Art Journaling

Personal, Writing

Disclaimer: Not all of the art in my journals is my original work. Some were recreated from images I found online. I in no way take creative credit for these drawings and give it fully to the creator of the original work.

I have been keeping journals and sketchbooks for as long as I can remember but it wasn’t until fairly recently that I began to completely finish them. When we were younger my mom showed me sister and me how to make collage journals and a few years later, I elaborated on that idea by starting my  first art journal. It was red, with thin blank pages, and I found it up in my mom’s art stuff. It had french writing down the side that meant draft book and with the addition of a couple stickers, it was incorporated into my daily life. All though I consider it the first journal I finished it is in fact blank for the last ten pages because the binding broke from overuse. Since this journal that began in 2015, I have completed two others and am in the middle of my fourth.

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from left to right: oldest to newest

Everyone is always impressed by how full they are and I attribute that to the fact that I don’t give myself a lot of limits with them. Except one which is that I’m never allowed to rip pages out. If there are pages I absolutely hate, then I cover them up with scrap paper drawings when the journal is complete. Other than that I keep my journals completely free. Sometimes other people draw in them, I write lists in them, and I doodle in them when I am on important phone calls. Besides my work notebook and my planner, my art journal is the only journal I have so it literally holds everything.

I think that once I let go of the need for my journals to be chronological and aesthetically pleasing, I was able to fill them, and usually by the time they were done I was pretty pleased with the final result. It’s nice to just have something that has no limits. Something that can hold all of my bullshit in one small place.

I also became a lot more comfortable with expressing my feelings and more confident in my drawing skills. Art journaling was one of the main ways I combated my social anxiety in high school.

I love looking into other people’s journals, so I thought maybe you would like a peak into mine.

Happy July everyone! Look out for lots of new things on the blog this month!

My Go-To Coffee Orders (at every place in Billings)

Non-fiction, Writing

I’m a coffee person. I went from being a person who drank absolutely no caffeine, to being a person who needs it to survive, over the course of about a year. Naturally, with Billings, Montana being the small town that it is, I have had the opportunity to try many a latte from the few coffee places available. I always find other people’s coffee orders interesting so I had the idea to write about mine for my blog. This idea developed into a full fledged quest for coffee throughout the city. Resulting in 12 coffees, 2 teas, 2 wraps, 1 fritatta, 1 Italian soda, and 3 caffeine crash naps. This is a blog post about that quest.

I would like to start with explaining that this blog post excludes 2 coffee shops that are in Billings due to opposing political beliefs, and my long standing refusal to fund businesses that project hate towards others. With that said it’s time to meet…

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From left to right: Skyler, Maisy, and myself

“The Coffee Crusaders” (Trademark Maisy Jam 2018). I enlisted my sister Maisy (@maisyxjam on Insta) and our honorary sister Skyler (@frances_brauneis on Insta) to join in on my caffeine hijinks. With our team assembled, we were off to the ever-changing, but somehow always a staple…

MAZEVO COFFEE:

The name has changed like 3 times now but Mazevo is probably the most popular of  Billings’ local coffee shops. They have really excellent seasonal specials as well as a good bagel selection. My go-to order here is the Graham Cracker Latte. This is also where we acquired the Italian soda: ordered by Skyler who then decided she didn’t want it, so I drank it instead. Maisy drank most of the latte.

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Mazevo Graham Cracker Latte

 

STARBUCKS: 

I probably go to Starbucks the most, simply because I’m a fan of the drive thru. I actually have a couple staples here but usually I go with a coffee frappuccino. Maisy got a green tea here as well.

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Coffee Frappuccino

 

MOUNTAIN MUDD:

Another longstanding Billings fave; Mountain Mudd is a kiosk only coffee shop. They have a really yummy white chocolate latte but they are also VERY expensive. Maybe because they add sprinkles?

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The less aesthetically pleasing, White Chocolate Latte

 

CITY BREW:

Unpopular Montana opinion here, but I don’t love City Brew’s coffee so I always get strawberry smoothies here. They taste like Candy. Maisy and I also got hungry at this point and got some City Brew wraps as well.

