Sunday, January 13, 2019

Travel Tips, Accessories and The Most Comfy Shoes

I found some really neat travel accessories right before MY TRIP TO L.A. and thought I would share. 

This is the Running Buddy and some travel jars. I took a pic of them next to a coffee cup for size comparison. 

tips for carryon luggage

First up is the Running Buddy. It has magnets in it that attach to your waistband. It's such a neat way to carry your phone, I.D, credit card, cash and a key while running or hiking or on vacation if you don't want to use a purse. 

My aunt told me about it and I'm so glad she did. It opens up like this and you put it over the waistband on your shorts and the magnets on each side secure it. 

waistband running pouch

This is what it looks like opened up... 

It has a couple of pockets... 

makeup travel tips

And even a little zipper on the side, which would fit a key perfectly. 

It's so handy! It comes in different sizes and I ordered an XXL to fit my iPhone 7 Plus. Here's a link to the Running Buddy website:

So here's my next item. These plastic 1 ounce jars...

leakproof jars for travel

We all know about the travel restrictions in place for liquids. You're allowed as many 3 ounce (or smaller) containers that will fit into one quart size ziplock bag in your carry-on. The problem is that I have very specific "liquids" I want to take with me. For example, my makeup, concealer, mascara, my very favorite anti frizz shampoo, hair straightening serum, etc. 

I really can't leave home without these, lol. I have come to love my shampoo, conditioner and straightening serum so much that I wouldn't ever trust a hotel shampoo to do the same job. I feel the same way about my makeup items. I really love what I'm using and wouldn't want to be without it. I could always pack it in my checked luggage, but what if it got lost? The horror of not having my anti frizz shampoo! I'm totally not kidding! 

So I insist on carrying it with me in my carry-on bag. So...that means I'm restricted to what will fit in a quart size bag and each individual container can't hold more than 3 oz. But here's the deal, 3 oz is A LOT and I don't need nearly that much moisturizer, foundation, etc. even for a week long trip. 

So I've been on the lookout for smaller 1 oz. containers that won't leak. And you're welcome, because I did all the work for you and can tell you these are great and they definitely don't leak. :)

And look! You can fit NINE of them in one quart size ziplock! 

1 ounce jars for airplane travel

Another tip...use the "freezer" ziplocks because they're stronger and won't rip. 

I got these containers with the screw on lid at REI for $2.25 each. They come in different sizes too. 

travel jars that don't leak
They're called the Nalgene straight side plastic jars. 

Here's a link to them:

 Another quick tip...I always pack my carry-on with a full change of clothes (including undergarments and socks) along with one set of p.j.s, my beloved shampoo and conditioner, a disposable razor, moisturizer, my toothbrush, hair serum, solid deodorant, straightening iron, and all my makeup and soaps. That way, if my luggage ever got lost, I'd at least have my essentials for an overnight stay until it's delivered. Oh, and don't forget to always pack any prescription meds and glasses or contacts in your carryon too. You don't want to be without those. 

Another tip...I love these luggage tags! 

They're American Tourister brand and I got this two pack at Walmart for only $2.97.

Click HERE for a link to the luggage tags. 

I prefer this loop closure over the buckle kind. 

I also like that these are kind of "muted" and you can't clearly see your name and contact info unless you're looking closely at it. I don't like having my name and phone number on display at an airport. 

Another tip is to use a cross body bag for a trip. I used this one from Walmart every single day and it was great! My hands were free and it was just big enough for the essentials...

I always switch to this smaller wallet for trips too...

You really just need your driver's license, insurance card, cash and a credit card. 

I used this backpack when we went hiking...

I think I stole it from my mom many years ago. :) Actually, I did ask her if I could have it and she said yes. I've used it on every single trip since. It's perfect for holding a large water bottle and the essentials. I love that you can use it as a regular backpack with two straps like this...

Or you can zip the straps together and use it over one shoulder like this...

See the zipper on top in the pic above? Just zip it all the way down to connect the two straps like this...

I got it from my mom about 10 years ago and she had it for a long time before that, so I really don't have any info on it for you, except that it's Nine West brand. What I can tell you is that I was at Nordstrom Rack this weekend and they had several that were similar. 

Okay, now I should have purchased these before my trip, but I didn't. I found these shoes online right after we got back and ordered them from Zappos...

zappos great customer service

These are the Nike Revolution 4 and you can find them at Zappos HERE. They come in 8 colors and mine were under $50!

They are THE most comfy shoes! Here's the deal...I have the hardest time finding tennis shoes. You may remember I bought some Skechers a while back. They were great, but after wearing them on and off for about 9 months, I realized I can't go more than about 4 miles in them before my toes start to hurt. They're still great for everyday things like shopping, running errands, etc. Just not for long distance hiking, lol. 

