Pack with me for Scotland

As I get ready for my trip, I thought I would share what I am packing.  I have never been to Scotland before so packing has included some guesswork.  By the end of the trip, I can share with you what worked and what didn’t, but for now, here are some of  – what I am assuming – will be the essentials.


During our trip, the weather is generally “mostly cloudy” with highs in the low 70s/ high 60s and lows in the 50s.  Rain is also likely.  So item one on the list is a rain jacket.  My rain jacket is the Venture 2 jacket from North Face.  My hiking boots are Oboz Bridger Mid in Walnut.  My leggings are from Lulu Lemon, and I got my sweatshirt while hiking in West Glacier, Montana (a trip that is definitely worth taking if you’ve been thinking about visiting out-West).


We rented a car for our trip, and I was unaware that Hertz required non-EU citizens to have an international driving permit until yesterday… so I was in a panic.  But, as it turns out, it is SUPER easy to get one.  You just need two passport photos – which i got in about two minutes at CVS – and your license.  Then just fill out this easy form, and take it to your nearest AAA.  The whole process took about five minutes, and I walked out of AAA with a permit – same day.  So if you booked a car and didn’t realize that you needed a permit, don’t panic.  I’m just hoping that this international driving excursion turns out better than my last one…. When I went on a trip to Ireland, I ended up totaling the car.  However, in my defense, the roads there are treacherous.  In fact, when we were returning the car, the lady at the rental agency was on the phone with someone who had crashed within five hours of picking up the car.  My advice – get the insurance.  It is worth it.

On another note, I have recently become a makeup geek – the only other lady at my office is a makeup goddess and she turned me on to the beauty industry; now I can’t get enough … which, if you’ve read my other post, is a ongoing theme in my personality.

In any event, choosing what products to bring with me when I travel has become difficult.  (As one of my best friends would say – what a “champaign problem.”)  I do, however, have a few specific products that I know I can rely on and therefore they come with me on every trip. They include, in no particular order: physician’s formula butter bronzer, Tarte shape tape, Two Faced’s Better Than Sex mascara (this mascara gets sold out very quickly – but it is also available at sephora, Marc Jacob’s velvet noir major mascara, Maybelline Fit Me matte and poreless powder, Laura Mercier translucent loose setting powder, and Chloé Eau de Parfum (the scent lasts FOREVER and I am in love with it).


My current obsession is this new wallet that I bought for this trip from Aspinal of London.  It has dividers for tickets, passport, documents, and boarding passes, along with a little pouch for change.  It seemed perfect when I bought it, but it has yet to stand the test of actually being used – so I will let you know how it worked out.  For now, it seemed like a great investment.


Finally, choosing a book to come with me is also a challenging task.  I’m currently in the middle of a couple – I tend to read multiple books at once because I never know what kind of reading I will be in the mood for night-to-night – but I don’t usually like to bring one that I have already started when I am traveling.  Bringing a brand new book avoids the problem of finishing one before the trip is over, and having to lug two books home.  Additionally, the book needs to be paper-back so that I can lug it around with me without feeling like my arm is going to fall off.  My problem there is that I am a super for hard-back books, so most of the books that I own that are on my “to-read” list are hardbacks.

The few that I do have are mostly history and include:

  • Allison Weir’s Queen Isabella
  • Peter Ackroyd’s Shakespeare 
  • Lawrence Goldstone’s The Activist 
  • Roger Crowley’s City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
  • Anthony Everitt’s Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome’s Greatest Politician

I still am up in the air, but I’ll let you know what I end up choosing.

Exercising While On Vacation… Wait what?!

I know, I know – I’m going on vacation so exercise? really??