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Smoothie and Sun-dried Tomato Wrap.

 

ROCK CREEK COFFEE:

Our first Downtown location, Rock Creek has been around since I was a baby. Their menu intimidates me so I always just get a vanilla latte. This vanilla latte in particular was made by a guy I matched with on Tinder awhile ago and never messaged. It was delicious. Good job Tinder boy.

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Maisy demonstrates how to put the straw in if the coffee is too full.

EBON COFFEE:

Ebon is the only coffee shop that has peppermint lattes on their menu year round and for that I love them. Also they have really good waffles on the weekend as well as an A+ interior decorator.

 

ANNEX COFFEE:

This is actually my favorite coffee shop to work in and also our scheduled last stop. I always get the lavender rosemary latte here which is amazing. Skyler got a fritatta here and we also took a small break since Maisy was near caffeine overdose level.

 

BLACK DOG COFFEE:

I’d never been here before today but it’s one of Maisy’s favorites so we decided to add it to the list. At this point in the day there was no way I could drink another coffee so I got a juicebox but I will definitely be going back to try their coffee. I also couldn’t not get doughnuts on National Doughnut Day so I got some powdered sugar ones that I could have eaten a million of. Skyler got a muffin and Maisy got another tea and an everything bagel “To soak up the coffee” in her stomach.

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This concluded our coffee adventure and we all promptly went home to take naps (except me who has to post this blog post). Let me know what your favorite kind of coffee is and also let me know if there’s anything else we should try out around the city. Thanks for reading this week and I’ll see you on Monday! (and before anyone asks…yes we did all have to poop afterwards.)

-A

Seeds: poetry collection

poetry, Writing

Overgrown

Sometimes my brain gets too crowded and my thoughts start pouring

out of my ears.

They land on my shoulders and drip down my skin to embed themselves

along my spine.

A thought pressed under my skin to sit against my vertebrae and to grow

among goosebumps.

Mushrooms crawl up my back nourished by my bone marrow.

Vines crawl over my shoulders to wrap around my ribs.

Thorns stem from my collarbones to make sure no one can get in

to the body garden grown from my thoughts.

The hair on my arms stands on end as it turns into blades of grass.

My fingers sprout dandelions

and forget-me-nots sprout from my toes.

My breasts grow bleeding hearts

and honey drips from my nose.

Bees live here now, and beetles and moths.

They crawl around my stomach lining,

up my throat,

and out my mouth.

My heart slowly turns a tulip bulb and my brain’s a clump of poison ivy.

Ring Around The Bathtub

If you ran your hands down, they would roll along small hills

Bump bump bump bump

The contours of my back bone

Weak, warped, and sharp like knives

Don’t cut yourself on my lethal body

Let the water run down the stretched translucent canvas

Blue lines painted in textured brush strokes

Paint running down the shower drain

Humanity swirling down the shower drain

Clumps of hair clogging the shower drain

Dark spiders plucked out of my skull

Leaving paste white bone showing

Through the hole in my head.

Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk

Beat up sneakers hit the pavement

In an uneven rhythm matching the beat

Flowing through the earbuds

That no one else can hear

Chilled wind painting a blush

Over her freckled face

Kicking rocks across the street

Sleeves pulled down over her hands

Walking into the corner gas station

Going to the very back of the store

And getting the chocolate coffee in a can

Pulls her debit card out of her pack of camels

She takes a cigarette out at the stop light

Cups her hand around her lighter

To keep it safe from the breeze

She inhales deeply

Nicotine fills her lungs

Cigarette smoke clouds her thoughts

The taste of ash sticky on her tongue

Mentally feeling her body rot

She cracks open the can of coffee

And swallows the sweet syrup

Inhaling the caffeine her body runs on

Ashing her cigarette on the ground

Caffeine and nicotine

Cigarettes and chocolate milk.

Recurring Ache

the knowing,

you’ll never be mine is the hard part.

The absolute sureness that I will never touch your naked back.

Connecting the constellations of freckles along your spine,

The knowledge that I will never hold you

or kiss your tear stained face when you cry.

