Unclaimed Baggage and Coming Back Home: Part 2

This is what happens to your lost luggage!

Have you ever wondered what happens to your lost or unclaimed baggage?

For the first part of my trip around my old stomping grounds in North Alabama with Unclaimed Baggage click here! 

After a beautiful morning on the river we packed up and went over to Unclaimed Baggage’s huge retail facility. 

Growing up less than a half hour away from Unclaimed Baggage, I thought I knew more or less how it worked. But it’s so much more detailed than you’d think! Cayla and Brenda did an amazing job of walking us through how they process all the lost, mishandled, and unclaimed baggage they receive from airlines and bus lines across the country.

Photo by Matt Pittman

Approximately 99.5% of airline customers’ bags make it to their intended destination, but that other .5% goes through a months-long process. The airline first tries to get it back to its owner, and in most cases they are successful! But for that other small percentage, a claim is paid to the owner, and the baggage itself gets sold to Unclaimed Baggage. 

Once UB has its hands on it their expert processors  sort through it all, and all sellable clothes and accessories are laundered and/or dry cleaned. Some items are donated, and some (think used toiletries) are trashed. Only the best makes it out to the retail floor!

This is what happens to your lost and unclaimed baggage!
Photo by Matt Pittman

Unclaimed Baggage was merely a local treasure until 1995 when it was featured on Oprah, and since then it has become a travel destination.

One of the things I learned about Unclaimed Baggage that makes me love it even more is how big of a steward of the community they are. They donate lots and lots of bags, unused toiletries, and merchandise not designated for the retail floor. 

So you want to know about my haul, right? 

After LOTS and lots of deliberation and help from the awesome guys at the electronics counter I purchased my new carry everywhere camera! This Olympus OM-D E-M10II does replace my beloved Nikon D7000, but it is a LOT smaller and lighter, making it perfect for throwing in my purse. I got it used, but in great shape with a GREAT lens for less than I would have been able to buy it used on eBay, which is saying something.

My other awesome purchase was this pair of incredibly cute Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses. Millennial pink with gold??? Yes, please. 


Like I showed in the first post, there is so much in northeast Alabama to see and do during your trip, but I hope next time you’re up that way you’ll stop in at Unclaimed Baggage! They know how to do southern hospitality right! 

This is what happens to your lost luggage!
Photo by Matt Pittman

Thank you Unclaimed Baggage for the great shopping trip and tour around northeast Alabama!

All of the photos on this post are by Matt Pittman, Unclaimed Baggage’s awesome content marketing manager. Check out some of his great work at his website, http://www.matt-pittman.com/

Gingham Maxi Dress

Gingham maxi dress

This post about my favorite new Gingham Maxi Dress contains affiliate links 🙂 

Gingham maxi dress

After looking for an affordable maxi dress for just about two months I finally found this PERFECT one through eShakti

At first I was skeptical of eShakti… Could they really make a high quality dress to my measurements? 

The answer is (thankfully!) a RESOUNDING yes! 

Gingham maxi dress

After falling in love with J.Crew’s gingham maxi dress at the beginning of the season I began my search for one that was 1. within my budget, and 2. had thicker straps so I could wear it with a regular bra. 

I found this one on eShakti, and to my great relief, it is super simple to add on the thicker straps and have it cut to my exact measurements for only $9.95 above the regular price. 

Gingham maxi dress

Not only that, because I signed up for their email list I got an extra amount bumped off… In total I paid only about $40 for this custom dress—$120 LESS than the J.Crew version. This budget babe going to call that a big win. 


Loosen them Shoulders Up, Pour it Up, Let’s Work!

This off the shoulder look is great for Spring 2017!

This off the shoulder look is great for Spring 2017!

Shirt (similar)//Pants//Shoes//Sunglasses//Earrings//Necklace (similar)

Girl, you gotta relax!

I love how much I’ve been seeing these off the shoulder tops around as we’re quickly moving into Spring. 

Most of the tops I’ve have been either 100% cotton or silk, which means they’ll be nice and cool when the weather starts heating up 🙂 

This off the shoulder look is great for Spring 2017!

I styled these with another amazing shoe find. This is my first go at ankle straps, and I’m a little in love. This blush color is right on trend and the strappy ankle wraps plus the low block heel means they were comfortable all day long. 

But I’m going to need someone to teach me how to tie the bows in the back… I couldn’t figure out how to do it by myself! 

Can you believe March is almost gone already?! But that’s ok because there’s lots of fun content being lined up for this Spring and Summer! 

This off the shoulder look is great for Spring 2017!

Speaking of Summer, how fun are these sunglasses? They are SO mirrored I had a hard time getting a shot of them without it being 100% a reflection of my camera (and sweet photographer/husband). I picked them up at Nordstrom Rack last week and I know I’ll be wearing them quite a bit this summer in addition to my normal rotation of RayBans. 

My Favorite Sneakers for Adding Whimsy to Your Wardrobe

My favorite sneakers for adding some whimsey to your wardrobe!

My husband thinks my love of shoes… especially sneakers… has gone too far.