Unfortunately, yes.  I am getting married next year, and I really love eating so exercising is a must.  But since I will be staying in air B&Bs the whole trip, without access to a gym, my trainer and I came up with a no-gym/no-equipment solution.  Here’s the schedule we came up with:

Day 1 WK1 Reps WK 2 Reps
Escalating Density (12 min) (meaning you do five reps of each exercise and then repeat until the 12 minutes have expired – if this is too easy, increase to 15 minutes)
A1.) Push Up, which is pretty self-explanatory
A2.) Split Squat: This is essentially a stationary lunge.  If anyone is familiar with Barre3, this is basically the same thing as carousel horse.
x5 per leg
x5 per leg
A3.) Reverse Crunch: lay down on the floor so that there is no space between the floor and the small of your back. Then raise your legs so your body is in a v shape and lower them slowly until you feel your abs catch.  Raise them to the starting position and repeat.
A4.) Reverse Lunge
x5 per leg
x5 per leg
Day 2 WK1 Reps WK 2 Reps
Escalating Density (12 min)
B1.) Squat Jump: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up. When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to repeat.
B2.) Partner Towel Row: so you can only do this if you are traveling with a friend, but the idea of this exercise is that your partner provides the resistance by holding one side of a rolled towel while you stand face to face with them and pull the other side of the towel as though doing a row.
x5 per arm
x5 per arm
B3.) Shoulder Taps: begin by taking a plank position. Then lift one hand to the opposite shoulder (i.e. the “tap”) so that you are in a one arm plank, and then place it back down so that you are once again in a two arm plank position.  Then lift the other hand to tap the opposite shoulder.  Repeat.
x5 per arm
x5 per arm
B4.) Reaching Single Leg Dead Lift.  For those familiar with Yoga, this is similar to warrior three.  The starting position here is standing on one leg, which is slightly bent. As you bent forward at the hips, move your arms directly out in front of you, and raise your non-standing leg to create a straight line from your fingertips to your left toes (i.e. parallel to the ground)
x5 per leg
x5 per leg

I will also – hopefully – be running while on vacation.  My fiancé and I are running our second Marathon in late October, and if I come back having failed to run, he will finish the race embarrassingly far ahead of me.  I’ve posted our training schedule below, if anyone is interested.

I know running sounds horrible to most people.  And it really did to me for the longest time.  In fact, I quit sports in high school because I loathed running.  Had you told me then that I would one day fall in love with it, I would have laughed in your face.  But, after graduating college, running kept me sane.

I had a really hard time my very first year out of college.  I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life (although let’s face it, I still don’t), but back then I had no direction, no plan, leaving me feeling utterly lost.  I had moved home to live with my parents, none of my friends lived in my home city anymore, and I did not have a job, so I spent the year working for my dad – who worked mostly from home. Needless to say, I almost never left the house.  Except to run.

My littlest brother was in his last year of high school, and he forced me out of my house to go on runs with him.  Eventually, he talked me into running a half-marathon.  After running that race, I was addicted.  So much so that I signed my fiancé (then boyfriend) up for the next year’s half.  Although he was not pleased about it – he hated running more than I ever had – he soon learned to love running just as I did.  All it took was for him to realize that running never gets easier – you simply get better at it.


Week Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat
1 Rest 3 miles Cross Train 3 miles 3 miles Rest 6 miles
2 Rest 3 miles Cross Train 3 miles 3 miles Rest 7 miles
3 Rest 3 miles Cross Train 4 miles 3 miles Rest 8 miles
4 Rest 3 miles Cross Train 4 miles 4 miles Rest 9 miles
5 Rest 4 miles Cross Train 5 miles 4 miles Rest 10 miles
6 Rest 3 miles Cross Train 4 miles 3 miles Rest 7 miles
7 Rest 4 miles Cross Train 5 miles 4 miles Rest 11 miles
8 Rest 4 miles Cross Train 5 miles 5 miles Rest 12 miles
9 Rest 4 miles Cross Train 5 miles 5 miles Rest 13 miles
10 Rest 4 miles Cross Train 6 miles 5 miles Rest 14 miles
11 Rest 3 miles Cross Train 5 miles 4 miles Rest 10 miles
12 Rest 4 miles Cross Train 6 miles 6 miles Rest 15 miles
13 Rest 5 miles Cross Train 6 miles 7 miles Rest 16 miles
14 Rest 5 miles Cross Train 7 miles 8 miles Rest 18 miles
15 Rest 4 miles Cross Train 6 miles 5 miles Rest 12 miles
16 Rest 6 miles Cross Train 7 miles 9 miles Rest 20 miles
17 Rest 5 miles Cross Train 6 miles 5 miles Rest 14 miles
18 Rest 4 miles Cross Train 5 miles 4 miles Rest 8 miles
19 Rest 4 miles Cross Train 3 miles 2 miles Rest 1 mile
20 Race Day!!

