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What to pack in a carryon

carryonheaderBack in July you might have noticed I was on a few weekend getaways. One was the trip to Oregon, another was exploring Japantown San Francisco, and thirdly my husbands 7th Ironman triathlon race (spot the brown delsey in the trunk!) . I have to admit! I’m kinda glad things are settling down a bit more. Whoowee.

delsey-suitcaseThe most questions I received about any of my trips, was, where are your suitcases from? Whether it was from friends on social media, or stewardesses on airplanes. They all loved and raved about our Delsey suitcases!

delsey-and-magI had always intended on bringing one carry-on luggage and now I’m going to show you how to pack lightly for a three-day trip. Tips, tricks on how-to lighten your load, and packing your items practically.

I prefer to keep like-items in packing cubes so you’ll see a reoccurring trend here.

epi-pen-and-allergyTech gear + Allergy Pills
Items such as my vitamins/allergy medication, epi-pen, my phone and camera chargers, and extra SD cards will be transported in one packing cube.

I have been doing this ever since my Mom started packing my bags for me when I went away to camp, and I’m surprised how often it’s not shown on blogs. Either people don’t know about it, or they forget to show it. But it’s a must-do when I travel. Saran wrap the caps of everything. Nothing ever leaks out of my containers when I seal the travel-sized jars with saran wrap prior to packing. I also like to pack my liquids in my carry-on last, because you’re going to need to take it out anyway at the airport.

makeupHair + Makeup 
My hair and makeup products aren’t sorted into a packing cube, but they are still contained into the one area via a makeup bag. I try to bring as little as possible with regards to hair/makeup. Travel-sized items are the way to go, and that way you can almost guarantee you’ll use up most of the products during your travels, thus lightening your load on the way back home. My stowaway cosmetics, drybar goodies and mini lancôme products came in handy.

Fossil-PursePre-boarding/In-Flight Essentials
I like to carry my valuables with me at all times. I used my Fossil Emi Saddle Bag to carry my passport, IDs/cash, and my phone. That’s all I need, give or take a magazine or two which I bought at the airport. I have a mini muji notebook, with 2 hair elastics and my bobbi pins stuck to it. You don’t need to bring a whole slew of ’em!

I brought 2 pairs of pants, 3 tops, and 2 dressy blazers for the dinners. Everything I brought complimented each other so I could wear any article of clothing together, and they’d match. Last tip is to roll-roll-roll! I find that this saves the most space and allows for extra items for you to bring. I didn’t need that much, but rolling my clothing into my suitcase is second nature, so I keep doing it.

delsey-whiteYou might remember this Delsey suitcase in a gorgeous champagne colour from December when I went on a trip to Palm Springs. I also have it in a nice light chocolate brown shade too. Mr. Spiffykerms was actually the first one to take our nice white carry-on on an airplane, and now that I’ve reserved (the same style: Delsey 19″ Chatelet) his brown suitcase for him, it was my turn to use this one first. Heh! DIBS!

carry-on-and-purseI don’t often do quick trips, since the only places we really travel via airplane is right across the North American continent, back home to Newfoundland. I’m not the lightest packer by any means but I have learned a lot from reading packing light blog posts from other friends.

delseysDisclaimer: My Fossil purse, and the Delsey luggage were both sent for review. 

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Off-Roading in Oregon with Lexus


walk-to-supperHow do I even begin to summarize this trip without making it a bajillion words long? The last few days were amazing and I cannot believe I had the chance to go on another trip with LexusHeels and Wheels. Heels and Wheels brings together an all female driving event for writers all across the board, so I was with some pretty influential professionals from well-known magazines, and newspapers to bloggers like myself.

Delsey suitcaseI arrived on Wednesday to Brasada Ranch in the small town of Powell Butte, Oregon just outside of Redmond. I had so much fun and I filmed it all — my first video is below, the second will be on my YouTube channel. Yes! Multiple vlogs. Get excited. I’m excited. 

Brasada-Ranch-viewsBrasada Ranch is a substantial and a gorgeous resort basically plopped in the middle of nowhere. I recall someone saying you’d have to drive to the next town over to purchase groceries if need be. There was horses a plenty, and bunnies hopping freely right in front of us. Perhaps they ate a little too many juniper berries and were getting bold coming up so close to us. I totally wanted to pet them (I didn’t).

