Browsing Articles Written by

Renee King

Travel Advice

Packing cubes: the essential tools of Team Carryon

August 18, 2016 • By

You may recall that I offered my 12 travel packing tips, a few years back and while they are still valid, it’s always cool to know that there are new developments on the airline baggage front.  It all began with the old fashioned plastic vacuum packs that you could store your clothes in and suction out the excess air with a vacuum cleaner.  Good times, right?

Now, fast forward a few years and the newest tool in efficient packing are packing cubes.  What are they, you ask?  They are small cloth cases with patches of netting that allow the clothes to breathe and sturdy zippers to contain them.

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Let’s face it.  We are all guilty of over packing and you can never fully appreciate what problems it causes until you arrive at your destination.  You almost never wear everything that you’ve packed or you feel as if you didn’t pack enough.  By planning ahead and thinking realistically, you can narrow down your choices based on what you actually plan to do on your vacation.READ MORE


Travel Advice

Racial profiling in aviation

August 7, 2016 • By
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Hello Readers! Today’s post is the sixth of seven daily posts that I am writing for the Problogger ‘Find Your Blogging Groove’ challenge. It’s meant to encourage bloggers to post more frequently and thoughtfully. Today, I am going to write a “Discussion” post that I hope will encourage a dialogue about this compelling issue.  If you wouldn’t mind, please do me a HUGE favor and respond to the 5 question anonymous survey that will appear as a pop-up below.

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One of the most controversial stories in travel news today is the reports of Muslims being removed from airline flights for seemingly innocuous reasons.

Just this week, two American Muslim women were asked to leave an American Airlines flight after one of them talked to another (white male) passenger about the lack of food and water during their five hour delay on the tarmac.  The male attendant claimed that they (the woman who was complaining and her friend who happened to have been watching a tv drama at the time) made him feel unsafe.

The attendant told her “If you have a problem, you can get off the plane.”  The woman asked him for his name since he wasn’t wearing a badge and he refused.  She decided to take a photo of him so that she would be able to identify him when she lodged a complaint.  She and her friend were essentially escorted out because the photo taking was a violation.READ MORE


Consumer Advice

How to add an old photo to your Instagram account

August 6, 2016 • By
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Hello Readers! Today’s post is the fifth of seven daily posts that I am writing for the Problogger ‘Find Your Blogging Groove’ challenge. It’s meant to encourage bloggers to post more frequently and thoughtfully. Today, I am going to write a “How To” post that I hope will be useful to someone. 

This is something that I recently learned and I am happy to share it with my readers!  I am ashamed to admit that I have had an Instagram account for about three years and only began to start using it last week!  I think that I was frustrated that the platform is set up for instant photos in real time and I had literally THOUSANDS of photos that I wanted to share with my followers.  So, you can imagine my frustration.

Eureka!  You can now use all of your treasured photos on Instagram!

Fortunately, I found out that you can utilize a popular social media management system called Hootsuite to facilitate this.  If you don’t already have a Hootsuite account, sign up for one here.  You will only need the free desktop version.  Next, you will need to download two apps (if you don’t already have them) : Hootsuite and Instagram and both are free.

Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts to your social media accounts.  Once you have logged in, go to your dashboard, which will look like this:READ MORE


Fun stuff

After the love has gone

August 5, 2016 • By
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Hello Readers! Today’s post is the fourth of seven daily posts that I am writing for the Problogger ‘Find Your Blogging Groove’ challenge. It’s meant to encourage bloggers to post more frequently and thoughtfully. Today, I am going to write a fictional story about a troubled relationship.  Yeah, it’s a bit of a downer, but I wanted to try something markedly different .

“Don’t just stand there, you freaking idiot!”

His body automatically tensed at the harshness of her words, so he stayed still simply out of defiance.

He tried to remember when he’d decided to give up all of his power to her.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  One is groomed to eventually become someone else’s punching bag.  At some point you’re made to feel like you’ve done something to earn that abuse, so you quietly accept your fate.

Victimizers know how to train their prey and Robert was well-trained.

He finally reached down to pick up the bags full of useless stuff that she bought to fill the void in their loveless relationship.

He glanced up to see the permanent scowl that he’d become so familiar with and grinned in spite of himself when he realized that he couldn’t recall what she looked like smiling.

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Budget Tips, Consumer Advice

My review of Swimsuitsforall.com

August 4, 2016 • By
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Hello Readers! Today’s post is the third of seven daily posts that I am writing for the Problogger ‘Find Your Blogging Groove’ challenge. It’s meant to encourage bloggers to post more frequently and thoughtfully. Today, I am going to review an online shopping venue that I have fallen in love with.

If ever there was an equalizer among women, it’s the historically proven fact that we all HATE trying on and or buying swimsuits.  Just my biased opinion, but I’ve never understood why slimmer women balk at having to try on suits.  Traditionally, I think the market always attempted to serve them.

