Foods now owns us and every penny we once had. I am not remotely looking forward it, but we both agreed that we needed a kickstart to getting back on the healthy eating track, and any weight loss will be icing on the cake. Argh. Cake… something I won’t be eating this weekend…

My juicing experience to-date has consisted of replacing one meal per day with a fresh, homemade juice. Surprisingly, some of the juice recipes I’ve tried are quite tasty and mildly filling. Still, nothing but juice for three days is going to be a challenge. I’ll report back once I’ve recovered.

Enjoy your weekend and please indulge in some summer goodies for me.

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It’s been so long since I’ve bought a new handbag. Eyeing Liberty London’s gorgeous Marlborough tote, in Oxblood, please.

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I’m envious of these kids’ passport stamps.

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Feeling saucy? Infuse your own vodka at home.

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Despite the blistering heat this week, I can still think fall. And I think I need to add these adorable booties to my collection. P.S. I love that Sole Society shows you how to wear the shoes, a la Stitch Fix.

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When Nabisco started introducing Oreo flavors, I thought the idea was stupid. An Oreo is an Oreo, period. That was until they introduced the addicting s’mores Oreo. I swore I wouldn’t buy another package after we devoured the one I bought on a whim, yet they ended up in my shopping cart again this week. Oops.

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Mrs. Meyer’s is my go-to for hand soap and some cleaning supplies. A little birdie tipped me off to their free shipping offer (and the fact that most things are cheaper than at my beloved Target).

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Have a lovely weekend.

A Trip to Grant’s Farm in St. Louis

The Bauernhof
The Bauernhof at Grant’s Farm

We recently spent a week at my parents’ house in Southern Illinois. I love returning to the sleepy town that I grew up in, and more specifically, to the house that I grew up in — not just because my mom cooks for us and does our laundry (thanks, Mom!). Though, those are nice perks. Going home is almost always so relaxing. The pace is much slower than our normal day-to-day.

While I welcome a slower pace with open arms, I have a two-year-old who has yet to learn the definition of “slow pace.” So I tried to think of some things to do with Nora while we were in Illinois. Grant’s Farm in St. Louis was at the top of my list. It’s a great place to take kids of all ages, including toddlers. Grant’s Farm is essentially a mini zoo with some hands-on activities. I find it to be a little bit less of a production than the St. Louis Zoo (which is also great, by the way). I hadn’t been to Grant’s Farm in probably over 20 years, but not much has changed since then.

Upon arrival, you board a tram and are driven through the area called Deer Park. We saw animals from all over the world, including cows from India and deer from China. Riding the tram was the main fascination for Nora, though, not so much the animals. The ride ends at Tier Garten, where you disembark and see other animals like llamas, camels, zebras and birds. You can also choose to ride a carousel or a camel, depending on how risky you’re feeling. There are baby goats to feed, as well as parakeets. Yes, if it strikes your fancy, you can walk into a cage full of birds and feed them.

Parakeet feeding, AKA, my worst nightmare
Parakeet feeding, AKA, my worst nightmare

I don’t think Nora even realized there was a massive cage full of birds when we walked by (phew). She was content to simply watch those that had a bit more freedom.

Checking out the macaws
Checking out the macaws

The path through Grant’s Farm ends at The Bauernhof, where you can indulge in brats and pretzels in the European-feeling courtyard. Off of the courtyard are the stables which house the famous Clydesdales, as well as the hospitality room, where you can enjoy Anheuser-Busch products (if you’re 21, of course).

We spent somewhere around an hour and a half to two hours at Grant’s Farm. There’s no admission fee but it costs $12 to park. A great little way to spend a morning!

The Week That Was: July 10, 2015

Sleepy

This sums up our week: sleepy. All three of us have been unusually tired all week. Even Nora slept in til 8:00 most days. (Yes, for those of you who don’t live with a toddler, that is sleeping in!) KP attributes it to our first week at home, post-vacation. And he’s probably right.

KP and Nora can catch up on sleep all they want this weekend. I’ll be busy hosting one of my girlfriends from New York. I was thinking today how we haven’t seen each other in nearly five years. It’s time for an in-person catch-up!

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, have a good one.

