Wednesday, April 27, 2016

DIY: TSA Approved Travel Bag

It has been a crazy week with all these meetings and planning sessions on the new business, they didn't lie when they told me having a business would be a 24/7 task so I've been trying to enjoy the process (while avoiding feeling overwhelmed)

These days I also received a lot of questions about the last post (Chichen Itza), it's interesting because I've been contacted by all means except the comments section of the blog, please don't be shy and if you have questions and/or comments don't hesitate in letting me know! (By any mean)

Now back to that amazing vacation in Yucatan I must confess that I had a minor incident, the travel bag I normaly use to carry shampoo, deodorant and hair straightener (among other million things) suffered an "injury", turned out that I didn't realized that I put my hair straightener inside the bag while still warm and being made of plastic it ended up looking like Tommy Lee Jones in that 2-faces character, yeap, the melted side.

I was thinking in getting a new one but then I recalled a nice piece of tweed fabric I have in my closet waiting to be used and I also thought it would be a nice project for the blog, because honestly, I don't think you'll be interested in 20 posts about coasters, so I'm trying to focus on projects that are not only pretty but also useful.

TSA Approved  Travel Bag

Supplies needed:
  1. A piece of plastic (this will depend on the bag size you want)
  2. A small piece of a nice fabric (I used tweed but any resisting fabric that you have is ok)
  3. Zipper 
  4. Matching thread
  5. Scissors 
  6. Pins
  7. Tape measure
  8. Optional: Sewing machine (if you don't have one you can do it by hand or if you are not into sewing you can use a general-purpose glue)

Let's define the size of the bag, in my case I used the exact measures of my melted bag  (25* 32 cm = 10 * 12.5 In) just because I know that is large enough to carry all my toiletries.

Fold your plastic to cut a rectangle in the desired length, this is that you'll get one single piece of plastic, in my case it has a  50 (25*2) * 32 size, it might be easier to understand if you look at the picture.

Now let's cut the fabric; as the fabric piece is only to add some color you can simply cut some rectangles with the width of you bag, I cut 3 pieces of fabric: two that are 10* 32 cm (4 *12.5 in) and one that is 20* 32 cm (8 * 12.5 in) for the bottom of the bag.
Using the pins place the fabric over the plastic.

Sew the middle section of fabric, for the two remaining pieces we are only going to sew the bottom (the top will be sewn later when we add the zipper)

Once the fabric is sewn over the plastic fold the plastic turned around (the fabric must be in the inside), and secure with pins aligning the ends, now we will sew the ends leaving 1 cm from the end.

Turn it around again and with the aid of some pins place the zipper on the top of the bag as closer as possible from the fabric end.

Sew the zipper and voilà!

Now the good thing about this bag being transparent is that you can check everything is packed without opening it, it will also help going through the TSA reviews without worrying of loosing something because I just don't enjoy the idea of carrying a zipper bag for my toiletries.

Hope you liked this week's project and decide to give it a try, it only took me a couple of hours and I blame it on the pictures I was taking for each step, so if you are bored and have an hour to kill this might be a good option!

Have a great (rest of the) week,

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Chichen Itza, the iron hat and the picture challenge

If you've been following my Instagram account you probably noticed that I recently traveled to the south of Mexico to check one of my dearest bucket list items: Chichén Itzá!

We spent beautiful sunny and busy days at Yucatan sightseeing and eating everything, from their chicken dishes to the famous Cochinita Pibil, drinking litters of lime water and visiting ALL the spots that we marked in our wish list: the colonial cities, the pyramids, the cenotes (natural pits or sinkholes resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath) and a beautiful beach.
Dzibilchaltun's Cenote

There are so many stories I could share about this trip but I think it will be fair if I summarize it in the following 3:

1) Chichén Itzá

If you recall the recent contest to define the new 7 wonders of the world you probably are familiar with the most popular image of Chichén Itzá that depicts the "Temple of Kukulkan" pyramid.

We could spent days talking about the Mayas and this magic place, which most popular event is the celebration of the spring equinox when there is a light-shadow effect in which the feathered serpent god appears be seen to crawl down the side of the pyramid.

This place is also famous because of its acoustics, one hand clap in front of the staircase of the El Castillo pyramid is followed by an echo that resembles the chirp of a quetzal, I was so amazed listening to the echo that I forgot I wanted to record it, but we went later to Uxmal which has the same acoustic effect, check the video below and you'll hear the quetzal right after the clap sound ends.

Finally I found enthralling to know that the place was just recently (2010) purchased by the Mexican government, it belonged for a long time to a US citizen and later to a Spanish guy, although it might seem weird the fact that the owner wasn't a Mexican for so long it actually helped this place to be kept safe during the Revolution and other social movements; not long ago was also  discovered that "El Castillo" was built on top of a cenote as there have been studies demonstrating the existence of water below the big structure which make it incredible to understand how a huge and robust construction like this can be so stable being build on a water base.

