Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How To: Pack and Prepare for a PCS

No matter how many times I have moved, I have never felt "prepared" for the move.  I always seem so frazzled, because until that moving truck drives away with all of my possessions, I don't feel at ease.  Then you have the wait on the other end, driving/flying to your next destination, and unpacking when you get to your new home!

I did a lot of stuff before my move.  First, I did a lot of purging.  When I say a lot, I mean a lot!  I found a post a while ago from one blog, Clover Lane.  She has this post about 40 bags in 40 days for Lent.  I definitely did this in my apartment, and it helped so much in the long run.  Plus, it made me realize what I really need.  I started this purge about 3-4 months before I moved.  Every weekend I did a room.  Plus, I did something crazy and went through all of my magazines to keep the articles I wanted (recipes, workout routines, etc).  This got rid of all of those Real Simple magazines sitting around the apartment (recycled them of course!)

After that, I needed to see what I wanted to bring with me.  I had to drive to Virginia and live out of a hotel room/barracks room for 2 months, and then, I have to drive to move to another state for 6 months, and then my final destination.  Did you get all that?  It is crazy.  Which makes being prepared that important.  I broke it down by paperwork/admin, bathroom/hygiene items, uniforms, clothes, and other.

Admin-financial information, "I love me binder", and my orders.  The financial is obvious, but the I love me binder is something I made about 5 years ago.  My second XO had us organize our careers in a nice binder.  Qualifications, certificates, awards, FITREPs, etc.  I always keep this safe, because I always have to reference it for something.  Orders and my moving info from the moving company.  Both of these are vital for checking in, and ensuring I get all of my household goods (especially getting them in one piece. Still praying for that). I also hand carried all of my medical records, must have for any and every move.  If you know anything about me (at least my friends and those who work with me know) I love binders.  It is kind of crazy, but it keeps me so organized, in a way that I can make sense of all admin stuff I have.  I even have a special PCS binder that I made.  It contains orders, helpful hints, barracks reservation info, travel info, and apartment searches/leases for all of my moves. 

Bathroom/Hygiene Items-I had to make sure I had all of my medications, and other stuff like cold medicine, vitamins etc.  I am glad I had off of these things in a shoe box sized clear tote.  It made it easy when I came down with a sinus infection to find what I needed, and not have to run out and buy more meds (which I had to do anyway..).  I have two of those clear totes for cold meds and for hair/makeup stuff.  I also have two larger totes for soaps, shampoo, sunscreen, hair products, anything the movers couldn't move because it was a liquid.  I had all of these totes packed full, and have definitely used each item I packed.  Ahh, bug spray, bandaids, and anti biotic ointment always comes in handy, especially in the summer!

Uniforms-This was tough.  The Navy has a million Officer uniforms, and I will be travelling between two seasons.  That means summer and winter uniforms, along with working uniforms.  It also equates to more shoes.  I am not even kidding that I have an entire closet dedicated to uniforms.  I wish I had a closet just for shoes!

Clothes-I had a hard time with this.  I did the 30 for 30 list and packed accordingly.  I had to make this list accordingly, planning for August, September, and October.  Imagine living out of a suitcase, sans closet for 3 months.  I am not even that "fashion forward", but it was still tough to pack.  I am glad I did this, because so far I have not been at a loss for what to wear.  I had to make sure I had clothes for football tailgates, parties, etc.  Let's just hope it is a success.  I have been with out an apt for a month, and it has been a success so far!

Other-I packed some of my photos, etc.  Some stuff I don't want the movers to lose.  I didn't pack a lot of this, just a few things that have sentimental value.  I also have an entire suitcase with clean sheets/bedding/pillow for my first few nights at my new home.  I figured I would hate to show up after an 8-10 hour drive and not have any of that stuff available to me.  I am glad I packed my photos.  It is nice having a photo in my barracks room of my guy and me.  Makes it feel like home. 

I just hope I keep all of these helpful hints in mind with each step of my move!

Monday, August 29, 2011

How To: Live/Cook out of a Hotel Room

I am finding myself in a unique living situation, where I am living in a hotel room for a while.  I have done this before, but was young, and did whatever I wanted for meals.  Usually a trip to (insert bar name here) for dinner once or twice a week.  I am trying to save money, and eat healthy.  All I have is a mini fridge, microwave, stovetop, and little itty bitty sink. 

There aren't many grocers near me that offer the selection of food that I am used to.  City living can tend to spoil with conveniences!  Food Lion and Walmart, here I come!

My staples are:
milk, yogurt, cheese sticks, granola/fiber bars, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, hummus, oatmeal, healthy microwave meals, and cereal.   I am also going to cycle through some of my favorite recipes, like Margarita Chicken, and my chicken wraps

Healthy microwave meals are key.  Most are chock full of awful stuff, little protein and incredible amounts of sodium.  Yuck.  I diligently looked at every microwave meal I bought the other day, and the best stuff I found was Amy's Light and Lean.  Best part, it tastes good too!

My favorite hotel chain to stay at with even more amentities than I currently have is the Residence Inn by Marriott.  The one I stayed at in DC was bigger than my apartment in Chicago.  No joke!  I would stay at one of these hotels again in a heartbeat.  So many conveniences of home.  I hate eating out for every meal when I travel.  I feel so unhealthy when I do this.  So during my DC trip, I had some breakfast food and lunches in my room, so I didn't gorge myself.  Plus, I saved a ton of money. 

My next "How To" post will be how to pack for a PCS!

Friday, August 26, 2011

All in a week..

This week has been incredible.  I went out for Thai with friends, Ran my first Hash Run, and studied my butt off for my first exam in my current school.  The studying paid off, I passed my test!

I then started my "hurricane preps".  I got gas, bottled water, food, booze, and some entertainment (books and UNO).  Yup.  We may have a hurricane party in the barracks, or I may get the hell out of dodge.   All of my friends on the East Coast are affected, so none of us really have anywhere to go.
First we have an earthquake, now a hurricane.  I have many friends in Norfolk, and right now I am praying for their safety.  I hope this hurricane isn't that bad, but I have a feeling that where I am right now, we will have significant wind damage and power outages.  We had a minor storm yesterday, and it was pretty bad here.  Downed trees, power outages everywhere.  Thus, no one could prepare yesterday, leaving it to today.  Yikes! 

I just hope I get my act together tonight/tomorrow, so I can get out of here in time, or just ride it out with all my shipmates.  Like I said, we have UNO.  And wine.  Lots of wine. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Good Reads?

Due to the amazing amount of "downtime" I have right now, I am in the market for a Kindle.  I am going to buy one this week.  I was going to get one last week, but since I was sick, I scrapped that idea.

Anyone have any good reads they could suggest?  I need a break from school reading, and need some "other" reading.  Plus, with the enormous amount of travel, moving, etc lately, I don't want to buy any traditional books.  It is just more stuff to pack. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

East Coast Living and Travels..

Since I am currently living on the East Coast, and will be for the next couple of years, I plan on doing a bit of travelling.  Seeing things I have read about, heard about..

I can't wait to see so much of American history, so much that sometimes we just take for granted.  I remember studying abroad in college, and I have travelled a lot since then.  I just try to soak it all in, and remember the sights, smells of the oceans..fields..and tastes of the amazing new foods I have tried.

I hope to document much of these travels in my blog..and will update some cities as I visit them more.  Many of the cities I have visited are listed in my labels section.  Feel free to check them out and give me any tips on any places you suggest!

Via Google Images

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chicken Soup?

I've been here for 10 days and I have been fortunate enough to work up a sinus infection. 

I need to go to sleep..but I have a huge test tomorrow.  I have to go in to work early to study, then hopefully more rest so I can have dinner with friends this Saturday!

I haven't been sick in a long time, so I am peeved about it..but I just hope I kick it soon.  Off to bed!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


You would think that after moving 9 times in the past 10 years, I would get used to it.  Get used to the planning, packing, living out of a suitcase, etc.  You really don't.  You get better at the small stuff, like knowing what to pack, knowing how much room you will have in your car, knowing what uniforms to bring. 
Luckily for me, I brought a lot of hygiene items with me, and the cold medicine has been quite useful this week.  Seems that my whole class has gotten the "crud".  Which is why I am sitting in a hotel room on a Saturday night in the middle of no where, VA. 

I hate leaving behind my "old" haunts, my friends, my life that I had just gotten used to.  I think it finally hit me today, that this is it.  That I am training for the next step, the next job.  Creating new haunts, building new friendships, and rekindling old ones. 

I really want to buy this for my new temporary home..

Can be found/bought Here

Friday, August 12, 2011

Parent versus Teacher?

I recently saw on CNN, that the Mayor of Philadelphia and the Police Chief are enforcing curfew, etc due to an increase of flash mobs.  Having the Mayor and the Police Chief tell the parents, Hey! These are YOUR kids, please raise them..just made me wish we had done that in Chicago.

Chicago has had the same issues, and the Mayor and Police Chief are far too political to call it what it is, BAD parenting.  The teachers in the Chicago Public School system teach the kids during the day, and the Police have to teach them, raise them at night?  Really?  The parents are in such denial.  There was recently a 13 y/o boy shot numerous times by the CPD.  His parents stuck to their guns (no pun intended..or is there?) that their child was not a bad kid, and that he would NEVER have a gun.  Too bad the CPD found a gun on him, and the kid had shot out the windows of his school, and numerous vehicles in the area.  Oh yeah, and the picture the parents gave to the media, was of the kid flashing gang signs.  No joke. 

It is a shame that parents just can't be parents. 

You can read what the Philly mayor said here.  Let's hope that if this madness happens in Chicago again, that everyone agrees, it's the parents fault, and lets increase patrols and fine them.  They should know where their 11 y/o kid is, at 11pm.  Seriously. 

Major kudos to all those teachers out there.  You have a tough job out there, and may feel unappreciated.  Just know that there are people who DO appreciate your hard work and dedication!!  I say this because I do have many friends, esp in Chicago, who are teachers.  They spend so much time off the books helping their students, and I see how proud they are when they succeed.

I also know that before I didn't recognize those parents out there who are doing a fantastic job.  I have many friends who have babies, and lets just say if I ever get married, have kids..I am running to them for advice.

This isn't a slam against those who are doing their job as a parent, but just a rant that I am fed up at the media blaming everyone but the parents for the kids staying out at all hours of the day. I mean, how is it the neighbors fault that your kid is out pushing a lady down the stairs of the "L" station to steal her I Phone? The blame game is so old.   The Chicago media is so biased, and every chance they get to slam a hard working parent, teacher, cop, fireman, sanitation worker, etc, they do it.  I am starting to think that the Tribune is more unfair and unbalanced than anything. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Back to School..

I got to middle of nowhere Virginia yesterday, and got settled in.  I am living in a hotel room for 2 months, so I unpacked a bit, got some good seafood (yessss!!)  Awesome seafood..how I have missed it.

Today was my first day of class.  Got to see some good friends, and learned a bit.  Off to the start of 2 months of class, and then another 6 months of class in Rhode Island. 

I just need to get into a routine, with school, working out, and finding new things to do.  I want to explore more of Virginia that I never saw when I lived here before.  Civil war sites, historical places, and of course, new restaurants!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Goodbyes..little things..and Adventure!!

This past week was a whirlwind.  Literally. 

I did so much!  I almost feel like I can't remember it, which is probably why I started this blog to begin with.  Even though I have a photographic-rand-mcnally-like memory (seriously, its nuts), I started this to document places, things, events, etc.  I always know where my favorite pizzeria in country X is, but I know by walking down this street by this monument, etc.  That confuses people, and viola, here is ChicagoGirlAroundTheWorld.  I have now left Chicago, and am starting my travels.  I'll be here, there, everywhere for about 1.5 years....

First off, I hate goodbyes.  I hate them because they are emotional, and I am not an emotional person.  I am a girl that lives surrounded by walls..thus, I will not cry or get emotional.  Nope. 

I had two goodbye dinners and a lunch last week.  It was so nice spending time with my friends.  I love my girls!  From the girls I went to high school with, to the ones I am serving in the Navy with, etc, we all have a special bond.  I can't wait to see them again. 

Then came the work goodbye.  I tried to leave silently.  Then, as I was doing last minute errands, some how, people kept "finding" my cell # and called me and texted me.  They had to say goodbye in person.  It was nice to see that I had enough of an impact on people, that they did that.  I am a very tough person at work, and I know that.  I expect the best out of my guys/gals, and I try to give them my best in return.  I really enjoyed working this job, and each of my leading chiefs made it enjoyable to go to work every day.  I really hope my next job is like that. 

The goodbye with my guy was easier, because we spent a week together.  A week doing everything and nothing at the same time.  Bbqing, doing laundry, cleaning the house, watching season 1 of the Wire ( I am addicted, and have to buy my own copy now), trying new places for dinner, everything.  He helped me pack up my car today, and took me to breakfast before I started the first trek of my drive out East.  He is amazing, and I can't wait for our next visit.  It won't be for a while, because we have a lot going on at work, but it will be a great visit nonetheless. 

So here I am, sitting in a little hotel room in no-where-in-particular Pennsylvania.  Starting the next leg of my adventure after I am well rested tomorrow.  Looking forward to where to road takes me, and taking advantage of every single weekend I have out East. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hot Dougs

Many of my friends know I have been trying to make it to Hot Dougs forever.  Seriously.  Every time I have a day off, it is closed.  Boo.  They take random days off, so be sure you check their website before you go. 

My Mr. and I went today, and I was so excited.  Yep, excited for encased meats.  We got there at about 10:10, and there was already a line.  They don't open until 1030.  Yes, people line up that early for this stuff!

I had one of the specials, Garlic and Rosemary Smoked Chicken Sausage with Creamy Roasted Garlic Mustard and Smoked Provolone Cheese.  Yum:)  Best $7.50 ever for a hot dog.

I also had a "Dog", which is a standard Chicago hot dog. 

I would recommend this place to anyone/everyone.  Get there early, bring a healthy appetite, and plenty of cash.  It is a cash only establishment.