I have big feet (size 10!) and my foot is narrow at the heel, but wide in the toe box. That wide toe box makes it so hard to find shoes that fit. Then I noticed a lot of people at Runyon Canyon had Nikes with this mesh look by the toes. It made sense that the mesh would have a little "give" to it and not cramp my toes as much. 

The mesh is key, I think. Especially if your foot is wide across the toes or even if you have bunyons. And the best part is that these don't make my feet look big! Again, the mesh kinda makes these shoes look smaller. I've had other shoes before that were bulky to begin with and when you add in that they're a size 10 on top of that, well...the words "clown feet" come to mind, lol! But not these. They actually look small on my feet. Love that! In fact, after all this talk, now I want to order them in another color too.

So I found these on Zappos. I ordered them on the spot and they arrived on my doorstep 23 hours later! Now that's good customer service! Zappos has free shipping and free return shipping. FYI, I did order the "wide" style and it fits great in the toes, and the heel. It doesn't slip in the heel at all. Sometimes when I get wide shoes, they fit fine at the toes, but are way too big at the heel, but not these. 

I think that's all the tips I have for now. What travel tips can you share?


Wednesday, January 9, 2019



I changed my Instagram name from Texas Decor to:

Southern Days Decor

You can now find me on Instagram @southerndaysdecor

If you're already following me on Instagram, you don't need to do anything. You'll still see my posts. The only difference is that it'll say "southerndaysdecor" instead of "texasdecor." My profile pic is the same. 

Nothing has changed with the blog. My blog address and email address will remain the same. The blog is still called Texas Decor and you'll continue getting my posts emailed to you if you're a subscriber and you can access my blog any time at:

Here's what I posted on Instagram to let everyone know about my new name...

And here's what I wrote on IG...

I always appreciate your kind comments and likes and I hope you'll continue to follow me at southerndaysdecor on Instagram. :) 


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Our Los Angeles Trip

Thought I'd do a little recap on our trip to LA. Dylan was off work for a few days in late December and he wanted to take a trip to LA. He knows Cali is my favorite place, so he asked if I wanted to go with him, his treat! That was a big ol' YES!!! So, I was up past midnight packing the Friday before we left and we got up at 4:30 AM Saturday morning to catch our flight. Surprisingly, I wasn't tired when we arrived at LAX. I was so excited to be here! 

We stayed at The Beverly Hilton and loved it! Very helpful staff and a beautiful hotel. This is the same hotel where the The Golden Globes were held last Sunday. We were there the week before the Globes, so they were busy setting up for it and it was so exciting to see! And a tip for you...Dylan booked our vacation on the Southwest Vacations website and it was much cheaper than paying separately for airfare and hotel. 

They had these heaters all over Beverly Hills. 

This is the Aqua Star Pool at our hotel. We had breakfast out here one morning and it was so relaxing. As I said, the Golden Globes are held at this hotel every year. This is the same pool that Angelina Jolie famously jumped into (while still wearing her dress) right after she won a Golden Globe. 

beverly hilton aqua star pool

I got lucky and caught a glimpse into the International Ballroom when they were setting up for the Globes...

More equipment for the Globes sitting around... 

Do you recognize these grass walls from the red carpet at the Globes? I recognized them immediately and pointed them out to Dylan, but he wasn't impressed, lol. So exciting to see them at our hotel! 

We were told this scaffolding was for the Globes too...

Here's a few pics of the lobby...

beverly hilton lobby

That's the International Ballroom and down those stairs to the right in the pic below is the Aqua Star Pool and Circa 55 restaurant. We ate at Circa 55 a couple of times and enjoyed it very much. 

If you're local in Houston, you'll appreciate this. Remember Anthony Yanez? He used to do our local weather on ch. 2 news. I totally forgot he moved to LA to do the weather. I turned on the news one morning while I was getting ready and there he was! I was like...wait...I AM in LA, right? Lol! 

They had these great L'Occitane samples in the bathroom of our hotel...

 I love this pic of Dylan while we were walking back to our hotel after a Starbucks run. And P.S. there's a Starbucks in our hotel too, but it turns into a piano bar after hours. ;) 

The iconic Beverly Hills sign in Beverly Gardens Park. 

iconic beverly hills sign

I don't know why, but I was really enamored with these Beverly Hills signs on everything...

Our first day, we walked all over Beverly Hills. 

Notice the Santa with his sleigh and reindeer in the pic below...

I loved that they still had the Christmas decorations up all over. 