I’ll never get to see the sun hit your body just right

as your laying next to me with your eyes closed.

Never get to run my fingers through your hair

until it gives me all your secrets.

The ache

that sits in my ribs for you nestled right next to my heart.

House Guest

I hate that my body has learned to accommodate pain

It walks into me and I ask it if it would like a glass of water.

I exhaust myself trying to figure out what it needs

Doing everything I can to keep it from becoming enraged and taking over again

@baby_caleb

After a full blown facebook investigation

I found your Snapchat and added you.

And you added me back

Your Facebook is depressing

You’re a real sadboi ™

See: that’s an example of the correct use of you’re and your

Which according to Facebook, you don’t understand

But you’re real cute

Even though your teeth are crooked

It’s ok mine have a gap

I want to tell you I’ll be your friend

I want to tell you I think your the most beautiful boy

I want to tell you that it could be worse.

You could be me.

In person I said

“I have annoyingly thick hair but it falls out in clumps from anxiety”

I don’t know why I said it but you said

“Me too”

I want to tell you a lot of things but instead

I just asked if you had to work today.

You haven’t opened my message yet

Satan’s Poster Child

The disgust in your voice when you say the words “cancer stick”

As if you think it can change me.

As if I didn’t already know

The concern in your eyes as you explain the importance of your god

My blank eyes staring back at you

So you can look through and see the hollow soul.

I bet they tried to tell Lucifer how to live too

Your help is judgement

Making me fall farther from your heaven

Satan’s poster child.

Heaving through hell and back

Long black nails curling around your throat

If you tell me one more time

I’m gonna die young

I already fucking know that and I wish it would happen today

So please climb up on your precious pedestal

I’m fine in fire

Sitting on my throne of cigarette cartons and bic lighters

Onyx horns protruding from my skull

Dressed in ash and lingerie

Making you all uncomfortable as I

Cry freely for no goddamn reason.

Coffee Convo

Non-fiction, Personal, Writing

Ok, so it’s not really a coffee this time. It’s actually a green tea with honey and an asiago bagel but that’s only because it’s 8,000 degrees here today and I couldn’t be bothered to drink anything that wasn’t refreshing. It’s only May and I’m already so over sun. I mean I’m not asking for 7 foot snow again, I would just like it if it was always 60 degrees and cloudy.

Since I am posting regularly again I figured I should give you a bit of an update and since I haven’t done a coffee convo in a hot minute, I figured I would share my asiago bagel with you all.

For starters, I am turning 20 in a few weeks which feels bizarre. A lot of me still feels like I’m only 14 and the other part of me is coming to terms with the fact that my sister graduates in a couple days. YES MAISY JAM HAS A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA. I’m honestly probably more proud of her than I was of myself. She works insanely hard and is also incredibly smart in ways I have never been and I can’t wait to see where her life takes her now that she has been released from prison/the public school system.

Summer has also officially begun which means lots of plans are being made. I am making a trip to Idaho over the 4th of July with my family as well as trying to figure out all of the logistics of moving, which, if everything goes to plan, should be happening in late August.

My asiago bagel and tea

My asiago bagel and green tea.

I’m trying to find time to spend with all the people I’ve known for years as well as make connections with new people and it really brings to light just how many people come and go in your life. There are people that I still have genuine love for that I haven’t seen in years. It really puts into perspective how much time we set aside for things that don’t give us the love that family and friends give. We put work, money, and material things over interactions that could change our lives and that’s crazy to me.

I haven’t been reading hardly at all this year, which is frustrating because there’s so much I’ve been wanting to read. I think I need to work more on prioritizing the things I love over the things I have to do. I put work over a lot of things, and while I do generally like my job, My life has taught me that I need to make time to do things I like because, I don’t get to re-do life, and I should probably spend it doing things I love.

I’m also working on not caring what other people think about my life. I generally don’t care what others think when it comes to the way I look or act, especially when it comes to strangers. Lately though, I’ve been focusing on not needing validation from the people I’m close to. Even the people I love aren’t going to understand me and I need to accept that and be ok with it.