Scotland – An Itinerary

My best friend and I are planning our trip to Scotland this week – so obviously we incorporated wine and a charcuterie board into our planning sess.  Since this is my first attempt at blogging – a sentence I never thought I would say … or type – you don’t know my affinity for cheese and wine yet.  But don’t worry, you will.

More to the point, I am going to Scotland next week, and I thought I would share the itinerary that my bff and I came up with.  So here goes.


11:30 am: arrive at Airport

11:30 am -12:57 pm: bask in the glorious feeling of having no work to do

12:57 pm: Flight to Connecting City

2:55 pm: Arrive at Connection

2:55-9:55 pm: Sleep in the airport and pray they did not lose our bags (which happened on our trip to Ireland …. both ways.  But, despite not showering or changing clothes over a period of three days, we still managed to have a great time)

9:55 pm: Flight to Scotland


Today, we are going to grab some coffee and explore Edinburgh, including most of the following sites:

  • Edinburgh Castle  
  • Gladstone’s Land
  • St. Giles’ Cathedral
  • Palace of Holyrood House
  • Queen’s Gallery
  • National Museum of Scotland
  • Scottish National Gallery
  • Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Wednesday:  Hike to Arthur’s Seat and visit any of the sites mentioned above that we didn’t make it to on Tuesday

Thursday: We are taking the Jacobite-Steam Train (AKA the Hogwarts Express) Tour

  • First stop is for coffee at Tyndrum 
  • Next stop is at Glencoe (WHERE PART OF HARRY POTTER WAS FILMED (when Hagrid is skipping stones)  – and where an apparently less happy event occurred – i.e. the bonniest of Prince Charlies)
  • Next we will arrive in Mallaig where we will have approximately one hour to enjoy a walk and take in the local atmosphere
  • We will then board a train to Fort William, and afterwards back to Glasgow by coach


  • Explore Stirling, including Stirling Castle
  • National Wallace Monument
  • Doune Castle (20 minutes from the Wallace Monument)
  • Inchmahome priory

Saturday: Isle of Skye

  • Fairy pools
  • Quiraing
  • Black Cuillin Mountains
  • Old Man of Storr


  • Leakey’s Bookshop : located in a converted 1649 church
  • Culloden Battlefield
  • Clava Cairns
  • Loch Ness

MondayUrquhart Castle

Tuesday: Today we are doing a Whiskey Tour, which I am VERY excited to do.  In 2016, my fiancé and I did the Bourbon Trail, which was a blast.  And I am hoping that this turns out to be just as fun!  Here is the itinerary our tour guide sent us: 

7:00ish am: at this ungodly hour, we will be meeting the wise Duncan Cartwright for our Whiskey Tour!

7:30 am – 9:00 am: Find Duncan

9:00 am: Departure from Grantown On Spey

9:00 am – 9:35 am: drive to Glenlivet

9:35 am – 10:00 am: Browse the exhibition and shop before you join the first tour of the day at 1000.

10:00 am: Glenlivet Classic Tour (£10) i.e. “Where it all started”, the first legal distillery in Speyside. Good exhibition.

1:00 pm: – 13:00 pm Glenfiddich Explorers Tour (£10) They say Dufftown was built on seven distilleries and Glenfiddich is one of the most well know producing  variety of innovative malts. It’s also a very photogenic distillery.

3:00 pm: Speyside Cooperage (£4) Watch the coopers at work. Some say the cask provides 70% of the flavour.

4:30 pm: Macallan Tour

Wednesday: Visit Balmoral!

ThursdayBack to Edinburgh we go for our final night and a different fun part of the city!