This little pharmacy caught my eye. I loved how you could see the pharmacists right there in the windows. Looks like something in small town America, not Beverly Hills. 

We both had the Griffith Observatory on our "must see" list and it didn't disappoint! 

Gorgeous views from here...

Great view of the Hollywood sign from the observatory...

And great views of the city as well... 

city of los angeles night view

And of course we had to take a pic of Uranus while we were there, lol...

So pretty lit up at night. We got there right before sunset, so we got the best of both worlds...

Just so you know, Griffith is closed on Mondays, so plan accordingly. Admission to the building and grounds is always free. 

The only star I wanted to see... 

nicolas cage hollywood walk of fame

Same thing for the hand and footprints... 

nicolas cage grauman's theatre

Grauman's Chinese Theatre is where all the hand and footprints are located. It was shoulder to shoulder crowded here, but I think it's always like that. Hollywood is definitely not a place I would want to be after dark. 

The Dolby Theatre where the Oscars are held...

We decided to do the TMZ tour and LOVED it! 

Walking up to our bus...

The tour was very informative and funny too. I highly recommend it. We saw Hollywood High on our tour...

hollywood high school

I didn't take too many pics on our tour, but trust me, it's fun! We learned a lot too. For instance, did you know they have more security there for the Oscars than when the president visits? And there are snipers on the roof of the El Capitan building during the Oscars. Gotta protect all those celebs. 

More BH signs...

Okay, now our favorite place to eat was Urth Caffe. We ate at this one in Santa Monica...

I had avocado toast and it was so good! And some of the best lemonade I've ever had...

This was another Urth Caffe in Beverly Hills. Look at the size of that cookie! 

urth caffe chocolate cookie

We spent a day in Santa Monica... 

We only spent about 20 minutes on the Santa Monica Pier. It was mostly games and a few rides. 

We spent way more time on the beach. A Santa Monica selfie! 

The beach in Santa Monica was gorgeous. So much nicer than Galveston, lol. 

Swings on the beach with the Santa Monica Pier in the background. Love it! 

My attempt at being all artsy fartsy...

I loved Runyon Canyon! We wanted to get in a couple of hikes and this was one of them. 

Here's my tip though. We did the "easy" hike, which wasn't exactly easy. I mean, it was, but only after you got past the stairs. There were probably 30 or more wooden stairs built into the mountain that you had to climb. Some were about 2 feet high and there wasn't a break between them. It was constant stair climbing for a good bit. And if you have short legs, you're in trouble with those 2 feet tall stairs. You almost had to go in single file because there wasn't a lot of room, which made it hard to take a rest because you didn't want to make everyone behind you stop too. 

So we hiked up to the top, then went back down the other side. And going down was a breeze. What I realized was that we should have gone up the way we came down (on the left side) A lot of people were doing that to avoid those stairs. We could have gone up the same way we came down and just turned around when we reached the top and then gone down the same way. Does that make sense? If you go, just ask someone which trail to take to avoid the stairs and they'll point you in the right direction. 

This is the view from the bottom as we were walking back down. We were at the very top of that mountain! 

This was the view of the Hollywood sign from the top of Runyon...

Such great views! 

So another hike we did was Murphy's Ranch. I didn't know anything about it, but Dylan read about it and wanted to do it, so I was game. 

After our Uber dropped us off in a neighborhood close to Brentwood, we started off on the trail and came upon this gate...

The gate is just to keep cars out, so we walked around it and started the hike.

After a while, we came upon an opening in a chain link fence that led to these stairs... 

The stairs led down to Murhpy Ranch. But...just so you know, there are over 500 of these stairs to get to the bottom! There are no hand rails and it got a little steep from time to time.

I burned so many calories on this trip! 

500 stairs to murphy ranch

And this is what we saw when we finally arrived...

Creepy, right? 

murphy ranch abandoned building

I can't even imagine being here at night. It was really creepy, but we saw some other hikers too, so we weren't all alone. Google "Murphy's Ranch Hike" if you want to know more about it.

This is the abandoned stables at Murphy's Ranch...

murphy's ranch stables

We did get some great views while hiking to Murphy Ranch...

If you're visiting LA, I would skip the rental car and use Uber or Lyft instead. That's what we did and it was so nice not to have to worry about parking. 

Parking is almost non existent in some parts and with a car service, you don't have to deal with that. They drop you off at the entrance and it saves a lot of time too. 

We had such a good time and enjoyed every minute of our trip. California has my favorite weather. With the low humidity, I hardly need to straighten my hair when I'm there. Love that! 

I found some really neat travel accessories and I'll do another post about them soon. I'm all about making travel easier. :)


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