2) The iron hat

Paseo Montejo in Merida
We started this trip by flying to Merida, the capital city of Yucatan State,  also known as the "White City". Merida is very famous for its downtown, the weather, the food, the gentle people (their lovely  accent) and also their production of hats, in fact, locals are very proud to say that the biggest amount of Panama hats in the world is produced in Merida and their hats are very appreciated for being so well constructed that you won't be able to damage them even if they are crushed. You can actually place one of these hats inside your luggage and after a long trip you'll be amazed to see how it was not damaged at all.

Merida's Cathedral

I took this video to demonstrate how these hats can be manipulated without harm, and as you can tell the sales man was very amuse to perform the hat demonstration for the million and one time ha ha but he was very kind and I was extremely happy that I finally found a hat that fits my small head.

3) The picture challenge

Finallly I must confess that what I´ve enjoyed most about this trip was the companion (insert heart emoji here), but if you ask me for the next best thing I wouldn't hesitate in saying that it was the fact that there were so many beautiful places worth taking pictures, that I just couldn't stop clicking. Even before we get on the plane I remember telling my bf that I really really wanted to get a picture jumping on the main pyramid of Chichén Itzá (I have this thing with jumping), so if for some reason we could not take more pictures because of the crowds or if we got tired or were feeling heat exhaustion and needed to get back to the hotel I was OK, but I couldn't get back home without my jumping picture.

So here we are in Chichén, after our 2 hours guided tour, in a very hot day and somehow we couldn't find the right angle to get my picture, I jumped so many times that I considered that my cardio quota of the day was completed by then but we just couldn't make it right, finally, after 4000 attempts I got my picture and was ready to move on with the trip, I wasn't planning in telling this or showing the failed attempts but when my sister saw ALL the pictures just couldn't stop laughing so maybe is not that bad if we share these embarrassing moments for more people to enjoy (the people near us at Chichén just had a blast)

Spending the afternoon at Celestun
The truth is that the best pictures that we took in this trip were not posed at all, just like the one included above, but hey, If you feel like jumping don't let anything stoping you from doing it, you may regret it later.

Getting ready for a dive in Samula's cenote

I still feel like I could add more and more pictures so you can see all the amazing places that you must visit in this region, not only  Chichen Itza, but also been able to see the pyramids from the Ruta Puuc (Uxmal, Kabah, etc), to spend a nice day in the nearby beaches (Celestun, Sisal and Puerto Progreso), swim in the cenotes (Xkeken, Ik Kil, Dzibizaltun) or enjoy a city tour (Merida, Valladolid).

Ruins at Dzibilchaltun

You definitely need to come visit (and  I wouldn't mind getting back soon)

Swiming inside Xkeken's Cenote
Hope you´ve enjoyed this post, have a great day!


Monday, April 4, 2016

Working (efficiently) from Tapalpa

It's been almost 3 weeks since I started my entrepreneur life and one of the main resolutions I made before jumping of the labor cliff was that I'd use this opportunity to build a life where I would not be hoping for weekends or holidays, instead I'd find a way to make every single day special (and yes, that includes Mondays).

I'm still working in creating a schedule that is flexible enough to allocate time for my business, house chores/running errands, exercise sessions, DIY projects, travels, gatherings, pinterest and whatever new cooking trend I'm trying at the moment. I've also been reading about efficient ways to create a routine that works, some of the ideas that I'm adopting are: 
  1. Base work schedule in milestones rather than time
  2. Never exceed 6 continuous hours a day for a creative business 
  3. Start working as early as possible
  4. Work in sessions if you have scheduled meetings in the day: some hours in the morning, some in the afternoon, some during the night.
  5. Work whenever you feel inspired (even if it's on a Friday/Saturday night)
  6. Dedicate a weekday for personal items

Last week I decided to put items 1 to 6 in action to visit a Magical Town called Tapalpa, it's interesting because I've been there a couple of times before but I felt as if it was my first time there,  it might be because this time I wasn't rushing: I took my time to enjoy being there, to admire the landscape, take pictures, ride horses, take long walks,  enjoy yummy meals and have deep interesting and stupid discussions with my friend.

Tapalpa is a small town situated in the mountains just 126 kilometers far from Guadalajara which make it a popular destination for weekends or holidays for all those that want to get out of the city.

For us it's so close (less than 2 hours of driving) but it might seem as if you have traveled really really far to get there just by feeling the relaxed and gentle mood of the locals and by breathing such clean air, it's also an interesting experience as most of the lodging facilities are cabins.

One of the things that I was most impressed about was the beautiful sky: a deep blue background with pristine white clouds which make it one of the most beautiful skies I've ever seen, I wasn't planning in doing a post about this travel but once I notice the big amount of beautiful pictures that I had taken I decided that I needed to share them here.

The pictures in this post have not been altered in any way (no filters, no adding bright, contrast etc.)  so you can tell how they really look like.

The purpose of my travel was not only leisure, I dedicated some time to work in my project, but it definitely felt more like a vacation and I got back home really inspired and with solutions to some items that where stuck so I'll definitely keep working in remote locations if that will help me to move forward easily (and to do it with such joy)

So please enjoy the pics and hope you have a great start of the week.
P.S. If you have any additional recommendation on creating efficient (and happy) work days please share in the comments section!

Love, Tany