What I’m Loving & Some Good News!

Good news! Williams-Sonoma brought back their tartan bedding! Last year several folks emailed or left comments upset because this bedding sold out so quickly at the Williams-Sonoma Home website. After talking with an associate in one of the WS stores, I had high hopes that they would bring it back and they did! You’ll find it on their website here: Tartan Bedding

Tartan Plaid Bedding For Winter


I purchased several Williams-Sonoma tartan tablecloths on eBay last year and had a bedskirt made. So, if you need a bedskirt, look for the Williams-Sonoma tartan tablecloths on eBay. I purchased the biggest ones I could find.

You probably only need 3 to make a bedskirt since you can get two really long lengths our of each tablecloth. I purchased a few more since I wanted my skirt extra full. Williams-Sonoma may have the tablecloths in again this year, but I found they were less expensive on eBay.

If you wanted this for your fall/winter bedding, I would not wait too long to order it. I have a feeling it will go fast again like it did last year. You’ll find it here: Tartan Bedding

Tartan Plaid Bedding With Plaid Bedskirt For High Bed


I didn’t buy the pillow cases last year and ended up wishing I had. I definitely want to get those this year. They are available at that same link above.

Williams Sonoma Red Tartan Bedding

This year they also have tartan bedding available in the Stewart pattern: Stewart Tartan Bedding  Love this pattern, too!

Williams Sonoma Stewart Tartan Bedding

There’s also a blue/green tartan called Isle Tartan available here: Isle Tartan Bedding

Tartan is such a classic, it’s a timeless look that never goes out of style.  I love changing my bedding out in early fall for a cozy, warm bed I can enjoy all fall and winter.Williams Sonoma Isle Tartan Bedding

What else am I loving these days? You may remember I ordered this super cute Olympia Fashion Rolling, Carry-on Bag a few weeks ago.

Stylish Rolling Carry On Laptop Bag by Olympia for Travel


After I ordered it, I ordered two more of the bags I blogged about in this post: 10 Rolling Carryon Bags, As Beautiful As They Are Practical. I ordered the additional bags because I was having so much trouble making up my mind which one I wanted.

One of the other bags I ordered was this Rolling Travelon Carry-on Bag. I ordered it because I love my Travelon Travel purse so I already knew the quality of their products. This is a great rolling bag and super roomy but I ended up returning it because it didn’t have a dedicated pocket inside for holding a laptop. That was a feature I really wanted in a carry-on bag. It you don’t need that, this is an excellent bag.

Travelon Underseat Rolling Carry-On Bag

The other bag I ordered was this cute Nicole Lee Travel/Business Bag in the “Bicycle” print. I fell for the cute design on the outside. I waited until all three bags arrived to make my decision which one to keep.Nicole Lee Rolling Carry-on Bag, Bicycle Design


It was a brutally hard decision, but The Nicole Lee bag was the one I ended up keeping in the end.

Nicole Lee Rolling Travel Business Bag Bicycle Print


If you’ve been reading BNOTP for a while, you know I’m slightly obsessed with visiting Giraffe Manor one day. It’s on my bucket list! When I saw the giraffe print lining inside the Nicole Lee bag, I was smitten.

It also has a dedicated, padded pocket inside to hold a laptop computer. My 14″ Lenovo laptop (which is right at 13.3 inches wide) fits perfectly inside the pocket. (see arrow) I’m storing the electrical cord and mouse in the zippered pocket on the other side There’s still plenty of room inside the bag for a few essentials that I’ll want to have with me on a flight in case my luggage is lost.

Nicole Lee Rolling Travel Bag with Giraffe Print Interior


Remember the travel pillow I ordered for the long flight I have ahead of me? It came and I love it! I’ve tested it out sitting in my office chair and in a reading chair and it works!

Travel Pillow for Flying on Planes


Smart are the folks who invented this pillow because they included a little tab thingy so you can hook it around the handle of your bag. No carrying it through the airport and it doesn’t take up any space inside your bag. I’ll unsnap it right before I put my bag up in the overhead bin. It’s available here: J Travel & Neck Pillow-Winner of British Invention of the Year, 2013.

Update: Found another travel pillow that I like even better. This is the travel pillow I now carry on all my trips: Travel Pillow.