He couldn’t be more wrong! To me they make or break an outfit, and if I can get a quality pair of stylish shoes I’m not going to hold back, no siree. 

I don’t buy cheap shoes, as a rule, but finding nice shoes on sale for cheap prices doesn’t count, mk? 

I’m also SO glad sneakers are in style right now, and I hope they don’t go ANYWHERE. As a 6 foot tall woman I don’t always love wearing heels, and as someone with high arches that NEED support if I’m going to be walking even a moderate amount, I am loving it even more. 

Here are a few of my favorites

My favorite sneakers for adding some whimsey to your wardrobe!

  1. Cole Haan Wingtip Oxford in Cabernet Suede (Waterproof)
  2. Adidas Superstars in Gold
  3. Børn Bayne leather sneakers
  4. Sparkle Superga 
  5. Sperry Seacoast Floral Sneakers

I already own the top three pairs, and am working on the last two 😉 See how I styled them below:

^On my recent trip to SF!

^Out to brunch with girlfriends!


Floral Dress Obsession – 2017 in Photos Day 81

Gorgeous floral dress for only $33!

Gorgeous floral dress for only $33!

Now that the weather is warming back up (not that it really got that cold this winter) I’ll pretty much be living in dresses, and this floral beauty is going to be on repeat all.year.long.

Gorgeous floral dress for only $33!
I’m such a nerd. My excuse is that I was going to see Beauty and the Beast that night!

It is light and flowy, and breathable making it perfect for the coming sweltering days. 

I did buy it sized up, because it is made of the breathable but shrinkable rayon, and I wanted to make sure it would still fit my upper half after a trip through the wash.

Gorgeous floral dress for only $33!

I received so many compliments from people as I worked out and about town yesterday, which is always a morale booster 😉 The slit in the front is just a bit high, but some slipshorts kept things modest.

Gorgeous floral dress for only $33!

And the best part? It was only $33 through Amazon

This post contains affiliate links!

My very favorite shoes for travel

My favorite travel shoes for winter

Having the right shoes for travel meant I got to see all of London without achy feet!

One of my biggest anxieties when I travel is whether or not my feet will be able to keep up with the pace my heart wants to set in a new place, so my shoes for travel have to be perfect. 

There are a few criteria I have for footwear, particularly anything that is lucky enough to make it into my suitcase for a trip.

  1. I have some arch issues, so I need a good supportive shoe that won’t have my arches screaming after just a few miles.
  2. They need to be CUTE.
  3. They need to be versatile… Can I wear them with shorts and a t-shirt AND a cute dress AND jeans and a blazer?
  4. Will they hold up to several days of walking 8+ miles and being on my feet for 10+ hours at a time? I’m not interested in shoes that will fall apart after one season of wear.

Thankfully, after spending more money than I’d like to admit trying out different sneakers, sandals, tennis shoes, and boots I’ve finally found the two pairs shoes for travel I love the most: one for summer and one for winter.

Shoes for Travel in Summer

Naöt Gladiator sandals are my favorite summer shoes for travel!

I wore these Naöt gladiator sandals a lot last summer in Italy and they check all the boxes for me. I did run into some blister situations when wearing them on an impromptu hike through Cinque Terre. So for the record, I DO NOT recommend them for hiking. But if you’re going to be walking around the city all day then these are your shoes. 

They’re a little pricy, but they have held up beautifully through a full year of use and abuse. 

Read more about what I packed for 10 summer days in Italy (and what I wish I hadn’t!)

Shoes for Travel in Winter/Spring/Fall

My favorite winter shoes for travel

I wore these Jack Purcell leather sneakers almost every day during our trip to London, and on the days I didn’t wear them I wished desperately that I had. They provided the perfect amount of support, were pretty dang water resistant, and kept my tootsies warm without getting sweaty. While these are pretty casual, sneakers are having such a moment right now that I was able to get away with wearing them in even some of the nicer restaurants we went to without feeling the least bit out of place. 

There's something about having the right pair of shoes for travel that makes it feel like you can take over the world.

There’s something about having the right pair of shoes that makes it feel like you can take over the world. 

There are a few other shoes I’ve found (including the über popular Adidas Superstars) that I can wear all day with no problems, but these are by far my two favorite. Do you have a favorite pair of shoes for travel? 

Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson – 2017 in Photos Day 58

Exposure: 1/60th of a second
Aperture: f/4.0
ISO: 800
Lens: Nikkor 18-80mm f/2.8-4 
Treatment: Highlights, clarity, and saturation in Raw Editor

Sunday was Mom’s 60th Birthday, but we celebrated Saturday evening by surprising her at Marketplace Cafe in Huntsville, AL. 

And boy, what a surprise it was! Between all 6 kids + 4 spouses + 5 grandkids, that’s quite a few people to keep a secret… granted, two of those kiddos aren’t old enough to spill the beans yet, but still… 

My sisters and I were so nervous to spoil the surprise we were hesitant to call mom all week! 

