Tag: travel

Toddling around Spain.

Toddling Around Spain

We just got back from a two-week trip traveling through Spain with our 2 1/2 year old daughter. I know, poor me. But in the true spirit of being Committed, it did get a little crazy.

Toddling around Spain.
Balloons make everything better.

I loved the trip. The architecture was amazing, the culture is admirable (drinking and eating all the time! Siestas!) The wine was cheap and delicious. Oh, the food…

The kiddo was a handful. She may read this years down the line, so I don’t want her to feel like I’m putting her down. It wasn’t her fault–the 9 hour time difference was rough on all of us. And she’s 2 1/2, which means discovering strong preferences, a desire for instant perfection (well, we never outgrow that, do we?), and just general upsettedness at basically everything. We thought her familiarity with travel might make things easier, which it probably did (but didn’t feel like it at the time).

Toddler dinner in Spain.
Sometimes kiddo had a low sitting threshold.

For this post, I’m going to focus on how we handled the tears and tantrums. (HINT: Wine. Lots of wine.)

We learned a few things on this trip, lessons that weren’t too unexpected:

  • Lower your expectations for how much you’ll get to see or do each day
  • Respect the schedule, but sometimes stretching it to experience something amazing is worth the crankiness
  • Staying in one place is MUCH easier than hopping cities (duh, but it was worth a shot)
  • Twos CAN be terrible, but they can also be amusing
  • Rely on your partner and take the burden if you’re up to it
  • Talk through your plans first (ie, how are you going to get off the train? Who is carrying the car seat? Carrier on the front or back?)
  • The carseat & baby carrier were helpful. We were glad to leave the stroller at home.
  • Don’t forget that you’re ON VACATION and laugh and enjoy the little things as much as possible.

Continue reading “Toddling Around Spain”

Committed goes beer tasting

5 Reasons The Long Weekend RULES

5) I don’t have to look at painter’s tape for THREE DAYS.
Sidebar: this has been the project from hell. Talk me off a ledge if I attempt a painting project this large on my own again.

Paint project from hell.
Want to paint a stairwell, basement hall, bedroom and bathroom? Don’t.

Freelancing is 24/7. Shutting off my brain and laptop for the next three days.

Committed goes beer tasting
Taking a much-needed break, 4 ounces at a time.

3) I get to hang out with these two lovely people.

Committed Long Weekend Food
Good food with good people.

2) Bike! Bike! Bike!

Committed Takes the Toddler for a Bike Ride
Without an agenda, we’re putting the “joy” in “joyride.”

Fingers crossed that kiddo sticks with the 9:45 wake-up call that has been once per weekend.

What are you looking forward to this weekend? Got any plans to get out of town?

Transcontinental Toddling

This weekend, I took my 19-month daughter from Seattle to New York. Alone. In my lap.

I had my hesitations about taking the unnecessary adventure, but it paid off. I got to see some great old friends, introduce my daughter to their children, and see a little of the Big Apple during Christmastime. All around win. Here are the packing tips that helped us survive a redeye back East, and a 6.5 hour flight west. With a lap toddler.

Carry-on luggage
With only carry-on luggage, efficiency was key

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In the Bag: The Diaper Bag Dilemma

With a 17 month-old, I’ve officially been through 4 diaper bags, with 3-4 unofficial options as well. Why? Am I picky? Am I destructive? Am I disorganized? Do I get frantic? Kind of.

The thing is, different situations call for different bags. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about! You have your big, multi-purpose handbag for everyday outings or when you need to carry the utilitarian stuff. The cute, sassy clutch works for evenings out because you only need a couple of items for the night.

Though you may not be dancing the night away and getting free drinks with your little one in tow, you may have a preference for a smaller bag sometimes.
Here’s what I’ve learned about diaper bags.

Skip*Hop Diaper Bag
Skip*Hop Diaper Bag

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Feeling Flashy: Using Your Flash When it’s Least Expected

Recently, I took a web-based photography class via CreativeLive, taught by the incredibly talented Roberto Valenzuela. Though the class was geared toward wedding photographers, I gleaned some valuable information as an amateur photographer (cough cough). A cool tip I learned, which I’ll share with you here, is how to use your flash to create some beautiful shots.

When you think of flash photography, you think of low light, indoors, red eyes, blown out skin…just BAD…right? Well, it’s a tool, and it can be used in a way you wouldn’t necessarily think of!

This weekend, we visited a pumpkin patch at around 2:30 in the afternoon. It’s a notoriously “bad” time of day to shoot because the sun is still really bright, but lower in the sky, creating deep shadows, too much contrast, and it makes people squint if you try to eliminate shadows and have your subject face the sun.