Travel Carry-on Rolling Bag With J Travel Pillow_wm


In addition to the cute bag I purchased, they have them available in several other designs. You’ll find them all here: Nicole Lee Rolling Tote. I love all the Nicole Lee designs!

Update: Have used this bag now for 7-8 trips and it still looks like the day I purchased it. Definitely one of the best purchases I ever made!Nicole Lee Rolling Travel Bag & Business Tote

For my travels with a laptop, I ordered another wireless mouse just like the one I use daily. I LOVE this mouse! It has tons of features, too many to list here.

My two favorite features are: 1. the ability to set the scroll button (when pressed) to open any webpage you wish (I have mine set to open “Google” since I’m always Googling something) and 2. the arrow buttons on the side. I have the arrow buttons set to move forward and backward so I can rapidly scroll through the pictures I take for the blog. You can set them for anything you wish, though.

I could NOT live without this mouse. If they ever stop making it, I will be devastated! I’m glad I have two now, just in case one dies one day. I’ve had the first one for at least 3-4 years and it’s still going great. You’ll find this mouse here: Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse Mx

Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse MX
Also, for the traveling I’ll be doing, I ordered this Travel Adapter & Power Converter. Not only does it give you the adapters you most often need while traveling, it is also a voltage converter. I’ve read that you don’t usually need that with cellphones and most electronics, but I really don’t want to take a chance of destroying my cell phone or computer. It has great reviews and is available here: Travel Adapter & Power Converter

Travel Adapter & Power Converter for 220V to 110V Voltage

I’ve been worried about what I was going to do about a hairdryer while traveling. I had heard the hair dryers in most hotels in Italy aren’t that great and the typical voltage converters that are available for purchase, can’t always handle devices that require a lot of power like hair dryers and curling irons.

I was thrilled to find this Conair 1875 Dual Voltage Hair Dryer. The handle folds up making it super compact for travel and it will work for both 220V or 110V power. There’s a little button you turn for the voltage you need. So it will work here in the U.S. and abroad when traveling. It has great reviews and is available here: Conair 1875 Watt Dual Voltage Folding Hair Dryer

Conair 1875 Dual Voltage Folding Handle Hair Dryer


The styling hot-air brush that I love and use all the time, also supports dual voltage. You’ll find it here: Conair 2-in-1 Hot Air Styling Brush


Conair Styling Brush Dual Voltage

Several BNOTP readers suggested I consider buying packing cubes to aid with packing. I did and I can’t wait to use them on my upcoming travels. Instead of having to unpack things on arrival, you just lift the cubes out of the suitcase and place them in drawers.

I love being organized and these should help keep my suitcase from looking like a disaster area, which is normally how it looks after a few days of rummaging through it. I’ll be able to keep shoes in one (and away from the clothes) and shirts/pants in another, etc… Makes you wonder why suitcases don’t automatically come with these! They come in several colors and have 1,540 reviews with 98% being 5 and 4 star! You’ll find these available here: 4-Set Packing Cube-Travel Organizers with Laundry BagPacking Cubes


Hope you find these items helpful. The only thing I still need now are great walking shoes. Will be working on that next!

Oh, and if you ever want to refer back to any of these items, you’ll find them all linked under the Shop-Favorite Travel Goods category at the top of the blog.

Travel Category


Or, just enter through the red door on the sidebar, and click on the Travel category. Happy travels!

Red Door Shop

*If a post is sponsored or a product was provided at no charge, it will be stated in post. Some links may be affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. *

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  1. Oh, My, Gal!! You are SO ORGANIZED and will look SO CHIC!!! Travel-ON!

    • lol I don’t know about chic stuff but I’m trying to get all my ducks in a row! A little nervous, having never travel so far away…but it’s a good nervous! πŸ™‚

  2. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    Love your bicycle travel bag! So cute and stylish. And those packing cubes look great! I too love to have everything in it’s place. I have never seen those. You’re becoming so well prepared, you’re going to have a great time.

  3. Susan, you are ready to travel! I know you are beyond excited about your trip to Italy, and I’m thrilled for you. The travel tote looks like a great piece. I wish my tote was a roll on.
    I use the same curling brush and also have one of the travel hair dryers. I’ve used both for years. Don’t know what I’d do without them!
    Safe travels and have a fabulous trip, Susan.