If you were a bit on the large size and assuming that manufacturers even bothered to make swimsuits in your size, you could expect the very worst. From garish animal prints made out of bullet-proof fabric to psychedelic paisleys confusing enough to make the most inebriated, sober, swimsuits for fluffy people leave a lot to be desired.

On occasion, you might find something acceptable in the plus sized stores located in your neighborhood mall, but that was because you literally had no other choice.  Besides, how can you have a proper vacation playing beach ball in a tank top and shorts?  Luckily, one company heard the choir of voices crying out in the wilderness and proceeded to not only answer those cries, but to do it in such an impressive and stylish way.READ MORE


Newbie How-to's, Travel Advice

The Newbie’s Guide to enduring long International Flights

August 3, 2016 • By
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Hello Readers! Today’s post is the second of seven daily posts that I am writing for the Problogger ‘Find Your Blogging Groove’ challenge. It’s meant to encourage bloggers to post more frequently and thoughtfully. I am going to add a new installment to my Newbie’s Guide series and I hope that you find it helpful to you!

You did it!  You’ve just booked your first international trip and you are stoked!!  You’ve always dreamed of seeing _____ (insert your dream destination) and you now have to become acquainted with the fact that you will be traveling a fairly long distance.

How long you say?  Depending on where you plan to land, you can count on at least 8 hours of flight time.  That’s a long time to sit in a flying tin can, but fear not, I will give you some tips on how to get through the experience without losing your marbles.

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First, take care of some housekeeping issues before your trip

If you are not currently signed up with the Global Entry program, I would advise you to do so.  It will save you a major headache when traveling period, but especially internationally.  It will allow you to smoothly transition from customs to your gate during your departure and from customs to your destination upon arrival.READ MORE


Inspiration, Lifestyle

My top five reasons why you should stop being ‘nice’ and start being more authentic

August 2, 2016 • By
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Hello Readers!  Today’s post is the first of seven daily posts that I am writing for the Problogger  ‘Find Your Blogging Groove’ challenge.  It’s meant to encourage bloggers to post more frequently and thoughtfully.  I am going to tackle a not so easy to discuss issue today, so buckle your seat belts…….

There’s an old saying, “Growing old isn’t for sissies”.  There’s a lot of truth to that.  Growing old makes you bolder and less patient for nonsense in general.  Having been a lifelong people pleaser, I’ve surprised myself quite a bit as I have grown older.

I have a very low tolerance level for boorish, selfish behaviors and I find myself speaking my mind in objection to it more often than not.  I guess I figure I have nothing to lose by refusing to accept unacceptable behavior and truth be told, neither do you.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait for gray hairs or saggy skin to appear in order to stand up for yourself.  Here are my top five reasons why you should stop being’ nice’ and start being more authentic:READ MORE


North America, Travel Advice

Spotlight on Joseph Strauss, Chief engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge

July 20, 2016 • By

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I must confess.  Until we actually arrived in San Francisco to see the Golden Gate Bridge in person, I had no idea that it was flanked by the Golden Gate Park!

Located in the center of it, was a statue of a man that I was not familiar with.  His name was Joseph Strauss and he along with Charles Alton Ellis, the man who is largely credited with the actual structural design, is responsible for bringing the Golden Gate Bridge to life.READ MORE


Lifestyle, Travel Advice

Exploring The Negro Motorist Green Book

July 5, 2016 • By

It was a precursor to today’s TripAdvisor but it literally saved lives……

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In the not so distance past, traveling for black people was not as pleasant an undertaking as we may view it today.  Right after Reconstruction, laws were passed to ensure the permanent second class status of black people.  Many whites felt that blacks were ‘too free’, so laws were instituted to make sure that they knew their ‘place’ in society.

They were not allowed to travel freely like white people.  Many hoteliers refused them service as did restaurants, gas stations, amusement parks, etc.  It was literally life-threatening for those who found themselves in the unfortunate situation of being caught in ‘Sundown towns’.  It wasn’t unusual that direct eye contact with or speaking to whites could get you thrown in jail for the offense of ‘reckless eyeballing’, assaulted or even killed.READ MORE


North America, Travel Advice, Trip Reports

A day trip to the Great Smoky Mountains

June 28, 2016 • By

You may recall that I purchased an annual National parks pass in anticipation of my visit to Utah last year.  Since I was  visiting Gatlinburg again to spend time with family, I figured that we might as well check out the Great Smokies while we were there.

Due to an agreement between the state of Tennessee and the Federal government, the Great Smoky Mountains does not have an entry fee, so no annual pass was needed.  However, as we drove past the entrance, it reminded me of our time at Zion National Park, where you traverse a long winding road that has various points of interest on the side of the road along the way.

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