Enter the flash. 

Sunflower photo no flash
It’s an okay shot, but the flower looks dark and sad.

Continue reading “Feeling Flashy: Using Your Flash When it’s Least Expected”

Fruit Stand. Sit. Stay.

On our way back to Seattle from Yakima, we stopped at one of the many fruit stands dotting the Highway 82 landscape.

This one boasted “Fruit Antiques”. Well, probably Fruit AND Antiques, but I don’t think the sign painter had the room. Anyway, it was a good stopping point, so we headed in. They did not disappoint. The fruit was fresh, the antiques old, and the wines local. I snapped a few pics around the lot. Enjoy!

Committed Fruit Pears, peaches, and apples are in season! Continue reading “Fruit Stand. Sit. Stay.”

Toddling Around Tokyo

Toddling Around Tokyo

I’ve been dying to write this post, but every time I start, it spins out of control. There were so many cool things we experienced in the city that I want to share them ALL.
But I’m going to try and contain this post to “The Unofficial Committed Survival Guide to Playing Tourist in Tokyo with a Toddler.” Or something more concise and eloquent.

Continue reading “Toddling Around Tokyo”

Tokyo by Design

I’m blogging from the road today. Well, more like from the hotel while the kiddo naps. We’ve only been in Tokyo about half a day, but I’m already getting a feel for the place. So far, it’s been easy to navigate, everyone has been exceedingly friendly and helpful, and I was able to get lunch without any common language between myself and the shop! (And no picture menus to boot!)

I really wanted to cover the experience of visiting this city with a toddler, which may happen later, but I was immediately struck by the little design details around the neighborhood. So let’s start there, shall we?

Even the sewer or water drains are pretty.

I really loved the geometric floral pattern on this grate.

This illustration style reminded me of children’s books from the 1960’s. Plus I’m a sucker for graphic illustration and primary colors.

Everything is so cute, even the sides of busses. I don’t know if these kewpies were selling anything or merely decoration, but I had to snap them.

I wish I’d gotten a better pic of this gent. He must have been in his 60s or 70s and was the hippest guy I’ve probably ever seen.

Skinny building. Probably 12 feet wide. I’m noticing a distinct discord in architectural styles and functions.

Our first adventure was to the Institute of Nature Study near Meguro station. It’s a really affordable (300Y) and quiet retreat from the city noise. Its basically a forest with lovely bird calls in the middle of the city. I really wanted to visit the adjacent Teien Art Museum, but it was closed for renovations.

I think this was a stamp for some kind of passport system for kids. Regardless, I thought it was pretty.

Even pork is kawaii! And it’s named after my cat!

I loved these antique packages I saw in the window of a teddy bear shop.

All in all, I have a great feeling about this trip. All the little old ladies love my daughter, and the language barrier isn’t a barrier at all. Like I said, we stopped in a back alley noodle joint for lunch. All I knew to say was “Soba.” We had a delicious cheap messy lunch (still learning how to feed noodles to a toddler with chopsticks). It was 600Y (about $7), and the lady held my daughter while I picked up noodles and paid the check! She even carried her out and helped me set up the stroller for the rain. I don’t know if I’d get the same treatment if I was traveling alone, but I’m grateful that people are so kind to both of us.

So far, so good!

An Even Bonnier Voyage

Let’s face it. Flying sucks. Unless you’re going private or first class. In which case, I’m sure it’s all foot massages and carrying on as much liquid as you desire.

Anyway, I have to say that on my most recent flight from Seattle to San Francisco I noticed a few new airport conveniences.

1) Power-hungry Virgin America gate in SeaTac:

Outlets in the bench! Brilliant!

I remember the early 00’s when I used to squat on the floor next to an outlet, usually next to a trash can, and often under the curious looks of landline-using passengers. It was embarrassing, but necessary. In recent years, it’s become a Charge to the Chargers Battle Royale. Power-hungry smartphone, tablet, and laptop users vie for precious outlets. Bodies sprawl on the floor like some post-apocalyptic movie scene, all in the hope of maintaining full charge during the inevitable airline delays.

But I digress. Thanks to Virgin America, charging has dignity and distinction. Just plug in at your seat and save the passenger-on-passenger aggression for overhead bin space.

2) Be kind, unwind

Enjoy your Nama-stay in SFO

3) SFO Cribz
I’m sure there aren’t actual cribs and nannies in this nursery, but the fact they have this and not just a family restroom is pretty impressive.


Rocking chairs, express manicures, wine bars…what else have you noticed lately that improved your airport experience?