    • Thanks, Sarah! Don’t you love that curling brush. I love how fast it works and it seems a bit more gentle on hair than a curling iron. How did I not know about travel hair dryers all this time. I would love to have had one long before now just for trips to see family. This has been such a learning experience, getting ready for a trip.

  4. Hello Susan,

    Enjoyed your post and love the Nicole Lee bag you chose. I use packing folders and cubes all the time (have for years). I have the ones from Eagle Creek and they are great. I love to just stick them in the drawers in a hotel because you never actually know if the drawers are all that clean. Sometimes I have just left them in my suitcase on a luggage stand when sharing a room and drawers are at a minimum. You can pop on out, set it on a table or bed and put it right back. The do take up extra space in your luggage but I love them anyway.

  5. For walking shoes I recommend Sketcher Go Walks. I wore them on my trip to London and was so glad I had them. Super, super comfy. Vikki in VA

  6. oh the shoe cube will be nice. I don’t like my shoes in with my clothes either, without them being in something….I save those thick plastic zipper bags that a set of sheets comes in. They work great for shoes and then after the trip I just throw it away. My daughter is actually visiting London, Belgium, and Holland this week and we used one for her shoes. Also,
    I don’t know if you’ve ever tried them but I love the sketchers “go walk” shoes they are light as a feather and so comfortable.

  7. Susan,

    Cute bags. We did not have the luxury of someone else handling our luggage for the whole trip to Europe, so we needed a carry on that was a little bigger. I would have loved to have a small, cute bag like the one you got.
    We used the same power converter/adapters and they worked fine, although it does make a little noise, it wasn’t bad.
    I think you’ll like the packing cubes. I used them for the first time this trip and loved how I knew where things were and it was easy to keep organized and re-pack when we had to go to a new place.
    I used the same Travelon cross body bag that you bought, but found it just a little small for all the junk I wanted to put in it. Obviously, YMMV, but I think a bag with a little more width/depth (back to front) would have been helpful for me. I got it too late to change to something else before our trip. It is very well made and I loved all the features. With the inner pockets full of things, it was a little difficult to reach down into the bottom of the main compartment. I probably had a little more bulky stuff than you will be carrying.
    I’m sure you’re getting excited about your trip. I hope you have a great time!

    • Anna, thanks for all those tips. I won’t be carrying much in my bag. I may not even take my iPad. I hope to update my phone before I leave so I may just use it for internet access when I’m out running around.
      Grand Circle will handle one bag, any size. I’m taking my largest bag because and will just make sure I keep it without weight restrictions. Then I’ll be handling my rolling carry-on and my Pendleton Weekender which is going to be my “personal item.” I’ll have my Travelon purse inside the suitcase to use once I’m in Italy. At least this is the plan for now. It is subject to change. πŸ™‚

  8. I love all the tartan bedding. That would look terrific in my farmhouse bedrooms.

  9. I like the Sketchers Go Walk shoes also. For all day hard core walking, I need a little more support, so I wore my running shoes, but all the rest of the time I wore the Go Walks. Very light and comfortable, and cute. There are a lot of colors and styles to choose from. Be sure to look at the pictures carefully. I bought some tan ones thinking they would be a nice neutral shoe, but when they came they had a BRIGHT PINK section of sole. It was on the picture online, but I missed it. I had to send them back, and get a different style.

    • That’s the only complaint I’ve had with the Go Walk 2 Sketchers that I have, they are light, which is nice, but they feel really squishy…like walking on sponges. So, the times I’ve worn them all day, my feet are often tired at the end of the day because the squishiness doesn’t offer a lot of support. I think I’d like something a little firmer. Thanks, Anna!

  10. Kathy Powers says

    Just another note from your friendly retired Delta flight attendant. You might want to add a travel-size steamer to your travel necessities. Italian hotels will not furnish, nor make available, irons and ironing boards. I haven’t been to Italy for about 4 years, so things might have changed, but I doubt it. It’s some crazy law they have. Have a wonderful time.

    • I was thinking about that but all the ones I saw online were sooo big. Even when they said they were small, they were pretty big. Maybe I can find a really small one somewhere. Ummm, that’s interesting. Maybe they think they are a fire hazard.

