Proper Map Art

Map Art

I love maps.  I love using maps in my scrapbooks.  I love love love map art.

There’s just one problem: I get really irked at “incorrect” map art.  The majority for sale are missing Antarctica.

Call it an #AntracticaTravelerProblem, but if you’ve been there you know it’s not a footnote.  Looking at map art, I’m sad artists leave it out.  I’m sad and kind of ticked because I’ll never be able to look at map art the same way again.

Mr. P, the geographer, once asked me for a map shirt similar to what Sheldon Cooper wears on the Big Bang Theory.  Sheldon’s shirt doesn’t include Antarctica!  I had to hunt and find a correct one (you can find it here).

Here’s some great “proper” map art I found on Etsy!

Map Art

Animal Map of the World

Map Art

Pallet Board World Map

Map Art

Custom Duvet Cover

Map Art

World Map Wall Decal

Map Art

Watercolor World Map Print

Which is your favorite?  I love them all!

Scrapbook Layout: Pool Dedication

Water Polo Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerWater Polo Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerWater Polo Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

The Story: Mr. P attended the dedication ceremony for the new pool at his high school.  He played water polo and swam all throughout high school.  The pool was named for his water polo coach who introduced the sport to the area and coached at the school for decades.  When the ceremony was over, Mr. P and other fellow alumni played each other in the new pool with Coach refereeing.

Dates on newspapers:  I always jot down the date on newspaper pieces I save.  When I add them to my scrapbook, I hand write the date near the story.

On not being present: This is one of the few events I’ve scrapbooked where I wasn’t actually there.  I couldn’t go to the event and relied on Mr. P’s family saving newspapers and the program.  I talked with him about his history with Coach before I wrote the captions.

By the time I made this page, Coach had passed away.  He was only 65 and had just retired.  He was such an instrumental person in my husband’s life and his loss was really hard.  I’m really glad I saved everything from this event so we can show our kids later.

Water Polo Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

Water Polo Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

Fonts: Futura Bk, Segoe UI Light | Supplies: Pioneer SJ-100 Jumbo Scrapbook(scrapbook & pages) | Ephemera Included: program, newspaper articles.

Getting Reliable Internet at Your AirBNB

How to get the best internet at AirBNB

Have you been there?  You see an AirBNB listing that says “wireless internet” and book it.  You schlep across the world and find that the internet is nonexistent or unusable.

I’m not saying I can’t live without internet.  I’ve visited places like that before.  What I don’t like is having planned for internet and find it doesn’t exist or is unreliable.  I really don’t like not getting something I paid for.

True, AirBNB hosts can be receptive and fix problems, but in my experience for short stays (2-4 days), the stay is half over by the time it gets fixed.

So, how do you make sure you have reliable internet?

Let’s go over the different “levels” of internet I’ve seen on my travels.

Types of Internet Found in Rented Apartments

First (and best) is the big normal-sized router.  If you have wireless internet in your home, you probably have one of these.

This is the router at our apartment in Florence.  I added Mr. P’s sunglasses for scale.  The size and style will vary, but it should be as big as two of your hands put together.

How to get the best internet at AirBNB

A router like this will allow you to do any normal things you’d expect to do in a major city with a reliable connection.  This includes web browsing, downloading, video streaming, and video calls.  It should also allow you to use multiple devices without a problem (we had five wirelss devices between us on the last trip *blushes*).

Second, are these little palm-sized guys (technical term).  The device pictured below was in our apartment in Venice.

How to get the best internet at AirBNB

This allows you to do basic web browsing and perhaps some non-HD streaming (like watching a cat video on YouTube).  I tried using the device above to video-call my mom using Google Hangouts and it did not work.

I’m not sure exactly how these work, but I think they connect to cellular networks.  Using them is a lot like using the tethering functions on your phone at home.

If you complain about non-existent internet at your AirBNB, the host may bring one of these as a temporary fix (it’s happened to us twice).