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How many of these most photographed places in Europe have you been to? Only four for me. Time to work on the passport stamps.

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… then again, if this unbelievable airline seat design ever comes to fruition, I’ll be grounded indefinitely.

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In case you need to be reminded why U2 is the greatest band on earth, this. I got chills for Stephanie watching this! I knew I should’ve never given up on the guitar…

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Giada never lets me down. Last night we tried her delicious balsamic BBQ sauce recipe. Repeat!

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When you gotta go, you gotta go. Know what to expect from toilets around the world.

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Yep, this looks like my typical Sunday. And Saturday, for that matter.

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Have a lovely weekend.

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6 Must-Haves for a Road Trip With Your Toddler

I vividly remember summer road trips when I was a kid. The first one I can recall was when I was four years old. My mom and grandma drove my two sisters and me to visit our great-aunt in Miami, Florida. It was just a wee 18-hour drive from Illinois, which was thankfully spread across two days. My two sisters and I piled into the backseat of Mom’s Ford Granada and had to keep ourselves busy. One vacation treat we always got was a new Barbie doll, but of course the novelty quickly wore off. So we would color in Barbie coloring books, play travel Connect Four, play a version of I spy, catalog other cars’ license plates in hopes of seeing one from each of the 50 states and gesture at truckers to get them to honk their horns.

I like to think Nora will do some of those same things on our road trips in years to come. We already attempted I spy on our last road trip, and that lasted for about three minutes. Luckily I had plenty of other ways for her to pass the time in my arsenal of Mom goodies.

Before we take a road trip with Nora, I pack up one reusable shopping bag full of stuff that I think might entertain her for some period of time. A trip down the dollar aisle at Target is a great place to find cheap things for road trips, but a lot of those items are geared towards older kids, and Nora’s only two. On our recent 14-hour road trip to Illinois, I was very thankful to have packed these six road trip must-haves in my Mom bag:

  1. Crayola’s Color Wonder Color & Go set is recommended for ages three and up, but Nora did just fine with it. If you’re unfamiliar with Color Wonder, the magic is that the markers only color on Color Wonder paper. So no biggie if the uncapped marker falls on the car seat, or your child is like Nora and likes to color all over herself/himself. The yellow case is perfect for travel, as it fits perfectly on little laps and has two clips to hold the paper in place.
  2. The iPad is reserved for long road trips, otherwise Nora would want to watch The Wiggles every time we drove to the grocery store. We make sure it’s loaded with plenty of videos — namely, The Wiggles and Sesame Street — and fully charged, then we pop it into this iPad headrest mount holder. Although the holder is designed to be mounted on the back of the front seat headrest, we used to jimmy it on the backseat headrest when Nora was still facing backwards in her infant car seat.
  3. Find the least offensive children’s music that you’ll be able to stomach for hours on end, and load up the iPod with tunes. Do yourself a favor and steer clear of Nora’s current favorite, Music Together’s Triangle Song Collection. Surprisingly, there is some children’s music out there that doesn’t make me want to jab my eyes out with a hot poker.
  4. … and when your kiddo’s tunes are just too much for you to take any longer without steering the car right off the road, pop these Kidz Gear headphones on her/his little head and enjoy the silence, or your own tunes. I found them at Target and we just used them for the first time. KP was skeptical but Nora thought she was pretty cool. Plus, there’s a volume control switch so you don’t have to worry about your child going deaf.
  5. It seems like a no-brainer to pack snacks, but I’m always surprised at the parents I see on airplanes who haven’t packed snacks for their kids. We try to be healthy, but rules get bent greatly for road trips. Nora is partial to these Earth’s Best Sunny Days Snack Bars.
  6. Stickers are the ultimate two-year-old treat, I’m learning. And they’re harmless, mostly. We learned that the stickers from Nora’s Sesame Street coloring book could essentially double as duct tape. We learned this after she covered her legs with them.
Do not try this at home, kids.
Do not try this at home, kids.

You don’t have to do or buy anything elaborate to keep your toddler entertained while on the road. Have options so that she/he can mix it up every so often, and if all else fails, a stop to stretch the legs and breathe some fresh air always seems to help everyone in the car.