  11. Something that I do when traveling is put each days outfit in a separate space bag and vacuum all the air out. They take up less room in my suitcase, and I almost never have to iron them (I don’t know how that works but my clothing stays wrinkle free!) Each morning I just take out the bag of the day and do not disturb my other clothing. I place my dirty clothing back into the bag and vacuum the air out and place this bag in the bottom of my suitcase. I pack a small electrical air pump (mine is smaller than my fist) to remove the air.

  12. On our recent trip to Ireland, I also wore Sketcher Go Walks (black slip-ons) and they were wonderful. Don’t forget compression socks for the plane. Having back trouble I was skeptical how much walking I would be able to do. The only day I had any trouble was the day I didn’t wear them. Otherwise it was like walking on air. Sure I’ve missed some of your trip posts & many comments but has anyone mentioned packing clothing, by outfit(s) in the gallon zip-lock bags? Just fold & place a full day’s outfit in the plastic bag, zip almost closed, roll up to get all the air out & finish ‘zipping.’ This gets SO much more in a suitcase.

    • I have never thought of doing that. I have a feeling I’m mixing and matching a lot since the trip is for 17 days. Did you love Ireland? That’s definitely on my bucket list, too! πŸ™‚

  13. I love the bag you chose! I also took a memory foam neck pillow and it saved me on the long flight. I have to see if mine hooks onto luggage – I never noticed! Also, I bought packing cubes – a different brand but they were the best travel purchase I ever made (not that they were expensive), and I stayed organized the entire trip.

    • Amy, that is good to know about the packing cubes. I need to do a trial run with the packing to see how it goes. I’m dreading deciding what to take. I think there will be a mix of cold and hot weather so will be tricky to pack.

  14. If you wear the shoes that make you most comfortable and your trip most pleasant then they are the shoes for you. If you look like a tourist, so what,
    you are a tourist. Also, I doubt you will see any if the Italians again.

  15. Susan, I so enjoy reading about your preparations for your trip! For me, half of the fun is the anticipation and planning, deciding what to do, what to pack, etc. We went to London, St. Andrews, Paris and Normandy two years ago–it was our dream trip. Had sooo much fun, and still talk about our adventures. I am super excited now as I am planning another such “Bucket List” trip. I am heading “Down Under” in September. We are going to the Gold Coast, Sydney, Uluru, King’s Canyon, Alice Springs, then Cairn and The Great Barrier Reef. To say I am excited is an UNDERSTATEMENT!! One suggestion: I hope you will consider getting a travel journal and be sure you capture all of your adventures as they happen (the sights, the people you meet, the smells, the things that make you laugh). Although you’ll come back with many memories, the little things fade and a journal will help you recall them. Have loads of fun–I look forward to reading about your trip! (oh, one other note: lay out all you plan to take, then remove half of it. Then weed out another third of it. You won’t regret having less to carry around–and a really good backpack is the way to go—trust me!) πŸ™‚

  16. Nancy of Lake Stevens says

    Susan, I have a burning question. I always travel with my husband but in October I will be traveling alone and with a laptop (first time for both). My question is should one take her laptop to the restroom with her on the plane. I am really reluctant to leave it at my seat. Silly question perhaps but I really would like to hear what other people do. I am loving all the travel tips.

  17. gayle maestri says

    Hey Susan,
    This is more for just personal info but I was wondering what you will be wearing on your trip. My husband and I will be going to Rome on Nov. 7th for 4 days and then on a 7 day cruise with Norwegian. We will be stopping in Florence, Amalfi Coast, Cannes, a couple of other spots down by Spain. I’m about your age and a little heavier and though I don’t want to look like I’m fresh and green off the boat I do want to be comfortable. I am a tourist and plan to wear comfortable shoes. I have solid black tennis shoes that should do just fine. I wore this type on a Mediterranean cruise and they served me well. The landscape and streets in Europe are just so unlevel. I fractured my knee my making a misstep right here and I don’t want to do it there. Any suggestions? On my cruise and also foray into Venice about the same time of the year, one thing I felt good about was a smart looking light weight trench coat. Scarves are always good for color too. Let me know what you think. Trying to think ahead and get it all together. You’re ahead of me. I also have a new camera I want to get comfortable with before Nov. 7th:)