Brasada-Ranch-cabinSage bushes were everywhere, it smelled like a spa. Whenever I stepped outside my cabin, I felt the need to whisper, and simply enjoy the mountainous views and high desert scenery and take it in for all its worth. Even more glorious during the evenings. The stars lit up like nothing I’ve seen in ages. There were even families who were staying around us, but not a peep out of any!


roomThe room I stayed in! With my Fossil bag and my Delsey suitcase.

Upon arrival, we were situated away and shuttled to our cabins. Some were paired in larger cabins with multiple house-guests, while I was paired with another Canadian writer. Two Canadian pals hanging out in Oregon together, it was great.

Eco-ChallengeNot only were we there for driving, we were also there to learn about the Lexus Eco-Challenge educational program first hand where we did our own mini-eco challenge.

Brasada-Ranch-treesLexus’ educational partner for the past 10 years, Scholastic, gives middle and high school kids with an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) the opportunity for scholarships and grants and in those 10 years Lexus has given away over 35 million in scholarships and grants. The Eco-Challenge is a rewarding program, and it’s so important that girls see that they can do the same thing that boys can do in the area of STEM. Some winning teams have made it global, and another successful team presented their work, and met with President Obama at the White House!

Both evenings, we had supper overlooking Brasada Ranch with gorgeous sunsets.





The second and final full day of our trip was ‘driving day’. We were to experience the more rugged side of the Lexus brand. Again, a female-focused event and driving Lexus LUVs (Luxury Utility Vehicles) off-road on a dirt course. More specifically the Lexus LX, and GX models.

Since the group was large, there were two driving shifts. I was in the morning one which was an on-road expedition through the scenic highway in Central Oregon, driving through Powell, and along Crooked River. That’s where the RX and NX was taken out.

CanadiansMy Canadian pal Jodi and I teamed up to be driving partners for the full day.

I’ll let some of the photos do a lot of the speaking for me, because isn’t a picture worth a thousand words?Lexus-On-Road



Guys I can’t contain my excitement. Many of the women there asked me if I ever stopped smiling. I have to say man, I love my life right now. What an incredible experience, and I’m so lucky to have gone. I had a blast.Rachels-pic

The women I met, and re-connected with (from Palm Springs) these ladies last week in Oregon. What an inspiring, kind, and absolutely hilarious group. My cheeks hurt from smiling!Selfie candid

From urban driving to off-road trails, Lexus LUVs will provide you with a luxurious ride and full off-roading capabilities. Best of both worlds, and I was ready for it. An afternoon of off-roading in the Lexus LX 570 and Lexus GX 460.

Lexus-LX-offroadI’d never been off-roading and I didn’t want to Google much of it before attending. I wanted it all to be a bit of a surprise, whether it was on dirt, rocks, or a trail. I had no clue, but I wanted to learn as much as possible about the capabilities of the Lexus vehicles, because for the most part when I’m reviewing cars for a week, I’m going on an adventure with Alfie, and not taking advantage of what the vehicles can do for me. So much technology has gone into these vehicles it’s unreal. From independent axles to the downhill assist (an ABS function) and active traction control.

Rachel-offroadIt’s definitely unnerving when you can’t see where you’re going but that’s where the multi-terrain monitor comes into play. It’s a camera that lets you see what’s in front of you when it’s too steep to see over the hood of the vehicle. My back was tense as I focused on driving and taking in all the information my female driving instructor, Elizabeth was telling me as I was off-roading with her in the passenger seat. Parts of my off-roading adventure momentum was moving us down the hills since my foot was neither on the brake nor the gas pedal. And it’s all due to the ‘crawling control’ feature, which automatically modulates the throttle and brake. I have to tell you, the crawl control feature definitely was an experience in itself due to the noise it was making. Although completely normal, it definitely sounded like something was breaking in the car.

Lexus-LogoSo filthy, so fun!

dirt-shoesThe top of the line LUV is the Lexus LX 570, which is what I had the chance to drive off-road. What I was worried about was bottoming out a lot of the cars. But, to get that ground clearance while off-roading the air suspension can be raised and lowered with the touch of a button. I KNOW! Nuts.

JodiOk. Side note. Notice the mean-lookin’ (I love it) spindle grille on the front of the Lexus vehicles? Lexus’ parent company, Toyota, before they started building automobiles they were in the Loom business (I have a bit of history with working with Looms too, as I loved working with looms and weaving when was enrolled in a 2 year Textile Studies course “back in the day”) and the looms were the inspiration for the spindle grille.

