The Perfect Travel Bag | The Otto From R. Riveter

On Saturday I got back from a two week backpacking trip through Western Europe and Northern Africa and throughout that time I developed a love connection with my newest bag, The Otto, from R. Riveter. Now, I am an ambassador for R. Riveter, but they did not sponsor this post, nor did they pay me to say beautiful things about them. This is, plain and simple, my honest opinion on a bag I think that every travel blogger should own.

Over the past five years of traveling I’ve definitely developed a routine for what works best for me. I have my favorite adaptor, my favorite travel document carrier, and my favorite pack. But I’ve never been able to pin down my favorite travel bag (you know, the one that goes UNDER the seat when you fly). And believe me, I’ve tried to find something that works. If you know me, you know I go through clothes and accessories like my life depends on it, so this is probably the sixth or seventh bag I’ve tried. Luckily, I’ve finally found something I can count on. Here’s why:

Heathrow Airport | London, England

The leather handles are one of my favorite feature with this bag because not only does it come with hand straps, but it also comes with a cross-body strap. This is pretty essential because when I already have a 30 lb pack on my back, the last thing I want is to be carrying a cross-body bag with more stuff in it, and when I’m riding the metro during rush hour (without my pack) the last thing I want is to have to hold on to handles.

Stonehenge | England

When I travel I generally pack very minimal, in regards to clothing. I go for muted colors and a few accessories that can get me through photos without looking like I’ve been cut and pasted into each place. It’s really important to me, therefore, to have a bag that shows quality and simplicity at the same time. The Otto is the perfect balance of chic and also something people notice.

Windsor Castle | England

Size really does matter when it comes to having the perfect travel bag, and The Otto wins this category in spades. The elongated rectangular shape is perfect for putting books, tablets, and other necessities in and I found this so helpful during day trips where I had to have everything I would need for 11 hours in one bag.

Natural History Museum | London, England

When you’re buying  a bag you want it to fit into every part of your lifestyle, and that includes being able to transform as a beautiful day bag for work, to a travel accessory fit for Indiana Jones.

The real question, of course, is how much can you ACTUALLY fit in this thing? Well, for science, I decided to try it out. As you can see, there’s quite a lot that can go in, including (but not limited to) my tablet, a novel, my passport, a water bottle, chapstick, my travel organizer, currency from four different countries, napkins, snacks and postcards. Whew! But honestly, one of the best features of this bag is that it comes with a sturdy zipper to seal all of this madness away. Especially when it comes to stowing it under airplane seats (which I did seven times during this trip), it’s invaluable to know your valuables aren’t going to be sliding back to row 33 during take-off.

Casablanca, Morocco

The pockets are another beautiful, and functional, things about this bag. And let me tell you how much I love beauty and functionality. There are two pockets on the outside of the bag that hug the shape so if you put little items like bus tickets in them they’re not going to blow away. In addition there are two slot pockets on the inside (where I kept my keys, chapstick and other little bits and pieces) and a zipper pocket that stretches almost the length of the back of the bag. This zip pocket I actually used as a wallet for change while I was traveling because I never travel with an actual wallet (story for another time).

Girona, Spain

Stylish, dependable and made by military spouses, there really isn’t a way to lose on this bag. I’m so happy to have mine for this and for all of my future expeditions. It really is the perfect travel companion. Until next time!

Girona, Spain

2017 #BagsOnAMission Ambassador | R. Riveter

(photo credit Laura Vien at rrivter.com)

Hey everyone!

I’m really excited because these past few weeks I’ve been super busy working on a bunch of really awesome projects. One of my newest projects is that I’m now a brand ambassador for R. Riveter, which is an amazing organization on a mission to bring employment, and a global community, to military spouses. Pretty sweet, huh?

While I’m not personally a military spouse, my family has three generations of men who have served, and I do think it’s really important to support U.S. made products.

(photo credit Laura Vien at rrivter.com)

Q: What is an ambassador?

Glad you asked! To be an ambassador means I am an advocate for brands that I care about. This means these are brands I support because they strongly align with what I value. I’ve talked about my ambassador program with Schwinn, and I’m so glad I now get to stand alongside another amazing brand on a mission.

Being an ambassador means that I get to talk about my experience with the brand, how I use their products and how much I love (because I really, truly do) the community they’ve built around their brand. I could not be more excited!

The first time I ever heard about this brand was when they appeared on Shark Tank, and I instantly fell in love with them. I remember messaging one of my friends immediately after I watched the show, and telling her all about this amazing brand. That was a few years ago, and I’ve loved following along on their journey ever since.

(photo credit Laura Vien at rrivter.com)

What this doesn’t mean: I get paid to promote their brand and to coerce others to buy it. I don’t receive any money for being an ambassador, or for you making a purchase through the use of my codes. 

This DOES means that I get to share special discount codes that get you awesome products at a great price, just ‘cus that’s the way they roll. This also means that I share what’s up with the brand and what’s new with them.

