Travel Series – To Do List

T Minus 2 days until we leave for Hawaii!

The Breathtaking Sunset View from the Hale Koa Hotel Pool

That means I have a lot to do before we leave for our trip. As an entrepreneur, preparing for a trip (business or pleasure) takes a lot of preparation. Not only do you have to think about the things you need to do that are pertaining to your trip, but you also have to think about the processes that are laid in place so that your business doesn’t fall apart while you’re gone. Granted, we’re only going to be gone for 4 days – and you know what they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Either way, I have a lot of prep to do before we leave!

Vacation related:

  • Look through updated packing list and start putting things aside
  • Take fur baby to the groomer
  • Do laundry
  • Clean up the house
  • Run the dishwasher
  • Wash sheets

Business related:

  • Create daily agendas for my team
  • Create opening, midday, and closing checklists for my team
  • Send out all online orders
  • Prepare timesheet for payroll
  • Write blog posts
  • Schedule social media content
  • Pay bills
  • Make sure kitchen is fully stocked for the weekend
  • Fill the managers in for what to expect this week

It’s a lot, I know. I’m getting overwhelmed just thinking about it. If you could only see my Todoist app now, it’s all of this in more detail. GAH! But it’s ok, all I can do is chip away at the list – 1 thing at a time.



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Travel Series – Shopping List


TBH I’m not sure if I’m excited or stressed to go because of Ninong’s moving, but I do know that I love Hawaii! I love the atmosphere, the people, the food. I’m sure once I get there all my worries will go away. 🙂

This trip crept up on me so I haven’t had a chance to prepare or plan, but considering how much I traveled last year I think it’ll be a breeze! Last time I traveled I created an Packing List Template in Evernote for myself to make things easier to prepare before a trip. Now I use that as a master list and then just add and delete items based on the trip. I always think I have plenty of time and then next thing I know I’m leaving the next day and I haven’t even packed yet! That’s why this template comes in so handy.

Since we’re going to Hawaii with family that has never been before, we want to give them the ultimate first-timer’s experienc – a little bit of the touristy stuff and a taste of the local experience. That being said, I’m going to need a wardrobe with variety and versatility. Something semi-formal, a lot of bathing suits, something casual, and some activewear.

We’re only going to be there for 4 days, so I’m going to just be taking a carry on. That means I need to maximize the space in my luggage so I can fit everything I need (with maybe a little room for gifts to bring back home).

As far as wardrobe I don’t plan on buying anything. I think most of what I plan on wearing while I’m there I already have with the exception of maybe 1 new bathing suit and a cover up.

I’m also trying to keep my technology list to a minimum so I don’t work “too much” while I’m there. I plan on keeping my laptop home and just taking my iPad and iPhone with me.

Speaking of iPad – it’s my best friend when traveling! I download a bunch of shows, movies, books, and magazines on that thing and I’m good to go. I can use it while I’m on the plane to write blogs, do some hand lettering, and even bookkeeping. It’s so great to have something so versatile with me so that I have everything at my fingertips but isn’t super heavy.

As far as toiletries go sunscreen is a must but since I’m planning on just taking a carry on I’m going to buy a bottle from Costco when I get to Hawaii. I’m going to need a lot of sunscreen since we plan to be out and about as much as possible. Then double that because Charlie is going to need some too! Same goes with my shampoo, conditioner, etc. This is a tip I always give people traveling in groups or as couples. If you can buy some of your toiletries at your end destination to save space and weight in your luggage!

I also got a bunch of things that help make traveling easier since my last trip like packing cubes, bluetooth headphones, a mini backpack (Thanks Mom and Dad Ortega!), and a lightweight travel bag like this one.

So excited to show the family around the island!



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Taking the Train to San Diego

I’ve always wanted to ride the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train somewhere. I heard the views are gorgeous. In September, I was coordinating a friend’s wedding and I decided to take the train to San Diego and I loved it!


I don’t travel alone very often since I’ve had Charlie as my travel buddy for over 13 years. Since we’ve been traveling a lot, Charlie couldn’t take off work at Ninong’s so I ventured to San Diego alone.

So for those of you that are interested in taking the train to San Diego it’s a really easy process! Simply go to the Amtrak website and plan your fare. Savings tip: if you book in advance (2 days or more) you can redeem a AAA discount for your ticket. 

Chatsworth Station

I left from the Chatsworth train station (party of the Ventura County Line) and it took me a mere 50 minutes to get to Downtown LA. It takes way longer than that in traffic! Once we got to DTLA there’s a bit of a wait so that they can switch attendants and assist new passengers with boarding. Once everyone boarded we were on our way to San Diego!

Short Stop and Union Station in Downtown LA










The whole trip (from Chatsworth to San Diego) has many convenient stops. There is a stop at Burbank Airport, Downtown LA, Anaheim (Honda Center, Angels Stadium, Disneyland), San Clemente Pier, and so much more. I’m really excited to take the train to these other stops!

All in all the trip was great! The Amtrak has outlets in every row, free wifi (mind you it’s spotty), and food /drink. I basically worked on iPad and watched YouTube all the way to San Diego. :

So I know what your waiting for, my tips for next time:
1. From Downtown LA to San Diego sit on the left side of the train so you have the ocean view. Sit on the opposite side on the way back.
2. The sooner you know you’re going to be taking the train to travel book your ticket. It generally doesn’t change in price so just take advantage of discounts (AAA, student, senior, military, etc.)
3. I’ve taken the train to Disneyland too! It’s awesome! The trains drop you off at the ARTIC station in Anaheim and you can take a bus or quick Lyft/Uber ride to the park.
4. You can also take the Metrolink Train for a cheaper fare. The Amtrak and Metrolink trains run on the same track, just make sure you use their trip planners to make sure their schedule works for you. Weekend and weekday schedules are different and the Amtrak and Metrolink Train rails run/stop in different cities. For example Metrolink Trains don’t currently go all the way to San Diego (only to Oceanside). The Ventura County Line doesn’t run on the weekends so Amtrak is the only option Sat-Sun.
5. The later the train the more delayed. Try to get onto an early train so you experience minimal delays. You can follow the Pacific Surfliner on Twitter or call their toll free number for the latest updates.


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