    • Gayle, I’ve been trying to figure that out, too. I know that we should layer, because a day can start out cool and warm up. You’ll be there a little later than I will so you may see a bit cooler weather. I am very cold natured. When I go in a restaurant, I freeze to death. So I will probably take several pairs of corduroy pants…the ones I bought in Talbots last fall. As it gets closer to time for us to go, we should check the weather forecast to see what they are predicting. I will most likely wear tennis shoes or shoes that are tennis shoes but don’t really look like it. I wanted to wait until it was a bit nearer the time to leave and shop then since the fall things will be coming out soon. The trench coat sounds like a great idea. If Lands End hadn’t change their pants, I would have consider taking a pair of the pants I bought there a few years ago. They were very stretchy and comfortable…for all that food we’re going to eat. πŸ™‚ I imagine I’ll wear maybe a few pairs of pants and just change the tops for a different look. I should probably take a good rain jacket/coat. I have one but it’s bright green! I should find something more neutral, I suppose. Sorry, I’m probably not much help.

  18. Susan, I am so excited about your upcoming trip! Love the carry-on bag that you chose, too! It has always been my dream to travel to Italy but now I can vicariously go along with you! I can hardly wait to hear all about your adventures.

    • Thanks, Jane! I can’t wait to share them. I hope to capture some wonderful things to share here and on Instagram. How did your garden do this summer? I bet you guys have been putting away some good stuff for the winter!

  19. Susan, please stop worrying about wearing sneakers in Italy, we’ve lived there for almost 16 years and wore them all the time, nobody noticed (most of our italian friends wore them too), nobody was offended and you could buy them in any regular shoe store.
    I’m from Europe, have lived there all my life, (in seven different countries so far) and had never heard that you shouldn’t wear sneakers in southern Europe before you mentioned it. I own sneakers made by italian, spanish and portuguese companies, would they make them if they were offending or if nobody wore them?
    So, please relax, take a pair of comfortable shoes you can walk in for hours (and maybe a pair of nicer shoes, if you go out to eat in a nicer restaurant) and just enjoy your holiday. The italians are extremely warm and friendly, the country is beautiful and the food and wine are excellent. Have fun!

    PS: We’re now living in France and guess what; sneakers are here totally acceptable too πŸ™‚

  20. Hi Susan,

    Time is flying by since you first mentioned your trip! Soon you will be packing! Reading through the comments, someone mentioned a small steamer – I travel with one always. It’s amazing how a little steam will freshen up your clothing, especially since you want to wear your pieces multiple times. They have have a small travel size at Bed, Bath & Beyond for under $20. Works great and is ready to use in an instant. You will be surprised how much space all your gadgets will take up in your suitcase though! I always use those travel packs. It helps to have all your things corralled. Try the two gallon zip lock baggies for packing outfits, shoes, or undergarments, you can get them at Dollar Tree. Works great! You have so much to look forward to! (And really you don’t need to take anything to the restroom!)

  21. Mary from Virginia says

    You are one lucky duck to get out there and travel! and so organized. I can’t wait to read about all of your great adventures!

    • Thanks, Mary! I hope I am! There is so much to learn and do when traveling. I bet it will get easier after I have a few trips under my belt.

  22. I travelled the Amalfi Coast 2 years ago. It was my favourite trip, you will Positano love it. Now I cruise the fancy pasta aisle at the grocery just to reminisce. Pack all 1 colour plus a neutral and prints are better than solids. Everything will go together and your gelato and espresso slips won’t show. You will not need “outfits”. The Italians are super fashionable from cradle to grave and they do everything in heels. I was on a scooter so I had to keep my luggage to a backpack, sounds like you will have more room. My favourite travel shoe is a Joseph Seibel sandal and I add a gel heel/arch pad. I’m loving that bag! Safe journey, don’t forget to register your itinary with your embassy and your credit card company, and I always look up the local branch of my church in case I need some help. So excited for you.

    • Mary, you are too funny! Well, while you’re cruising the pasta isle, I’ve been watching Under the Tuscan Sun on repeat! πŸ™‚

      Oh, no one has mentioned registering the itinerary with our embassy. That’s a good thing, huh? Tell me more about that.