These are just a couple things that have been thinking about lately. If you have anything to add, I always appreciate your comments and messages, and if you want to see more photos like the one in this post, please follow me on instagram @avejam_ . Thank you for reading and you will hear from me on Monday!

– Avery

Holy Heck She Lives: Florida and Future Content

Personal, Travels

So I want to start by saying that it’s only been two months since I last posted which in comparison to some of my other hiatuses is not that long. However, after a spike of followers and a comment made by my Grandpa about how I should start posting again, I decided I should probably write this.

If you’re new here, welcome. please don’t leave, I promise to be better. I tell this to almost everyone in my life and it’s almost never true so do with that information what you will.

Over Easter, I took a trip to visit my grandparent’s in Florida where the weather was amazing and I didn’t have to go to work or school. Now I’m back in Montana, where I have to do all those things and it’s also snowing…in April. What the actual fuck Montana.

Here are some highlight’s from the trip:

In case you hadn’t noticed yet, I dyed my hair blonde.

Now that I’m back in Billings, it’s back to the daily grind of college which I actually haven’t attended in a few days because I feel empty and like lying in bed all day. (Wow Avery, you haven’t changed a bit.) I have decided that with the end of the school year coming up I will be posting every Monday, Friday, and Sunday and I have put it in writing here so you all can yell at me when I inevitably don’t post.

Some content I have on my to-do list includes:

  • A new coffee convo
  • College with depression
  • Books I’ve read so far this year
  • journal flip-through
  • 2nd semester poetry compilation

I love feedback so let me know what you would like to see next on the blog and also since their are so many new subscribers tell me something about yourself in the comments! Thank you for reading and I’ll see you on Monday!

Belize: bowling & beaching

Travels, Writing

These past few days were our more mellow days here in Belize. We spent most of Saturday sprawled out on the beach or participating in Zac’s new favorite activity, ocean kayaking. Around midday it got cloudy so we walked down about a block to the Jaguar bowling  alley, which is unfortunately probably the closest I will get to seeing a jaguar this trip. Belize is the kind of place, where you need about a month to see everything there is to see and unfortunately we only had a week, so no jaguars.image1 (21)

After bowling a fairly terrible game we walked down to a restaurant called Mangoes. I got some more pasta and literally THE BEST KEY LIME PIE EVER. All the food we have eaten here has been delicious and incredibly fresh.

I had some more pasta at Mango’s. Pasta in Belize is very garlicy and has fresh tomatoes and basil in it.

Today Zac’s dad went fishing, so Zac and I just hung out at The Green Parrot all day. I sat on the beach this morning and finished my book. Zac got sunburn so he stayed inside for most of the day. Everyone at The Green Parrot has been so nice and interesting. I’ve never experienced more welcoming people while on a trip.

I also posted this picture of me drinking Fanta on Instagram. They have orange, fruit punch, pineapple, and grapefruit Fanta, and I am honestly very upset by the fact that I can’t have fruit punch Fanta when I get home. It’s tastes just like cream soda except it’s red and I have been drinking it everyday.

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I feel surprisingly comfortable with my body in this picture. Something about being in a tropical place or on vacation makes me 10 times less concerned about what people think about the way I look. I follow a lot of travel accounts on Instagram and I see all of these young women who are perfectly positioned in there bikinis looking stunningly beautiful, but that’s just not what it’s about. Travel is about experience and when you are exploring a new country there is no time to be worried about how your body looks in a swimsuit.

I can’t believe that we only have one day left here in Belize. It seems like it was yesterday that we stepped off the plane into Houston. I would definitely return to Belize if I had the chance. It is such a beautiful and friendly country.

Belize: Mayan ruins and Placencia

Travels, Writing

Hello again! We are loving Belize and after yesterday we have seen and learned so much more about the country. On Thursday we woke up at 6 in the morning to go and see the Mayan ruins. Before we left we met our driver and tour guide for the day as well as the resort’s manager’s son, Ever. Ever is the coolest person ever. and also knows a shit ton about Belize. We drove three hours across the country to Xunantunich which means stone lady and is one of the biggest Mayan ruins in South America. It was 12,000 degrees, It probably wasn’t really but it felt like it was. We climbed all the ruins and it was something I thought I would never see in my life it was absolutely incredible.