Third (and worst) is the missing router.  An apartment will be listed as having wireless internet but the property manager is using a router somewhere else in the building to serve multiple apartments.  If you check into an apartment and can’t find a router, it could be a bad sign.

Both times this has happened to us, the shared internet was unusable, even for basic email checking and web browsing.

Note, I’ve never actually rented an apartment with an ethernet cable hookup, but I suppose they exist!

What to Do When You Arrive

Walk through the apartment and make sure you know where the internet is coming from.

Mr. P and I usually tag team this.  He talks to the host about the nuts and bolts while I search for the router and make sure I can connect one of our devices.

If you can’t get a good connection before the host leaves, do not let the host leave without understanding how they’ll fix the problem.  The worst thing you can do is think to yourself, “this is probably no big deal, I’ll keep trying it and will let them know later if it doesn’t work.”  It probably won’t work and you’ll probably go without internet for part of your stay.

How to Plan Ahead of Time

Do real people live in the apartment?  You are more likely to get a real router when there are real people that live in the space when it’s not being rented out.  It’s easy to tell in AirBNB photos — just look for personal belongings.  Someone who owns several units in a building and rents them out will try to save money by cutting corners.  If a real person lives there but they’re using a management company to help them rent the space, that’s probably okay but you may want to . . .

Ask the host about the router ahead of time.  This is going to be our new strategy.  Before we book a place, we are going to ask the host if the router is located within the apartment or if it’s shared among units.  We may even share pictures like the ones in this post to ask what kind of router it is.

I hope this helps you!  Have you ever gotten stuck in an apartment rental without internet?

London: Visiting Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace, London by Natalie ParkerKensington Palace, London by Natalie ParkerKensington Palace, London by Natalie Parker

On one of my days off during my long work trip to London, I decided to check out Kensington Palace.

Kensington Palace is for You if

You’re a royal watcher (like me).  If you are at all interested in monarchy generally or the British royal family, you’ll love this.

You are interested at all in Queen Victoria or Princess Diana.  Queen Victoria lived in Kensington Palace before she became queen and had her first privy council meeting in one of the rooms available to visit.  Princess Diana also lived in Kensington Palace.

You’re interested in what’s on the rotating exhibition.  Exhibitions rotate at the palace.  What drew me there was actually a fashion exhibition of the Queen’s, Princess Margaret’s, and Princess Diana’s dresses.  The exhibition on Queen Victoria’s life, Victoria Revealed, was also on when I visited.

Kensington Palace, London by Natalie ParkerKensington Palace, London by Natalie Parker

Tips for Your Visit

Tickets aren’t free.  But I had no problem walking up and buying them on the spot.  Click here for pricing information.  Tickets purchased online in advance are slightly cheaper.

There are real guides, not audio guides.  Real guides are available throughout the exhibits to answer any questions you may have.  They are incredibly knowledgeable and really love their jobs.  I overheard one say that they decided to dump audio guides a few years ago in favor of the more personal touch.  Still . . .

. . . that means things aren’t labeled.  I find that kind of annoying.  In the Queen Victoria rooms, there was one small booklet at the entrance to each room that you could grab and flip through to see what a painting was or whose doll house that was.  One.  Other than that, you had to ask the guide.  I’m glad they’re there, don’t get me wrong, but I wish stuff was labeled.

Don’t expect to run into Will and Kate (Kensington Palace is their London residence). But I swear, I swear, I saw an assistant and a security guard walking Lupo one morning when I was running through Kensington Gardens.  Just sayin’.

If you don’t have time to go in consider taking a walk (or run) through Kensington Gardens.  The outside of the palace is lovely and can be really peaceful in the mornings.  I ran through the gardens three times a week during my month in London and loved it.

If You Go

Click here for a map of all the locations I visited in London

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on London

Have you visited Kensington Palace?  What did you think?  Did you know the grounds can be rented for weddings?

I traveled solo to London for the month of April on a business trip and kept myself entertained on the weekends exploring new places.  