  23. I, too, vote for Sketchers Go Walks. A model told me once “Let me give you a beauty tip. Take care of your feet.” If your feet hurt, it shows in your face.

    And I also save the large zippered bags from sheets, etc. for travel. I use them for my underwear. If my bag is opened and searched, they can see and feel through the bag without opening it. The idea of a stranger handling my “intimate apparel” is just “icky.”

  24. Thank you for researching and telling us about all your travel purchases. I’m going to New Zealand next April and, because of your Travelon bag recommendation, I ended up buying one too! I plan to look into the power adapter and the packing cubes too.

  25. Marlene Stephenson says

    Well sounds like you are just about ready for your adventure,i know you will have a great time. It is great to get away from it all and see some wonderfully new things. I love your new carry on it is really cute. Good luck with finding just the right shoes.

  26. Linda Page says

    Well, I just couldn’t stand it and I ordered the NY Nicole Lee rolling bag. I got the last one on Amazon!!! You are killing me!!! I know that I am going to be travelling with you at some point in the very near future so I went ahead and nabbed that cute bag! I also noticed in your picture of your bag and headrest thing, the Fleur di lis from New Orleans was hanging in the background. I have mind at my kitchen window. I just love it and it is a great reminder of that wonderful trip! I think the reason for no tennis shoes to keep you from looking like a tourist is that the tennis shoes make you a prime target for a thief. Lots of great items and tips on this post. Well done! Oh, yes, be sure to watch your mail on Aug 21!!!!

    • I hope you like it…and hope it has the giraffe lining. I love that silly lining! Yeah, that’s the problem with things on Amazon, often they only have a few of an item. Glad you got it before it was gone! I think you’re right about the tennis shoes. Since I’ll be part of a tour group, there will be no doubt that I’m a tourist. Hopefully traveling with a group will make us less of a target for the bad guys.
      A window is a better spot for the fleur de les. I should hang mine in one. Mine moves around…sometimes on a lamp, sometimes on the door handle. πŸ™‚

  27. You will love the packing cubes. I tried them for the first time last fall and was totally won over. So much so that for Christmas I bought sets for my grown children and their spouses. I have an embroidery machine so I monogrammed the largest case in each set. They were a big hit and probably the most used gift I have ever given.

    • Lee, that’s so good to hear! I need to learn to use the embroidery function on my sewing machine. Love the idea of personalizing them that way. That was sooo nice of you to do that for your family…and what a great gift! I think I’m going to buy some to give as gifts at Christmastime, too. Awesome idea!

  28. Hi Susan. Back to the travel shoes. I just got back from Kohl’s where I bought some new Sketchers for a couple of Fall mini trips of my own. They have some Fall styles in Fall materials that have the rubber sole but it matches the shoe color of black or brown and they look dressier and less like sports shoes. They are Relaxed Fit with memory soles. With my coupon, reward points, etc. I got a pair of $65 shoes for $40. I am quite pleased with mine. I bought black and will probably go back for the brown ones. Wishing you “happy feet” in your travels.

    • Sara, thanks so much for telling me about those. I have a Kohls about 2 miles from my house so I will definitely check them out. I was kind of waiting for some of the fall styles to come in before I went shopping. Sounds like it’s getting to be that time!

  29. Exactly which of the 14″ Lenovo laptops did you get and are you still happy w it?

    • I purchased a T450s ThinkPad with Intel Core i7-5600U Processor, Windows 7, which I use currently on my desktop and like. It comes with a free upgrade to Windows 10, if decided to upgrade to that sometime in the future. It has a 512GB Solid State Hard drive and 12GB RAM. It wasn’t cheap but it should last me for many years. Most folks won’t need that big of a hard drive, nor that much RAM, but it will be my blogging computer when I travel and I’ll be taking a ton of pictures. So, I wanted something with a lot of space for photos and my picture editing software, etc…
      You can read more about it in this post: https://betweennapsontheporch.net/lenovo-thinkpad-a-laptop-built-for-travel-on-earth-or-in-space/

  30. Raef juell says

    who did your tartan bedskirt – do you have a contact number?

  31. Thank you! You are my go-to for travel accessories and fashion recommendations ! Ordered the purse and the cubes !

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