We also saw this gigantic iguana. I have never seen a lizard that big in the wild and I have also never seen anyone more excited to see a reptile than Zac.

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What a guy. Zac’s caption: chub chub chunky chunk the lizard Pic cred: Zac

Cool sights in order of importance: Iguana, Avocado tree, Mayan ruins.

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Avocados

After the ruins we grabbed some lunch at Benny’s even though Zac and his dad had already tasted some termites at the ruins (fuck that shit am I right) apparently it tasted strongly of mint. We ate some food and then hopped back in the car to go to Blue Hole National Park. When Ever said we were going to a blue hole we didn’t really know what to expect but this is what we got:

In the middle of Belize there are a bunch of random fresh water caves and and there are swimming holes in the middle that are like 25 ft deep. It was the most refreshing thing I’ve ever experienced.

After the blue hole we drove home and ate dinner at the Bistro, This was the first pasta meal I had here, other than that all my meals have been tacos and quesadillas. All very delicious.

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This picture is so blurry, I was kind of drunk so sorry.

The next day we took the bus to placencia which is the nearest tourist town to our beach house. We stopped at a bunch of gift shops ate lunch and then got some ice cream at Tutti Frutti (at Ever’s reccomendation).

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Tutti Frutti

Everyone in Belize is super friendly and so far this has been such a cool experience! I hope you all enjoyed the update and the pictures.

Belize: Days 1 & 2

Travels, Writing

image1 (14)Hello from Central America! In case you didn’t know, (because apparently I forgot to tell everyone) me, my boyfriend Zac, and his dad are currently in Belize for Zac’s graduation trip. This is my first trip out of the country and so far it has been beautiful. Besides our unfortunate but necessary stay in Texas, there were not really not a lot of issues with traveling. When we finally got to the Belize airport we got into this tiny plane that flew us to a town called Palencia. The view from the plane was incredible and unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

 

Once we landed, at the smallest airport ever, we were driven to the Green Parrot beach houses which are located directly on the beach. Everyone here is super friendly, and everyone also speaks pretty good English. We got in around 1 on Tuesday and we just spent the day exploring the beach and the local area.

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The view from our beach house

 

Today we spent the whole day on the beach and found a large amount of sea creatures. We found: a crab, 2 live sand dollars, three snails, and a giant lizard. At night it gets really windy and cools off fairly quickly, so we aren’t dying of heat at night like we were in Texas. During the day the ocean is super calm and like 70 degrees at all times. I think we went swimming at around 9 this morning, and it was like a lukewarm bathtub. I have not yet gotten a sunburn and I hope to keep it that way.

Stay updated for days 3 and 4! I hope you all enjoy the pictures!

Missoula

Travels, Writing

March 19th and 20th:

About a month ago I found out that one of my all time favorite musicians, Lady Lamb was coming to play a show in Missoula.

If you don’t know anything about Montana, you should know that the only place popular artists really come to play in Montana is Missoula and occasionally Billings. Very occasionally.

I had to see her perform. I have a painting of her on my wall it would be a waste of an opportunity to not  go. I found a friend (the same friend mentioned a few blog posts ago) and we started planning a road trip.

Biggest problem: I was the only one with a licence and had never driven on a highway before. My ultimate decision was to just wing it and hope that we didn’t get in a crash.

It is truly a miracle that my car didn’t break down. I drive a 1993 Mitsubishi and I was honestly amazed that it could even go 80 mph. The only issue with the car that we really had, was not being able to go above 65 mph on an incline. After about an hour I was comfortable with driving on the highway and we were on our way.

We stopped in Columbus and Rocker for snacks and made it to Missoula in about 5 hours. Driving across Montana is just driving past a bunch of grass and trees and the occasional mountain. Things don’t get that interesting until the Butte pass. [I feel like I should insert a map here for people that don’t know Montana geography.]

montana

This is Montana.

