How To Pack, a book review

The alternative title of this post could be “Things that I am easily amused by.”  Or “Things that put a smile on my face while I’ve been sick for two weeks and counting.”  Both would be true.  And after two weeks of being felled by a nasty cold, I’ll take any amusement that comes me way.

Another true story, I’m fascinated by luggage but, when I travel, I try to pack as simple and as light as possible.  Having said that, I’m always feeling like I’m running out of room in my carry-on bag.  So, when I had the chance to pick up and review “How To Pack” by Hitha Palepu, I figured that I couldn’t go wrong.

How to pack preview

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Honestly, I think it’s a really cute book.  Well, booklet if you will.  The book isn’t very big, maybe 4×6″?  But it’s organized well.  The book is subdivided as:

  • Preparing for Takeoff, How to Pre-Pack
  • Ready to Wear, Choosing Clothes with Style
  • Secret Weapons, The Right Accessories Can Make Your Look
  • Pack Pretty, Toiletry Needs and Beauty Must-Haves
  • The Perfect Packing Lists
  • Putting It All Together, How to Pack for Maximum Space
  • Come Fly with Me, How to Survive and Thrive in the Airport and Beyond


I love the lists and the folding suggestions.  While I do keep my own packing list on a saved spreadsheet, Palepu’s list is still a great starting place.  Some readers may appreciate that there are 8 copies of the packing list at the back of the book that can be torn out without damaging the book.  And I can see myself using it for maybe short weekend trips.  Palepu also provides good reminders like “wear slip on shoes” when getting through the security line of an airport.


The book is aimed at trendy, jet-setting women.  There’s an illustration in the accessory section that shows three pairs of shoes (two of which are high heels) and two bags (one is an evening bag and one is a city tote).

I am not a trendy, jet-setting woman.  When I travel, I’m traveling a bit more for adventure.  Granted, they are still urban adventures and not hiking in remote mountains adventures, but I need more practical accessory suggestions like wind breakers and fleece jackets.

But overall?  I’m happy to have this book.  It’s fun.  And it’s giving me a little escape just by reading it while I’m stuck at home… sick.

Disclaimer – I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post.  

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How To Pack, a book review

Not a gym rat, but I do like exercising

If you had told my younger self that I’d be dedicated to going to the gym regularly well before entering my midlife, I’d have scoffed at you.  And if you had told me that I’d like it, I would have thought you were crazy.

It’s funny how things turn out.

My favorite things to do is tabata/interval type exercises.  My inspiration comes from Bodyfit by Amy, Girls Gone Strong, and Zuzka Light.

I saw The 4×4 Diet by Erin Oprea on the list of available books to review on Blogging For Books, and got curious.  I don’t follow the fitness and nutrition of celebrities.  I didn’t realize that the was the personal trainer for Carrie Underwood.  Honestly, it almost put me off.  But I watched a clip of Erin Oprea on youtube where she went through a sample tabata circuit, and it looked interesting to me.  My workout routines need some new moves, so I went ahead a grabbed a copy of her book.

Bullet point #1 – I’m not reviewing the nutrition section of her book.  At first glance, it all seems pretty standard stuff.  Don’t villianize carbs, but don’t over do it either.  Don’t overeat sugar and salt.  Cut back on the booze.  The recipes seem pretty standard too.  I didn’t try any of them.  (Maybe I will in the future, though.)

Bullet point #2 – I’m not really reading the stuff leading up to the tabata workout breakdowns.  I go to the gym – all the equipment I need is there.  I already go regularly.  I’m already familiar with tabata workouts, whether tabata means four rounds of 30 seconds activity/10 seconds rest, eight rounds of 20 seconds activity/10 seconds rest, or even eight rounds of eight circuits for 20 seconds activity/10 seconds rest.

Bullet point #3 – I’m just here for the workout breakdowns.


I like the workout breakdowns themselves.  Oprea does say upfront that you can mix and match as you like (which is what I did).  The photos and descriptions of each movements is done well enough.  I think I would have preferred a bit more explanation on a squat, only because I know from personal experience that I was doing it slightly wrong for a long time.  (Recommendation – look up squats and butt winks on Girls Gone Strong’s website.)

I don’t love all of her combinations, but you can mix and match.  She generally provides information if a workout is cardio, or which muscles are being worked on for a particular movement.  It helps to mix and match better.  Some of the exercises are things I already incorporate into my workouts (ie. squat) but a lot of it was not (ie. hammer curls).

Yesterday at the gym, I ended up modifying her Beginner Tabata #7.  I did, mostly with 7.5lbs dumbbells:

round 1: hammer curls
round 2: tricep kickbacks
round 3: V-front raise
round 4: squats

I feel all that arm work today, but it’s a tired sore and not a painful sore.  I’m quite pleased!

So, if you’re looking to get into tabata style workouts, Oprea’s book is a pretty decent starting place.  Having said that, I still recommend Bodyfit by Amy, Girls Gone Strong, and Zuzka Light for more in depth explanations on movement.  Plus, for exercising, video examples tend to be better than photographs… unless someone wants to put out a tabata flip book which could be awesome and hilarious.

Disclaimer – I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post.

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Not a gym rat, but I do like exercising