When we came upon uneven trail (such as ditches — shown in my video below) the Lexus owned it! With a combo of multi-terrain select (select from rock, rock & dirt, mogul, loose rock, or mud & sand) and the articulation of the (doesn’t that make me sound fancy?) axles adjusted to get the vehicle over those bumps and deep holes without issue. It almost looked like the tires were going to pop off. It looked so strange, right?!

Brasada Ranch specifically, is an incredible relaxing place to visit considering you can ski during the mornings on the mountains (Olympic ski teams practice on these mountains!) and play a round of golf once the crispness from the air leaves, and the hot hot sun appears during the afternoon, as this part of Oregon is in the high desert. The amenities there are endless, a gorgeous water-park, cycling, horse back rides, golfing, off-roading in the trails, skiing, you name it.

I’ll probably be back to Oregon again while we’re here in the USA, and I especially appreciate that Brasada Ranch is pet friendly. I saw so many awesome pups trotting about with their owners, and I know Alfie would have a time there too.

Bye-BrasadaThank you again to LexusHeels and Wheels for this incredible opportunity. I definitely did not take it for granted. What a cool experience I’ll never forget. 

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Our weekend in a nutshell

Mizuno-runnersThis weekend was fairly uneventful up until yesterday afternoon. I’ve been taking a few weeks off running since I’m experiencing a bit of pain in my right shin. It’s like a bit of a shin-splint feeling, even though I land properly (flat) when running. We are assuming it’s because I need to replace my sneakers. I’ve had these same Mizuno’s for a few years, and it’s time to get new ones. I think I’ll stick with the Mizuno brand, since I’ve had no problems ‘breaking them in’ or any issues, up until now that they’re worn out. Then again I’ve only had experiences with Saucony, Nike and Mizuno — never any other running shoe. If you guys run… let me know what are your favourite brands please!

Lexus-Find-Your-EdgeOkay so if you’ve followed me along Snapchat yesterday, you would’ve seen a whole slew of a fun day at the Westfield Valley Fair Mall parking lot in San Jose. Lexus was there for their #FindYourDrive event. Basically anyone could go test drive (with a Lexus driver, too) one of their new launches – cars a plenty were there for the pickin’s. It was awesome — there was the Lexus RX, along with the IS, GS-F and a few others. Brings back the fun memories of the Palm Springs trip I took with Lexus in December as some of the same vehicles were at this event, too.


Lexus-VRBut first we were sat down to watch this amazing virtual-reality of being in one of the Lexus vehicles on a race track, so fun and you definitely had to sit down to watch. I was giggling and I still wasn’t even in a “real” car, yet haha.

Lexus-GSFThough, I wish we could’ve taken it out on the highway, we did a few-minute drive around a big square block around the mall.

Driving-GS-FMr. Spiffykerms getting his chance at finally driving one of the review cars.

Lexus-drivingStill fun to put the pedal to the metal (I didn’t, but Mr. Spiffykerms and the Lexus driver did — I get scared, especially in a new fancy car!).

And to thank us for attending, Lexus treated us to a fantastic meal at LB Steakhouse in Santana Row. I’ve always walked past by, but never inside until yesterday.

OOTDAfter we finished the drives with Lexus in a few of their vehicles, we walked around the Valley Fair Mall a bit to work up a bit of an appetite. Popped into the Microsoft and Apple stores (snore!), and I popped into Nordstrom to look at the new Tom Ford beauty section (yay!). Plus, I wanted a little OOTD taken of me at this cool painting near the water station. Lol.


LB-SteakhouseObviously we were super stoked for a nice feed. I mean, anyone that knows us, knows that we never go out to eat! If we do, it’s usually our favourite fast food place (yes. McDonald’s. Hey, no shame! I love that spot).

Steak-at-LB-SteakhouseHeck yas look at that steak (the Misters).

Chicken-at-LB-SteakhouseMy chicken! You know I cleaned that plate. I’m still drooling with whatever sauce they used.

LB-Steakhouse-MenuDefinitely opt for the vanilla cheesecake with blueberry sauce. Worth it.

We had fun this weekend! And now this upcoming weekend it’s July 4th, so I’m excited to have my husband off work for a couple of days to spend some quality time together.

How was your weekend? Don’t forget to follow me on Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter for live updates daily!

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