Up Up and Away….Again!

by Lauren on December 3, 2012

Well, I’m off again tomorrow for another trip out to Chicago.  Long story, but there have been some pretty awesome things going on and possibly some very exciting things ahead.  I have to fly out this week for a few meetings and to tie some things together for 2013.  I’m stoked!

I have been traveling so much lately, that I feel I’ve become rather seasoned at packing.  This is coming from the world’s worst packer, so it’s truly a commendable statement. As I was putting together my suitcase this afternoon, I started to think about a few tricks I’ve learned when it comes to packing.  Allow me to share….

  1. Roll your clothes– I can’t remember who told me this golden rule, but I can’t imagine any other way.  Not only does it save a ton of space, but it ensures that your clothes won’t wrinkle.  It’s a God send!
  2. Plan your outfits around 1 or 2 pairs of shoes at the most – Shoes are my problem. I like to have a few costume changes, but the shoes are what get me.  In order to have more clothing options, I have to cut down on my shoe selection, so now I try to pick one or two pairs that I can utilize with a few different outfits.
  3. Bring cross-train shoes over sneakers for workouts– I always bring my workout clothes, but my running shoes take up a lot of room, not to mention, they’re not in the best state of cleanliness.  Unless I’m traveling for a race, my cross-training shoes are perfectly suitable for hotel workouts. They are much lighter and since I don’t run outside with them, they are a lot nicer to throw on top of my clothes than my dirty Asics.
  4. Buy travel size toiletries in EVERYTHING– I don’t know why anyone feels the need to travel with full size bottles of shampoo but trust me on this, the little 2oz bottles will save your life.  I keep a cosmetic bag full of travel size items and restock when necessary. That why, when I’m ready to pack, I have all of my toiletries ready to go without worry that I forgot anything.

So I’m set. My bags are packed, my boarding pass is printed, and by 3:00 p.m. tomorrow, I’ll be settling into Chicago for the week.

Since the trip came up rather quickly, I didn’t have a chance to put together any pre-scheduled or guests post, but I will try my best to post as often as I can.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a nice partying gift….

dinner for tomorrow night!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadillas with Spinach and Feta Cheese



Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas with Spinach and Feta Cheese
Entree, Vegetarian
  • 4 fajita size whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1 in cubes
  • ½ cup black beans
  • ½ tsp dried chili powder
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place cut potatoes on a baking dish and spray with cooking spray. Season the potatoes with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  3. In a small bowl, place the black beans and mash with a fork. The beans will be roughly mashed, but enough to spread onto the tortilla.
  4. Take one tortilla and spread half of the black beans in the center. Add ½ of the roasted potatoes and top with spinach and feta cheese.
  5. Place the other tortilla on top and gently press down.
  6. Repeat this process with the remaining ingredients.
  7. Place each quesadilla onto a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until tortillas start to brown and cheese is melted.
  8. Remove from oven and cut into quarters.

This is by far my favorite quesadilla recipe.  Black beans and sweet potatoes are a perfect match, and the strong salty feta gives this dish so much character.

They also couldn’t be simpler.  Once you have the sweet potatoes cooked, it’s really just a matter of assembly.

Feel free to serve them with your favorite condiments of choice, but allow me to suggest some homemade guacamole for a perfect addition.  Just plain old mashed avocado with a touch of lime juice and salt is my go-to guac recipe that never fails me.

If you need an easy and delicious dinner idea for the week, put this one on your radar!

Have a great week everyone!  I’ll see you from Chi-town!


Do you have any great travel tips?  Feel free to share your best traveling advice in the comments.

20 thoughts on “Up Up and Away….Again!”

  1. Weee! I’m so excited to see you for a nano-second tomorrow and then on Wednesday night for dinner!! I found a great sushi place for us to go to!


    1. Lauren says:

      I like it! And I see a few sake bombs in our future! 🙂 <3 you girl!

  2. Erica says:

    ohmygosh- those look SO good! Some of my favorite flavors. Hope the trip is fabulous! Sounds exciting!! I traveled for work 5 days a week every week for almost a year…and I’m still a terrible packer! My only tips are: 1. When you first arrive at your destination- go to the food store! Pick up essentials and request a mini fridge in your hotel room. This will save you on meals and unnecessary calories!! 2. If you know your hotel gym stinks, call some of the local gyms- sometimes they’ll give you a good deal for a week pass (or a free pass!!)

    1. Lauren says:

      Haha, I definitely scoped out the closest food store to my hotel. It’s the first thing I plan on doing. 🙂 Oh and I’m also the weirdo that packs sweet potatoes and egg sandwiches for the flight. Traveling smart doesn’t always look pretty. 🙂

  3. so jealous of your trips to Chicago! have a safe trip can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve! (:

  4. Can’t wait to hear what’s up next for you! My older sister told me to roll my clothes before I went to Disney when I was 9 and I’ve been doing it ever since! Yay for no wrinkles and more room!

  5. pluvk says:

    Great packing tips! I never thought of bringing crossfit shoes… my sneakers definitely take up a lot of room when I travel.

  6. I can’t wait to hear what’s in store – you’re doing so well for yourself, congrats! And as for coming back to my city with no blogger meet-up, this has to change one of these days! 🙂

    1. Lauren says:

      Thanks Katie! I know!! Don’t worry, it looks like I may be coming back more frequently. 🙂 I will definitely let you know because I would love to meet up!

  7. Hmm someone is getting to live quite the glamorous jet-setting life. Good for you!

    I actually put all my clothes in a plastic bag (like from the dry cleaners) and then fold it over other items. When I arrive at my destination, they go straight on hangers and no wrinkles!

    1. Lauren says:

      I wouldn’t say glamorous quite yet. 🙂

      That’s a great idea for packing clothes! I may need to use that next time.

  8. Those quesadillas look amazing!

    Have fun in Chicago!

  9. Safe travels… rolling clothes is DEFINITELY the way to go!

  10. Rolling clothes has changed the way I travel! It’s amazing how much space it saves. I always bring nuts and granola bars with me when I travel. Not only are they great for the plane ride, they are also good for quick and healthy breakfasts and snacks throughout the trip.

  11. glidingcalm says:

    haha oh man… I always pack 3-4 pairs of shoes on trips! it’s bad.

    these are great tips; i also do the ROLL thang for clothing!

    the quesadilla looks delicious too- thanks for the recipe!!!

    many hugs,

  12. Well! Welcome back to Chicago, lady! Hope you have just as good of a time this time around as you did last time 🙂

    I’m all about rolling clothes to pack! I actually keep most of my t-shirts rolled up all the time because I only wear them to work out in, and I have sooo many of them that I definitely need to save as much space as possible. I heard the roll-your-clothes trick right before I spent three weeks in Scotland, and it was a total lifesaver when it came to packing my backpack.

  13. Katie says:

    Ooh, excited to hear your news!!!

    Great travel tips. I roll my clothes, too! My best tip is to keep your toiletries in a clear bag, like the kind you sometimes get free samples in at the Clinique counter. This way you can just put that on the conveyer belt when you go through security, and don’t have to worry about the little ziplocks.

  14. Andrea says:

    All of your food and pictures look amazing. You have some original and delicious looking ideas. I really want to try this one!

    1. Lauren says:

      Thanks Andrea! That’s so sweet of you!

  15. I love feta and sweet potatoes! Looks like a great recipe that I need to try.

Comments are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: