Thursday, November 8, 2012

Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Hi everyone!! I'd like to first apologize for my absence from writing; it has certainly been a pretty crazy month for me! On October 10th, my boyfriend and I made the move from Wisconsin to California. We decided that driving all of our stuff out there was the cheapest option, so we both packed up our little cars to the brim and started on our journey. I've written some details below about each state that we drove through. All in all, it was a pretty good trip. We wanted to get to Cali as fast as possible, so we didn't do much stopping along the way (we're saving that for our way back). We did, however, see some amazing scenery.


Okay, not much to write about here. But, we did drive through Des Moines which looked like a pretty fun city! Luckily, our first day of driving went by pretty fast. I chalk it up to our excitement of getting on the road. We made a rest stop every 3 hours, which also made the drive seem to go by a little faster. 


We ended our first day of driving in Kearney, Nebraska, with not much to report on before that. Our second day started pretty early at 8 AM. After a few hours of driving we knew what it was like to be out in the open, in the middle of nowhere. But, it was a really cool feeling looking to the left and right of you and being able to see miles and miles of open land. 


We continued driving through Colorado on our second day, and finally reached some mountains! I've never been to Colorado before, and after driving through, I'm pretty sure it's my favorite state scenery wise. The mountains were insanely beautiful. I'll always remember driving around a big bend and seeing my first huge mountain. My jaw literally dropped. I was a very happy girl for the next few hours, driving up, down, and around these amazing hills. We ended our second day in Grand Junction. I can't wait to go back to Colorado and actually spend some time there!


Our third day started early again, and I wasn't sure what to expect out of Utah. I was pleasantly surprised! Although the mountains weren't as big or green as colorado, they were still beautiful. It was really fun for me to drive through, since I'm not used to constantly being surrounded by hills in the distance. We were able to stop pretty frequently, as there were many scenic view areas. Utah is where we took most of our roadtrip pictures, which I'll share below. 

Arizona & Nevada

We were able to drive through the northern-most tip of Arizona, which took us approximately 40 minutes, but I'm still including it in my list:) We ended the day in Las Vegas. It was so exciting to see the Strip from so many miles away! We stayed at the Stratosphere, and decided to reward ourselves with a buffet and tickets to David Copperfield that night. Note: The Stratosphere and the MGM are at completely opposite ends of the Strip. If you have tickets to a show at the MGM and are staying at the Stratosphere, DO NOT WALK THERE OR YOU WILL BE LATE. We made that mistake, even though we left AN HOUR AND A HALF before show time, not realizing that we had to walk THREE & 1/2 MILES. Regardless, we were only 5 minutes late and the show hadn't started yet (small victory), and we had a great time at the show!


We made it, we made it! After seeing the Welcome to California sign, I did a little happy dance. It had been a long four days, but we were beyond excited to start with the move in process!

Below are some pictures that we took in Utah. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Guest Post: Billy Beltz of Volunteer Forever

Volunteering is a very important activity in my life. Locally, I have been volunteering as a Wildlife Caretaker at a wildlife center close to where I live, and it has been one of the coolest and best experiences of my life. I've helped to take care of injured and orphaned wildlife (ducks, birds, squirrels, bunnies,  etc.) and I'm so glad I found a way to not only spend time around animals, but actually be a vital part of their health and well-being. 

I have never volunteered abroad but it has ALWAYS been on my bucket list and it is definitely in my future plans. One of the biggest issues that comes up though is how to help fund a volunteer trip. Billy Beltz, Co-founder and CMO of Volunteer Forever, provides some tips on how to fundraise to help keep costs down:

As you may have already discovered, participating in a quality volunteer abroad project is not cheap. Aside from the general program fee that a volunteer placement organization may charge, there can be other costs including travel to and from your chosen destination. All these expenses can add up and be discouraging to prospective volunteers. But don’t let financial barriers keep you from participating in such a meaningful activity! One solution is to use ‘crowdfunding’ to help raise funds for your trip and help supplement the cost of volunteering abroad.

Crowdfunding websites allow users to create a campaign page that conveys their story and fundraising needs in a simple yet powerful way, and provides them with the tools to promote the campaign to their extended network. If done correctly it can allow you to reach more people than you ever would have through traditional fundraising methods. Crowdfunding has been highly effective in helping people raise money for new business and creative projects, and Volunteer Forever is excited to bring the concept to the world of volunteering abroad.
Here’s how to get started:

First, make sure you’ve decided which volunteer project you’ll be participating in (if you’re unsure visit Volunteer Forever ( to read reviews and select a placement). Once you’ve chosen a project and determined the amount you need to fundraise, visit Volunteer Forever ( and sign up. It’s quick, easy and free. Setting up your page is the easy part- the success of your fundraising campaign is determined by what you do afterwards. Here are 5 quick tips to ensure you optimize your fundraising campaign:
  1. Tell Your Story. Your campaign page should be much more than the basic facts of where you’re going and how much money you need to raise. People respond to stories, so make sure your page explains yours. Why are you volunteering and what do you hope to achieve? What will their donations contribute towards? Don’t hold anything back- this is a life-changing experience, and the more enthusiastic you are about your trip the more likely it is they’ll get excited too.

  1. Share Your Page. Spread the word among everyone you can! This may include family, friends, past teachers, co-workers, community members, or even just people that you know on a Christmas-card basis. A good first step is to use the “Share” widget on your campaign page to promote the page through email, Facebook and Twitter.
    1. Ask Your Contacts to Share Your Page. Don’t limit your outreach to just people you think have the money to donate. One of the most powerful benefits of our crowdfunding platform is that it makes it easy for others to share your page and reach an exponentially larger network. So when you share your page, ask people to share it with their contacts as well! If you don’t ask they may not even realize how they can help.

  1. Reach Out to Local Media. Send a short press release to your local media about the campaign. Make sure to include your campaign page link in the press release so people know where to go to donate. If you’re not comfortable writing a press release you can contact your local media and tell them about your volunteer abroad story, and they’ll let you know what they need from you.

  1. Take Advantage of Holidays & Special Events. No matter what time of the year you’re running your campaign, there’s usually some kind of holiday or special event you can integrate into your campaign. Make donations to your campaign the first thing you ask for as a Christmas, birthday, or graduation gift. And use holidays or other family get-togethers as an opportunity to show everyone your campaign page in person all at once.

Steven Weddle (Founder & CEO) and Billy Beltz founded Volunteer Forever to make it easier for people to find and fund their volunteer abroad trips. The website features program reviews to help volunteers discover and select the right overseas placement, as well as a unique crowdfunding platform that allows users to tap into the power of their extended networks and raise funds for their trip more effectively. To learn more visit

So, fellow travelers, where is your next volunteer destination? I'd love to hear your own stories, tips, and info!

Monday, October 1, 2012

It's Finally Fall!

Greetings and HAPPY OCTOBER!! I wrote that in shouty capitals because I'm having a hard time containing my excitement as October is one of my favorite months. 

I've enjoyed taking some beautiful drives in my area, but regretfully haven't had much time to stop and take some photos. Luckily, I remembered to bring my phone along as I was walking my dog and was able to snap a few. I really enjoy the little things in life and stepping on crunchy leaves while admiring the newly colored trees is probably one of my favorite things this time of the year.

Some of my other favorite fall activities:

Decorating with autumn/halloween decorations (already did this 3 weeks ago)
Drinking apple cider and pumpkin spice drinks
Watching scary movies
Going to apple orchards and pumpkin patches
Haunted houses
& Bonfires!

A Salute to Autumn

Here's to a wonderful October! What are your favorite fall activities?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Three Fabulous Fashionable Flying Attire

Hello fellow travelers! If you're like me, you enjoy dressing up. Not necessarily for other people (though that doesn't hurt), but for yourself. When you know you look good, it not only boosts your self confidence, but gives you that extra "oomph". With the right clothing, it's as almost if you could yell, "here I am world, give me your worst!"and you could totally kick any bad day in the booty with your knee high boots. 

Aside from looking good however, I also want to be comfortable. Oh, I should probably mention I want both of those things while flying 30,000 feet in the air. It surely can't be done, right?!? Oh, but it can. I have compiled a list of three Glam Traveler flying-approved outfits from frumpy to fabulous. I have personally worn and tested each of them, and they are perfect for those long (and cold!) airplane flights. 

1. The Red Eye

Okay, I completely understand the need for wearing a sweatshirt at the airport. It's comfy, it's easy, it's casual. At least class the sweatshirt up a bit by wearing leggings, which are equally as comfortable. Throw on some sparkly flats and a fabulous purse, and this look goes from frumpy to fantastic. A simple track sweatshirt never looked so good. 

Leggings by Decree. Purse by Coach. 

2. Bad-Ass Business Class

Sometimes, you just don't want to be messed with. This outfit let's people know you mean business, while having the added bonus of wearability. While pairing a fun tank with a faux leather (yay for animals) jacket & boots, you can get to your destination in style! Oh, and don't let anyone tell you you can't mix brown with black (like my outfit below). Some rules can and should be broken (especially with my cute owl purse!!). 

Top by Forever 21. Jacket by JouJou. Leggings by Decree. Boots by Studio Works.

3. On my way to Santa Fe

You can't get much cuter or more practical than this outfit. It's trendy, yet super comfortable. If you want to up the ante, add a belt. I've paired this dress with a scarf for a pop of color, a medium size purse, and flats. If you get cold on airplanes (like me) pack a pair of socks in the purse and bring a zip up. You could also easily wear some tights or leggings (any color) with boots. 

Dress by Buttons. Purse by Kathy Van Zeeland. 

And there you have it, a list of three awesome outfits that get my stamp of approval. After all, fashion+comfort=perfection. What are your go-to styles for flying? As always, questions and comments appreciated!

xoxo, The Glam Traveler

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Best of the Northwoods-Leinenkugel Brewing Company

It's no surprise that great beer comes from Wisconsin, and one of the best breweries is located in the Northwoods of this state. While many breweries offer a great experience, I don't think there are any that offer quite as much as the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company. 

Located in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, the Brewery has an interesting history. It all started in 1867 with business partners Jacob Leinenkugel and John Miller. When they started brewing, they had only themselves as employees, with Jacob doing the brewing and John delivering the beer by cart. In 1884 John sold his share to Jacob, and from then onward the brewery has been known as Leinenkugel's. Today, Jacob Leinenkugel's three great-great grandsons, Jake, Dick, and John are running the business, and it is better than ever! For more information about the history, visit their homepage or visit the brewery yourself!

Outside the Brewery

One of the many great things about Leinenkugel's is that a guided tour of the brewery is completely FREE! The whole tour takes about 30-45 minutes and really shows you the ins and outs of the brewing business. I'm not even a huge beer drinker, but I was able to leave with lots of new information. 

Secondly (and probably the best part), not only is the tour free but so are the samples! This very rarely happens in breweries. I opted to try Summer Shandy and Berry Weiss, which was my favorite. I haven't had a chance to go in the fall, but I've heard great things about their Oktoberfest and I may go back soon just to test it out!

Samples inside the Leinie Lodge

Autumn is the PERFECT time for a visit to the Midwest, and just as equally a great time to take some brewery tours. If you are in the area, the Leinenkugel's Brewery is a must see.

Photos by Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Product Review: Honey Can Do Vacuum Packs

In the next two weeks, I will be packing up my life and moving out West. For some people, renting a U-Haul is the way to go. This is not so for me and my boyfriend, who are not only on a budget but are driving our teensy cars the whole way there. Since we don't have a lot of space, I decided to try out vacuum packs, as I have a whole lot of clothes and not a whole lot of space to put them. This is where the Honey Can Do Vacuum Packs came in handy. I bought two boxes of the 5 pack Closet Combo, which has 3 large bags and 2 medium size. The nice thing about these bags is that you can either vacuum out the air or roll it out if you  don't have access to a vacuum. 

I tested both ways, and found both did the job pretty equally. I did end up preferring using the vacuum in the end, as it was easier (no awkwardly sitting/rolling yourself on the bag) and faster. I also enjoyed watching four pillows being squished like marshmallows. Nice for storage and a little entertainment; not bad! 

I plan on using all of the bags and am excited to not only use them for car transportation but also for storage in our new apartment. The Vacuum Packs get two thumbs up from me!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Being a Cheesehead

Hello fellow travelers! For those that don't know, I am from Wisconsin, where us Wisconsinites are best known for eating cheese and drinking a lot of alcoholic libations. Of course, there is more to this wonderful state than just dairy and beer, but why not indulge from time to time? By the way, our cheese curds are to die for. I'm fairly certain there is nothing quite better than a fresh & squeaky cheese curd. 

So enough with the food talk, and onto the main subject here, which is being a cheesehead. What is a cheesehead? The word was first originated by Illinois football fans back in the day, which was supposed to be offensive. We Sconnies embraced the word though, and now use it to describe ourselves as fans of the Green Bay Packers. We even wear big foam cheese blocks on our heads to drive home the fact that we love our team (Yes, I own one). The Packers got their name in 1919 by Curly Lambeau (of whom the field is named after), because he asked for funds for uniforms from his employer, the Indian Packing Company, on condition that the team be named after the company. Thus, the name "Packers" was born and is still in use to this day. The best part, I think, about the Packers is that they are the only non-profit organization in the NFL (and other professional sports teams for that matter), AND they are community owned which means that any one can buy stock and therefore be an owner of the team (no other professional team in the US does that). Add to that having the most NFL Championships of any team, and one can understand why we cheeseheads love our Packers. 

Cheesehead 4 lyfe
I was able to go to my first ever Packer game last week at Lambeau Field. We purchased a package of tailgating and tickets, so we arrived to Green Bay at 4:00 PM to start the festivities. The tailgate party was in the parking lot of Brett Favre's Steakhouse and included all you can eat (burgers, brats, etc.) and all you can drink pop, screwdrivers, bloody mary's and good ole' H20. They also played some good music and had some activities going before the game started at 7.

Lambeau Field
So, at 6:30, we made the walk to the stadium. There were multiple tailgate parties going on, plus lots of things for sale and different things to do, like free hair painting, if you so wished. We got inside and walked to our seats in the 11th row. I was so excited being able to actually see the players faces, and tried desperately to get Clay Matthews and Aaron Rodgers attention by flailing my arms and screaming, but alas, no luck. The Pack was not doing so hot against the Browns, and it kept raining every 5 minutes or so, so we decided to leave at half-time. I know, we get a C- as fans. But, in my defense, it was pre-season AND we had a 3 hour drive ahead of us. Regardless, we had a really fun time and it was so much fun being surrounded by devoted fans of all ages. The only thing missing that night was a good bag of cheese curds. 

Fan Appreciation Night