A few weeks ago, Ben and I went to Ohio to visit my family and friends. I get so excited to go home! Since 2012, it was just a visit once a year (July) since I was all the way in India. But, this year, I had to come back from India to Ohio in February to renew my Indian visa as the five years had expired. So, this July visit was not a whole year apart AND I didn’t have to fly 30+ hours to reach home.
How refreshing to be just a 7-hour journey from Merida to Ohio! Ben did that journey but unfortunately, I still have a long route because I stopped in Atlanta for two days to do my visa for Mexico on the way to Ohio.
Even though I was home in February, and it wasn’t a year between visits, 5 months still felt like a long time – especially since so much has happened since then moving to Mexico and bringing the pets. We have found a rental home, applied for residency, bought a car, found car insurance, got bills switched to our name (to be able to open bank accounts and such), and really just been settling in (aka buying loads of shit to feel like it’s a “home”. In case you missed it, I wrote a post comparing being an expat in Goa to what Merida is like so far. We do miss curry.
While I was home we had a big BBQ at the house and I was so happy to see a bunch of my life-long friends, their kids, and their parents who are all second parents to me. It was such a good night, with good food and lots of booze! I got to spend a lot of time while home with my brother, his wife, and his new baby (who I met in Feb when he was born).
We went out on my dad’s fishing boat to nearby Alum Creek and spent a day lounging around at the little beach that is there. We didn’t do any fishing this time.
I actually live 10 minutes from MidOhio Race Track which is a huge Indy car race track that is actually kind of popular – celebs come to our town for it like Michael Jordan and Patrick Dempsey and some of my friends who worked out there in High School have met some that way! People say Michael Jordan even owns a condo in my “village” of Lexington which could be a total lie; not sure. But our town is tiny and the track is out in the middle of nowhere. Ben could hear the cars and was shocked when I told him about the track – as he’s a HUGE Formula1 fan and Indy isn’t that different. It was the Indy 200 (I think) and we went and got the pit passes to go behind the scenes and all that. Ben was in car heaven. I was just there to get a tan and a hot dog, obviously.
My town, Lexington, is near the city of Mansfield and they do this “Brickyard” thing on Friday’s in the summer and basically everyone from the towns around there go – and there is live music and food trucks. I’ve been hearing about it for ages but finally went. My bestie since I was 3 was there, Rachel, and her husband Ian (I wrote about their wedding four years ago) and our parents. After, we all got messy drunk and went to a local bar in Lexington. Lots of fun!
Other than that, it was just chilling with my family, playing Cranium, Balderdash, and Eukre. I loved seeing my little nephew and hanging out with my mom, going shopping. Now that I’m just a 7-hour flight away that is around $300 I can go home more often so it didn’t feel as limited as it usually does or as stressful to leave since I’m planning on going back for Thanksgiving weekend.
What I bought in USA
So, every time I’ve gone home to Ohio I’ve done my “yearly” shopping since I have no shopping really in India. But, now I’m in Mexico and have malls and department stores… but… not my favorite stores, lol, and a lot of my favorite brands don’t ship to Mexico unless you pay customs and all that SO I’ll still always be doing my clothing and a lot of homewares shopping in the USA and bringing it to Mexico in multiple pieces of luggage (this time it was four – not new stuff! Things I had from when I lived in America that had been in storage are finally free and here in Mexico). I’m actually reallllllly Type A about being organized and it feels like a weight lifting to be able to move all my things to one place. I always had just 3 luggages of “stuff” in India and no real homewares items – we had a furnished house – and I hated having all my things in storage.
So, since I had to get bedding, I went with Brooklinen linen sheets and duvet covers. I’m obsessed with these sheets. I’m basically OBSESSED with linen. I got a bunch of linen shirts and dresses, too. But, these get softer as you wash them and they are so comfortable. I actually brought my duvet from India, haha! These pillows are from Morocco. I got two sets of sheets and did mixed colors (white with cream and white with striped cream). They are basically “budget” version of supe luxe bedding, but in general linen bedding is always going to be expensive, this is just the best deal.
Case in point: wearing a linen dress from Solito while sitting on a linen bed and did NOT plan that, haha! I actually took this picture to show the Knesko eye masks I was wearing for a giveaway on my new website Omni Curated. I gave away that book, too, it’s pretty good but I decided it on the giveaway before I finished it and now which I was giving a different one haha it’s good, but not amazing – surprised Reese W is turning it into a movie!