London: Daunt Books

Daunt Books London by Natalie Parker

Daunt Books.  I’m already planning my return.

In a perfect world, I would spend at least a half a day there and bring an empty suitcase.

Daunt Books is a traveler’s paradise, whether you’re planning to go somewhere or just want to learn more about a far off place.

Daunt Books London by Natalie Parker

When I’m planning a trip, I want to learn everything I can (not just what’s shared in a guidebook).  I want to read books that take place in that place.  I always find it difficult to search for those, especially online.

At Daunt everything is arranged by geography.

Get that?  It means that I found a guidebook on visiting Russia right next to a copy of War and Peace.  And I almost fainted.  Not really.  Almost.

Daunt Books London by Natalie Parker

I never thought there would be a place that arranged books the way I wanted to see them.  I started thinking about all the trips we’ve planned (and the ones we’re just dreaming about) and considered buying all. the. books.

Daunt Books London by Natalie Parker

They have cards too!  And a few other little items that make crafty folks and letter writers happy.

Daunt Books London by Natalie Parker

Daunt Books, we will meet again!

If You Go

Click here for a map of all the locations I visited in London

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on London

I traveled solo to London for the month of April on a business trip and kept myself entertained on the weekends exploring new places.  

Maps in Scrapbooks

Maps in Scrapbooks by Natalie Parker

My summer wanderlust is in full swing even though I’ve already taken my summer vacation!  One of my favorite things to save for from my travels are maps.  You can check out how I turned maps from our travels into coasters here.

There are lots of cool ways to include maps in a scrapbook!

Keep it Whole

If you’re really attached to the map, include the whole thing so it can be folded out and looked at, like I did with this map of 17-Mile Drive in Monterey.

Maps in Scrapbooks by Natalie Parker

Cut it Up

If you aren’t attached to the whole map, or only want to feature part of it, cut it up!

I cut up pieces of the park map for my Yosemite scrapbook layout — still one of my favorite pages ever.

Maps in Scrapbooks by Natalie Parker

I took two different maps from our honeymoon and cut them the same size as other ephemera and photos to make everything meld together:

Maps in Scrapbooks by Natalie Parker

Don’t Have a Map?  Print One.

What if you want to add a map but you didn’t bring one home?  Print one!  Check out here for instructions on how to print Google Maps for your scrapbook.  I used a Google Map below for when we moved to a new apartment.

Maps in Scrapbooks by Natalie Parker

Don’t forget to check out transit agency websites.  They sometimes have really cool printable PDFs.  Below, I used a square I printed from a Manhattan Bus map.

Maps in Scrapbooks by Natalie Parker

Do you collect maps when you travel?  What do you use them for?

Weekend Reading, Vol. 2

Weekend Reading

More cool things from all over the internet today for your reading pleasure.  I have a heavy influence on travel, of course, but did you know I’m also a royal watcher?

An excellent, excellent travel book roundup by Nomadic Matt.  I added all of these to my library’s hold list.

New AirGrub app at SFO . . . I may have to try this out the next time we have a 5+ hour flight with no meal served.  Will they bring me something from Tyler Florence in Terminal 2?  Living in the epicenter of new apps certainly has its perks.

Cute article about the remaking of the christening gown used by the British Royals.

Adoring these travel-themed layouts from Ali Edwards’ creative team.  Makes me want to scrapbook all my trips now.

Carnival Corporation has been gotten approval to start cruising to Cuba, but the cruises aren’t exactly what you’d imagine.

Mattress running (like mileage running): never heard of it before but looks like it could be very lucrative if done right!

I do this and I’m sure other fellow bloggers do this as well.  Thanks, Rosie, for the reminder!

Finally, I firmly believe soccer is better in Spanish.  If you’re having a bad day, listening to the USWNT’s goals in the World Cup Final is an instant pick-me-up.

Photo courtesy Moyan Brenn via Creative Commons license.