For instance, right now the brand is teaming up with the Red Cross and donating 100% of proceeds from these awesome key fobs to help with those affected by Hurricane Harvey—awesome, right?! Get yours (they’re only $10!) HERE.
It’s pretty awesome if you think about it—you get the inside scoop via me. And you get to hear stories about women empowering other women to succeed. Everyone wins!

Here’s more about the R. Riveter brand:

These products really are amazing, and I can’t wait to share more about them with all of you. Keep a lookout for special codes if you have your eye on one of their gorgeous bags.

If you use the code ‘RREMILEEM’ you can get 15% off any bags in their signature collection!

Why My Blog Posts Came To A Screeching Stop

It’s been a few weeks since I posted anything on my darling blog, and there’s a very practical reason for that. It has to do with a game of Marco Polo and a girl (me) who is entirely too competitive. Whilst playing said game with some kids, a few weeks back, I managed to dislocate my right shoulder. Like a champ (so I’m told) I popped the sucker back in, but my muscles were more than a little bit sore. Like it really flippin hurt, guys.

Needless to say, I’ve been laying around with a sling on, going to physical therapy and visiting the doctor more times than I would like. Have I ever told y’all how much I hate going to the doctor?

Anyway, I’ve only been able to start typing the past few days, and honestly right now my arm is hurting from even just writing this. But I wanted to let you all know that I’m alive. My mind is swirling with ideas for all types of new blog posts, and I can’t wait to get writing again! Not being able to write my mind has been pure torture. BUT here are some things I HAVE been able to do while my right arm has been on sabbatical:

  • Getting really good at using my left hand for things. I’m naturally left handed/slightly ambidextrous and lemme tell you, it’s never worked more in my favor.
  • Started watching new shows like Mad Men. I’m obsessed! I can’t believe I’ve never watched this show, before!
  • Going to the Scottish Highland Games for year #2. It was so much fun! I can’t wait to go back next year.
  • Daydreaming of cosplay ideas for when I can once again use both of my arms. I have more ideas than I can count!

    One of my cosplay ideas for next year’s ECCC 🙂
  • Reading books and getting caught up on all things literary.
  • Working with kids while trying not to re-injure my shoulder. It hasn’t been easy. But I must be doing something right because I got employee of the month!
  • Thrift shopping more selectively. ‘Cause hey, I can only use one arm to hold stuff.
  • Winning a contest with Schwinn bikes for best “throwback” cosplay with my bike the day after I stopped using my sling. Woot! Here’s a peek of the pic.
  • Being a little bored, but making it work. I LOVE working, and writing and making things. It’s been really hard to take some downtime. It almost killed me to take sick leave time off from work, and I had it all covered! But now that I’m getting better I’m really excited to get things rolling again.

What have you guys been up to? Anything summer-y and fantastic? Comment below! 

Schwinn Ambassador 2017


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I’ve been keeping this on the DL for a while, but I’m SO excited to announce that I’ve jumped onboard with Schwinn bicycles as one of their brand ambassadors for 2017!

I’ve loved Schwinn bikes for the past 5 years, ever since I found my vintage bike (Elsie) at a second hand store. The minute I saw my little brown bike, it was true love. And the fact that three older gents tried to ‘take it off my hands’ while I was purchasing it, made me even more certain I had found a treasure.

My last Schwinn was my constant companion for almost three years of being a nanny. I rode it 7 miles a day to get to and from work and it held together beautifully. While having zero budget for restoring the bits that needed it, I’m definitely saving up to have that restoration happen in the future.

When I heard about the Schwinn ambassador program I knew that I had to apply, even though I didn’t think I had a shot in hell of getting in. I’ve since learned that there were over 500 applicants so I’m really honored that I was chosen to be one of the representatives for the upcoming year. So crazy.

One of the best perks about my new role, is that I was able to pick out a brand spankin’ new Schwinn. Part of me was a bit hesitant to bring another ‘kid’ home, because I didn’t want Elsie to feel like she was being replaced (yeah I name my bikes, get over it) but I found the perfect addition to the family with the Mifflin-hybrid in gold.

I’m still waiting on a new front fender before I take it out on a full ride, but I’ve definitely taken it for a spin up and down the road, and I’m loving the feel. More pictures and posts are to come, but I thought I would share some pics from the process of putting the bike together.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t do much in regards to piecing it, but that’s because my boyfriend is an engineer. I’m a strong believer that you’re only as good as your team, so he put most of it together (I helped a little with the peddles and fixing the front brake) and I made a delicious dinner. Trade for trade.

Without further ado, here’s the newest addition. I’m not sure yet what to name it, so I’m open for suggestions (seriously, please help me). I’m thinking something from Mad Max because it’s so shiny and so chrome.

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Date a man with a toolbox.
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Packaging, but getting there.
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So close. We’re still waiting on a new front fender, though.

Want to see more Schwinn awesome? Hop over to the Schwinn Ambassador blog!