How to Travel Fabulously

Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve wanted to go out into the world to see and do amazing things.  From my small hometown in Texas, I dreamt of Los Angeles and New York and all of the fabulousness that must certainly be occurring there on a regular basis… bless my little heart.  And as an aspiring actor, those cities were guaranteed to be a part of my future, in my dreamy little mind.  I knew that I too would one day eat fine food, listen to amazing music, stay at beautiful hotels and inspire crowds of people to do good and have fun.  As I got into my 20s, in the heyday of the glossy supermarket tabloid, I studied the pages of Us Weekly to see where the stars were staying and eating and shopping and living.  Not only was I drawn to these people’s lives simply because many of them worked a profession that I strived for, but also because they really seemed to be living life.  Going and doing and eating and drinking and interacting with other interesting people – this was the life for me.

At the young age of 25, I set off on my first big trip with my husband, Ryan, since our honeymoon just months prior.  We flew to Los Angeles, grabbed a rental car, drove through the desert to Las Vegas, stayed there for a couple of days, drove back to L.A, stayed there a couple of days, then flew back home to Texas.  Let me just go ahead and say that we did NOT travel fabulously on that trip.  The rental was a Dodge Neon, and the hotels were 2-star.  The meals were not memorable (as in, I literally don’t remember what we ate, except for the mediocre Dominoes Pizza in our funky hotel room), and I had a couple of panic attacks along the way.  Basically, we didn’t know what in the hell we were doing.  But, believe it or not, I’m so thankful for this trip.  We had to break the ice.  We had to go for it and get that first big trip in the books.  And although very amateurish, we still had fun.

Nowadays (manyyyy years later), our rental may be a Mercedes, our hotel a 5-star, and amazing dining experiences are crucial.  Over the years I have learned so much about how to travel like a star, even when you’re not one (although you’re all superstars in my mind, but you know what I mean), and I just absolutely had to share with y’all.

So, here we go with my top 5 tips on How to Travel Fabulously…

1.  Money.  Yep, I’m just jumping right in.  Now, don’t worry.  You don’t have to be wealthy or have $10,000+ to spend on any given trip, but you do need some money.  I have lots of good tips on how to do fancy things with less-than-fancy price tags, which I’ll share in a separate post later.  But I do not have good tips on how to do fancy things for free.  So, you’re gonna need a decent budget.  I usually expect to spend about $3,000+ for hotel, airfare and transportation when Ryan and I go on a 3-night trip.

2.  Research.  It’s all in the research, y’all.  Not your thing?  Well, you’re gonna need to make it your thing if you wanna do some fabulous shit on your trip.  I look for the BEST hotels and the BEST restaurants in the area.  I also search for places that celebrities may frequent.  Cringe if you want, but that method has led me to some really fun experiences.  And it’s not about celebrity spotting.  It’s about finding local hot spots that invite and encourage fun and excitement.  There’s, most likely, a good reason why they attract celebrities or even local socialites.

3.  Stay at Hotels With Room Service.  I steer clear of hotels without room service for two reasons… 1) I love room service… and 2) It usually means a lower star rating and less amenities, overall.  The easiest way to see if they offer it is to go to the dining section of their website.  If “in-room dining” is available, then you’re good to go.

4.  Have Fun With Transportation.  Renting a car?  Get something that’s different from and/or better than what you normally drive.  Back when Ryan and I both drove large vehicles, we rented a Mercedes sedan on a couple of trips.  It was such a breath of fresh air from my mom-ish SUV and his 4-door truck.  Or if you normally drive a small car and want to try out a truck, go for it.  Using Uber?  Go with whatever when you’re riding from here to there throughout your trip.  But spring for Uber Select for airport transfers.  You’ll get a private ride in a luxury car, which is never a bad thing.  As for full-on car service, I definitely recommend it in certain situations.  While Uber Select is a close second, there’s nothing quite like a driver greeting you at the luggage carousel and escorting you out to your luxury sedan or big ass black SUV.  Make transportation a fun part of your trip instead of just a necessary part.

5.  Don’t Be Intimidated.  Look, I get it.  When you’re not accustomed to fine dining restaurants and luxury hotels, it can be a bit intimidating or scary.  Although my childhood was nice, we certainly didn’t do brunch at the country club, go to galas or have fancy steak dinners.  But something I’ve learned from years of travel (and just life, in general) is that you are who you say you are.  Now I’m not suggesting that you change your names and identities when you travel, although that does sound pretty fun.  But I am saying that a fabulous trip is the perfect opportunity to break free of who the people back home think you are.  You deserve excellent service and food and experiences just as much as anyone else.  That wealthy couple next to you at dinner doesn’t know that you grew up in a town of 5,000 and have never tasted champagne in your life.  They’re also not any better than you and not any smarter than you.  So put on a great outfit, do your hair and makeup, and walk up in there like you own the joint.


How To Travel Fabulously Pinterest

Rocksbox: The Box for Jewelry Lovers

Sponsored Post

I’ve always loved jewelry.  I even put my old jewelry boxes from childhood in my daughter’s room for her to use now.  And, what do you know?  She loves jewelry, too.  So you can imagine how excited I was when I found out that I could get 3 pieces delivered to my door every single month from Rocksbox.  I mean, who’s got time to just go jewelry shopping whenever they want?  Not this busy mom.  Plus, rotating jewelry from month to month is a great way to keep things fresh and even make people think I own more jewelry than I actually do!  😉 This cool little box of jewelry sounded perfect.