Another notable purchase I’m loving is my PJ’s from Homebodii! I always wanted “real pajamas” not just like shorts and a t-shirt. These have my initial. SO CUTE. You can get them on Revolve. I also got this set from them.
I also got my towels from Brooklinen and did the tan 9 piece set. It came with two towels called “bath sheets” and I was like wonder what those are – they are basically GIANT towels that are the best thing I’ve ever owned. I want to get another set when we get our house.
It might seem like a splurge, but really we have been in India for 5 years using some old blankets and stuff from our landlord and scratchy towels (we didn’t have laundry softener and driers and all that) so it’s just nice to have nice things! I might be going a little overboard.
Because I needed to, I bought a gold tree to hold my jewelry. Haha! I admit, I needed none of these things but it’s just so fun to be decorating a new house and we want to build one like this – so I’m picturing it all! I actually bought two sets of curtains for a house I haven’t even built yet. This gold tree jewelry stand is the best $38 I’ve ever spent even if I DID have to carry it through the airport like a looney because it wouldn’t fit back in my backpack after security searched it. Before this, my jewelry was all in little baggies tucked away in my closet so I wore the same stuff all the time; now I actually wear all my jewelry. And yes, that’s a B&B Works candle in the background. I brought that and two GIANT Yankee candles back to Mexico. The India expat in me is just a hoarder, I guess.
All the cute little baskets and stuff I bought at Sears in Mexico but this is ridiculous, the soap dispenser and toothbrush holder and that set are from the USA, haha. I couldn’t find one I liked in Mexico! They are from Bed Bath and Beyond and I wrapped them in bras in my hand luggage – I’m a weirdo, I know. Plus, I had a coupon and it was a lot cheaper than the sets in Mexico! I almost bought the matching Kleenex holder but didn’t, so I do have some restraint although if it’s still there at Thanksgiving when I go home, it’s mine.
I won’t get into the clothes because there is just a lot – I didn’t do much shopping because some brands I love and work with sent me some outfits and I’ll be wearing them on upcoming trips so I’ll link to them then. I did get some linen shirts on sale at GAP, where I usually never find anything (this one in pastel and a white one).
Moving on to things I really don’t need but felt like since I have a new house I should get…
I bought a honey bear pot… to put honey in. LOOK AT HIM! He’s so cute. Then, because I had bears on the mind, I saw this bear glass and got two of those (and obviously already broke one because I took it to Mexico in my purse…).
I also bought these glasses with ladybugs on them because my mom calls my ladybug. They have them with bees, too. They are huge and I use one every day. I just figure you have to have glasses and plates and plain things like this in your house, why not get the cutest ones so you LOVE using them? I’m not crazy though, I do wait for them to go on sale.
I also collect mugs and my mom got me this one that says “travel is my therapy” which looks great along with my Harry Potter Honeydukes mug I got at Universal last year with her. Another thing I picked up is a Handpresso. People have been raving about these handheld espresso machines you can travel with. I HATE Nescafe instant coffee and in India, Asia in general, a lot of Europe – it’s all instant coffee. So, I would be really nice instant coffee like Beanz and bring my own powdered coffee creamer to try and have a decent cup. This thing is meant to change all that and you can have real coffee on the go. I got it in pink and can’t wait to try it. It is heavier than I’d hoped so probably not great for a backpacking trip but more for wekeends away.
Then, I got the same beauty bits I always do Sun Bum sunscreen and Aveda Blue Malva and Damage Remedy hair care. I actually got a bunch of other beauty items because I’m going to start writing about beauty and fashion more over on my new site, Omni Curated. So, I’ll be sharing more there.
Posts like these seem kind of random and just say what I was up to and shopping for, but I can see the number of readers and it seems like you guys like these posts – so that is kind of what inspired this new website I created because I like sharing about this stuff, too!
I’ll be back in the USA in Thanksgiving but until then, I have two weeks in Panama starting NOW and then a trip to New York in September to speak at TBEX and a trip to New Orleans to check out the city in early October! Other than that, here in Merida, we are just enjoying living a life in the “real world”, taking tennis lessons, learning Spanish with Rosetta Stone, practicing Pilates, and are looking for land to try and build a home. The pets are happy here and so are we! My parents and Ben’s mom, her boyfriend, and his little brother are visiting us at Christmas! Exciting times coming up this fall – thanks for following along and reading!