Mushy, heartfelt posts are supposed to be my forte, but when talking about mom I don’t even know where to begin. 

She’s genuinely the most gracious, graceful, loving, resourceful, and wonderful woman I know. She’s a cool cucumber under pressure, the hostess with the mostest, and the embodiment of what it means to trust God fully. 

For goodness sakes, she raised all 6 of us to adulthood.

She’s been a mom for more than 33 years; that’s a lot of practice in faithfulness.  

Her ability to just let go and let God is incredible. Seriously.

Through decades of diapers, grabby toddlers, teenager drama, rebellion, deliberate disobedience, hardship, plenty, and everything in between she’s always been the same lovingly stoic lady. 

She taught us all to embrace our differences, to take chances, and to set our standards higher than we would on our own, all while being the embodiment of grace when we inevitably messed up.

Now, she’s not perfect. For instance, she refuses to use a timer half the time when baking, and it drives the control freak in me absolutely crazy. But you know what? She’s made thousands more perfect chocolate chip cookies than burned ones. 

She was my first teacher, the first person to tell me I could be a writer, and the person with the single most influence on who I am today.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

What I Packed for a 10 Day Trip to Italy (and What I Wish I Hadn’t)

What I packed for a 10 day Trip to Italy

The full title of this post should really be “What I packed for a 10 Day Summer Trip to Italy, What I Wish I Had, and What I Wish I Hadn’t.”

As my first European trip, to say I was a little nervous about bringing the right and wrong things. There is nothing quite as nerve-wracking about needing an item when you’re in a foreign country and not being able to have it for several days. Well, over-packing your bags may be just as bad. 

James and I each used packs, which were good for him, but not as great for me because of my back and shoulder issues. I likely won’t be taking mine as main luggage on long trips again, as it was too heavy and we never really encountered a place we couldn’t have rolled a suitcase in or out of. 

Without further ado, here is what I packed in my pack: 

What I packed for a 10 day Trip to Italy


  1. Navy linen pants
  2. Silk Top(s)
  3. Linen Top(s)
  4. Navy Shorts
  5. Linen Top
  6. Cotton Shirtdress
  7. Blue Jeans
  8. Naot Gladiator Sandals
  9. Nude Wedges
  10. ON Cloud Running Shoes
  11. Osprey Farpoint 55 Pack
  12. Nikon D7000
  13. Macbook Pro
  14. Gold hoop earrings
  15. Floral scarf

What I would leave at home: 

  1. The wedges. I didn’t wear them a single time. Every restaurant we went to was completely fine with my sandals (which look pretty dressy on). That being said, if you’re carrying a larger suitcase feel free!
  2. The neck pillow: This ended up just getting in the way, making my pack bulkier, and wasn’t effective at helping me sleep on planes or trains. 
  3. The floral scarf: I’m not against wearing scarves in general, quite the opposite. There are just SO many places to buy beautiful silk scarves in Italy that I ended up wearing the ones I bought instead of the one I packed!
  4. While light and comfortable, I would pack tennis shoes with a lot more support than the ON Clouds. 

What I would take next time:

There’s really only one big answer to this… HIKING BOOTS. I got really bad blisters on day one when we went on an impromptu hike through Cinque Terre and my feet struggled the rest of the trip.

I have this pair, and they’re awesome! My biggest mistake in this first trip to Europe was thinking anyone would care what type of shoes I wore walking around town. They don’t. Be comfortable. 

As I’m making my packing list for our trip to London I’ll be keeping these lessons in mind. 

What are your must-haves for trips abroad?

What to Wear on Rainy Travel Days

It was extremely rainy on my recent trip to San Francisco, and I’m sure we’ll encounter some rain during our London trip next month. Being able to enjoy a new city is so important, no matter the weather, so here’s what I wore on rainy travel days to keep as dry as possible and hit the sidewalks!

  1. A good rain jacket

    This one is the Barbour Beadnell that I wear all the time here at home too! It’s waterproof and warmer than your average rain jacket without being a full-on parka. 

  2. A hood to go with it

    The Beadnell’s hood is sold separately. I like that it can snap off for non-rainy days. 

  3. A baseball cap

    I have found this combination works better than carrying an umbrella because the hat and hood keep water off your face, but you don’t have to worry about the wind turning it inside out. Besides, walking on the side walk through crowds with an umbrella can be hazardous! 

  4. A light, waterproof, travel backpack (aff. link)

    I actually carried two backpacks on this trip: one for my laptop and for my on-plane carry on, and this tiny one used simply for while walking around in the rain. It’s small and super light, folds into a little pouch not much bigger than my hand, and kept the water off my camera and wallet while walking around in the rain.

  5. Waterproof boots

    I can’t sing the praises of these boots enough. I did end up needing to put some cheap arch support insoles in them because I’ve always had arch problems, but they kept my tootsies warm, dry, and comfortable on a day I walked more than 12 miles!

If you really don’t mind being out in the rain, grab some waterproof boots, a baseball cap, and a rain jacket with a hood and you’ll be great in all but the stormiest of conditions. 

Here they are in action!