First, I was able to create a wish list so that the Rocksbox stylists would know what I like. Then in just a few days, my first set arrived in my mailbox.  The pieces are all packaged in the prettiest little box with a bow, which you get to keep, by the way.  And they’re individually packaged in their own jewelry bags.  Next its wear, enjoy, return.  That’s it.  And returning the pieces is so easy.  You simply reuse the envelope everything arrived in and use the enclosed shipping label.  And, if there’s a piece you can’t bear to part with, you can choose to keep it and put your monthly fee of $21 toward the price.  Sweet!


With name brand jewelry by Kendra Scott, Gorjana, and Nakamol, among others, you’re sure to be receiving high quality pieces that you’ll absolutely love.  Right now you can try Rocksbox for a month for FREE with my code BritneyCrossonXoXo at checkout!  Hit me up on social media when you get your first box.  I’d love to see what you got.  xo

 

My Panic Disorder Story: Part 1

I know you’re used to me mostly writing about more upbeat topics, but sharing about my anxiety journey has been on my mind for a long time.  I mean, technically it does fit under my “Live a better life” umbrella, right?  After all, my anxiety has improved so much over the years.  I am living better…much better.  And I’m hoping that my story will help give you hope.

pan·ic dis·or·der
noun
  1. a psychiatric disorder in which debilitating anxiety and fear arise frequently and without reasonable cause.

I had my first panic attack when I was driving.  It was July of 2005, I was nearly 25 years old and I was on my way to a performance for the musical I was in at the time.  I was talking to my best friend on the phone when a super weird sensation rolled over me from top to bottom.  I started to feel extremely nervous throughout my entire body.  My vision seemed to change a bit.  It became difficult to catch a breath.  I had no idea what was happening, and I was scared.  I turned around, went back home to my husband, Ryan, and called someone at the theater to tell them I couldn’t make it.  You know something’s wrong when someone calls in sick to a musical performance, because it almost never ever ever happens.  Thankfully, I was in the ensemble of this show and not a leading role.  My absence wouldn’t be noticed by the audience, and it wouldn’t really have a large affect on any cast members.  I got it together enough the next day to go back and continue.  The show must go on…

Just days before my first panic attack, I found out that my little brother was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, which is basically a combo of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  I knew he had struggled at least somewhat for a little bit with “issues”.  But I had no idea it was severe or even an actual illness.  He lived with my mom in a different town, and I just wasn’t in the loop of all of his health details.

Hearing about his diagnosis started to cause a lot of anxiety in my life pretty much immediately. But I wasn’t educated on anxiety enough to know signs or symptoms right off the bat.  So when I had that first panic attack in the car, I was clueless, and it took a couple of days for me to feel like maybe I understood what had happened. But quite honestly, I still felt unsure and confused.

I started putting the pieces together about why this had happened to me and realized I was scared. Actually, I was terrified. What if I developed a similar mental illness to what my brother had? If it could happen to him, it could happen to me. After all, we’re siblings. Is it genetic? I had so many fears and what ifs running through my mind. And I was simultaneously dealing with almost constant panic symptoms, which meant my mind was foggy, I could never really catch a good breath, I sometimes felt disconnected to reality, I had vertigo, and on and on. My brother’s diagnosis had scared me into a panic attack and changed my life for forever.

This went on for several months. I basically felt like a nervous wreck that could possibly die at any moment (because panic disorder can convince you that surely you’re about to die from one of your ailments) for a really long time without treatment. I didn’t want to “be medicated”. There’s a stigma to it, and nobody I knew was openly talking about it. I went through another production feeling almost constantly panicked. My feet sweat so bad at rehearsals that my leather sandals changed to a darker color almost immediately. I remember feeling horrible at almost every rehearsal and even during performances. There was one performance where my ear started ringing, which freaked me out and affected my vision for a moment, and I almost walked off the stage in fear that I might be about to faint. (Side note: random ringing in my ears has been an issue ever since, even when I feel fine.) But, hey, to my credit, I did manage to audition for a play, get a great role and complete the run of the show all while feeling like shit. So, go me. 😉

I finally decided to go to the doctor. I was sure he was going to tell me that I was, in fact, going to die soon from one of my weird ailments. But to my relief (odd, but yeah, it was a relief), he diagnosed me with panic disorder. I was prescribed Paxil and began taking it right away, despite my underlying anti-medication attitude.

The nurse told me many people gain weight when they begin that medicine. I shrugged it off considering the most weight I’d ever gained in my life was “the freshman 15”. Otherwise, I had been a naturally thin person. Not super skinny, but never had to try hard to stay fairly thin. I didn’t take her warning seriously.

The good news about starting Paxil is that I calmed the hell down and felt a good bit better when it was time for our one year anniversary trip to Vegas in December 2005. The bad news is that the nurse was 100% right. I started to gain weight, although I didn’t notice it at first. If you’ve ever been through a time period of weight gain, you know that it’s not real noticeable until one day when you’re buying new pants, and you realize you can’t buy the old size. Significant weight gain (I probably gained 30 pounds or so) was foreign to me, so I didn’t notice any early warning signs. Plus, even though I didn’t feel totally normal, I still felt better than I did pre-Paxil, so I was incredibly grateful for that. When you go through something bad with your health – physical or mental – and you have a day where you wake up feeling normal or even good, the level of gratitude you have is just out of this world. Weight gain wasn’t even on my radar…yet.
What Triggered My First Panic Attack&Getting Medicated