When we got to Missoula I picked an exit at random and happened to end up right by our hotel. We checked into the hotel, got ready for the concert and then we went to dinner at 5 guys.

I’m a vegetarian and why doesn’t every fast food joint have a grilled cheese option!? That is absolute genius. If your vegetarianism is similar to mine than your favorite foods are bread and cheese and FAST FOOD GRILLED CHEESE IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED. Still waiting on those fast food vegan options though I guess.

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The elusive fast food grilled cheese.

After that, we headed to the venue, which was a coffee shop and once again was conveniently located right by the hotel. The coffee shop was set up with string lights and blankets and gave off a very cozy vibe. Within an hour the space had filled with around 25 people and the concert began. Lady Lamb was beautiful her voice sounded just like it does on her records which is rare these days and her music was so authentic.

Right before she played her last song she talked to the audience about what her new album “Tender Warriors Club” meant. She talked a lot about what it means to be sensitive during hard times, not only in your personal life but in the world as well. With the current political climate it is often times had to remember to care for the things you stand up for instead of just fighting for the things you’re against.

This last month has been a bumpy one for me. After being in and then back out of a psychiatric unit I am still trying to find a way for my mind to work through it. I think I will write about it at some point, but right now I don’t have the guts. Lady Lamb reminded me that that’s ok. She reminded me that it’s okay to just exist with those feelings. Be brave, be a “tender warrior” and live your life to the fullest even if there is still a bit of a monster inside of you.

I cried at the show. After it was over we went and bought some merch and met her and then we headed back to the hotel. We ate snacks all night and talked about how magnificent the show was and how we felt about our lives currently. The answer was good mostly.

The next morning we unwillingly got out of bed for the five hour drive back to billings. After a stop for breakfast at green source and another stop at a gas station we were on our way.

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Green Source Acai Bowl

The trip was one of the only ones I’ve been on by myself and I felt so good the entire time. It’s trips like these that ease my mind and the numbness I sometimes build in myself to keep me safe.

Travel Essentials

Non-fiction, Travels, Writing

1 day until Portland! I am so excited to blog about my adventures there. Until then, here are some things I never leave home without.

  1. Plastic pouches: My liquids ALWAYS spill whenever I go on a plane or in a car so I bought these cute little pouches for three bucks from Target and they are the bomb.com. If they get messy all you have to do is rinse them out with water and let them dry.

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    pouches. $3 at Target

  2. Neck Pillow: I only recently purchased a neck pillow and sleeping on the go was changed forever.

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    French Bulldog Collection neck pillow. $15 at Target

  3. Empty water bottle: Nobody wants to be thirsty in a place they’re not familiar with. Bring a waterbottle and save yourself the hassle of buying a plastic bottle.

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    Swell bottle in metallic gold. $42 bando.com

  4. Cozy sweater/flannel: doubles as a blanket. A neccesity.
  5. Portable charger: So convenient. My phone is always dying on me so having a backup battery is awesome especially if I need to stay in contact. Now if only I had a backup battery for when I forget to charge the portable battery…
  6. Tangle stress toy: Keeps me calm in stressful flight situations and is also very entertaining.
  7. Ice Breakers: Planes are gross as it is, no point in making it grosser with bad breath.

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               Portable Charger. $15 at PacSun             Tangle Stress Toy. $6 Amazon.com

  8. Backpack: backpacks fit way more stuff and are way more reliable than a purse. Bringing a backpack enables me to be hands free during my travels.

    kanken

    Kanken backpack in Ochre. $75 fjallraven.com

  9. Dry Shampoo: because who has time to shower

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    Batiste and Amika dry shampoo

  10. Makeup Samples: TSA approved and perfect if you want to bring lots of makeup but don’t want to take up a bunch of room.

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    samples from Birchbox and Sephora

  11. An Open Mind: Traveling is not the time to close yourself off. It’s for exploring new places and ideas and finding as many new things as possible.

See you on Monday where I will be blogging from Portland! 🙂

-Avery