Endless Bliss | Happy Lifestyle Blog: December 2014

In 2015, I Will...

The other day, I was on Twitter, and I saw this tweet about how in 2015, 2030 will be as far away as the year 2000. Isn't that so scary to think about? In my mind, it feels like the 2000's just started. It's hard for me to fathom that I was born in a completely different millennium.

Anyway, as I've already shared, 2014 was an amazing year for me. I'm looking forward to an even more awesome 2015! While I don't make resolutions (because there's no way that I'm going eat cleaner or drink less wine), I do like to set some goals for myself, and I try to make sure they're goals that I'll actually keep and ones that I can cross off of a list. Nothing's more frustrating than having a goal like be more kind to people or feel better about myself, because how do you measure that? To me, a goal is something that has an end date, and because I'm an overachiever, I like my goals to be things that I don't have to question whether I actually accomplished them or not.

These are a few of the goals I've set for myself in 2015:

Travel internationally at least once. // I have plenty of trips planned for 2015 - a trip to Houston for Supernatural Con with Jon, a trip to Chicago to reunite with my college roommates and see Taylor Swift, and potentially going to South Carolina - but all of those trips are within the United States. After traveling to Europe with my sister this past summer, I realized that I want to explore more of this vast and beautiful world, so of course I want to leave the country at least once next year. 

Take the next steps for publishing my book. // By next steps, I mean, find a few beta readers to give me feedback about my book and make any suggested changes that I agree with and also decide on how I would like to publish my book. I've been looking at several different options for publishing, and I'm not sure which option appeals to me most. Even if I don't get my book published next year, I still want to make sure I'm working toward that goal.

Do some freelance writing jobs. // Writing is one of my biggest passions, and I would love to start building my portfolio and try to figure out how I would fit into the world of writing. 

Work out at least four times a week. // I've actually been really good about this for the past few weeks. I found this awesome channel on YouTube called XHIT, and they have great exercises that only take a few minutes, but you do so much in those few minutes. I've had days of sore legs and sore abs just from a ten-minute workout. Plus the trainers are so fun, and all of the workouts are super easy to do. 

De-Clutter. // I have way too much stuff, and I'm currently working on going through every room in my house and getting rid of the things that I don't need or use. It's crazy how many things I have that I haven't even looked at in years, and I just move them from place to place. 

Learn to use my fancy camera. // I'm obsessed with the camera Jon bought me for my birthday, but I would love to get off using it in Auto mode and learning how to use it to its full potential. 

Create a blog group. // I'm letting the cat out of the bag a little prematurely with this one. My friend, Nina, and I have been putting together a blog group since November. We're almost through in the planning stages, and I'm super excited to launch and share all of our awesome ideas with the blog world. The group is called The Blogging Elite, and you can find a little more information about it here. The link in the page will take you to nothing because it's still a secret group, but soon, it will open up, and if you're wanting to join an awesome blog group, you should definitely join us! 

Create a media kit. // This past year has been a great year for me as far as blogging for profit goes. I still can't believe that I actually have to file for taxes for my blog this year. As amazing as this year was, I would love to see my blog grow more on the business side of things, and having a media kit would definitely help improve how I look to brands.

Attend a blog conference or meet-up. // Ever since Blogcation was cancelled, I've been on the look-out for a blog conference to attend. I've also been on the hunt for bloggers closer to home. I would love to organize a blogger meet-up, but I don't know of my bloggers in my area. Luckily, Dallas is only a 3-hour drive away, so I may pop on over there to meet-up with a few bloggers.

Get blog business cards. // I've been wanting to get business cards for my blog for so long, but I just keep talking about it and not actually doing it. 

Utilize my blog planner. // I used to be really good about using a planner, but for some reason, when I started blogging, I stopped using one. My sister bought me a planner for Christmas, and I really want to use it to get more organized with my posts. 

Create a budget (and stick to it). // Pinterest has been a saving grace lately when it comes to budgeting. I've been looking at so many printables and tips on how to manage money. I've created budgets in the past, but I've never really stuck to them. I'm hoping to change that in 2015.

Create a joint savings account with Jon. // We've been talking about doing this for a few months now, but we just haven't gone to the bank to do it. We want to create a savings account that we each contribute to each month, and we're not going to touch it. We don't really have a fallback as far as money is concerned, so having a savings account that will be there for emergencies would put both of our minds at ease.

Pay off one of my credit cards. // I've had a credit card for a really long time, and this past year, I got another one. I really want to work on paying off my first credit card, but still keeping it open and using it for smaller purchases to continue to build my credit score. 

Get a second job. // This one is iffy for me. I've been toying with the idea of getting a second job at a bookstore or one of the local libraries to earn some extra cash by working on the weekends or a few nights a week. It wouldn't be a ton of money, but all of the money would be put away to use for paying off debts and planning for future vacations. 

What are some of your goals for 2015? 

read more " In 2015, I Will... "

My 10 Top Reads of 2014.

2014 was an awesome year for me as far as books are concerned. I read so many great books that have been on my to-read list for so long. I've also learned to appreciate the art of audio books. While traditional reading is my reading method of choice, I still love to enjoy audio books on my commute to work, while I'm in the shower (okay, I'm weird), and before I go to bed.

I set a Goodreads goal for myself to read 40 books this year, and I ended up reading well over 50, which I'm super pumped about. I did a lot of YA reading, particularly ones with a dystopian theme. I didn't realize that until I was putting this list together. I didn't get the chance to write a review for every single book that I read this year, but you can still check out my book ratings on my Goodreads account and view all of the books I did review on the blog here

These were my favorite reads from this year:

10. Matched by Ally Condie
I was enticed by the plot of this book - a world ruled by the Society who tells you what you can do and when you can do it. I'm a sucker for a book with a great heroine, and Cassia fit the bill. She was curious, intelligent, and brave. She also wasn't afraid to ask questions and believe in herself.

9. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
I still can't believe it took me so long to read this book. I loved everything about it. I was so intrigued by Hannah's story and the patience she took in recording all of these tapes before she killed herself. I also adored Clay, and, of course, I also felt sorry for the poor guy. 

8. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
I just finished reading this book last week, and holy cow! It was incredible. While the second book fell off for me (as they always seem to do when I'm reading a trilogy), I'm currently in the middle of Requiem, and I'm still excited to see how Lena's story ends. What makes me love this book even more was the fact that I was able to meet Lauren Oliver and hear about her journey in making this book well before I actually picked the book up. Now I have a beautiful signed copy sitting on my bookshelf, and the most awkward picture with an author that I've ever taken. 

7. Cress by Marissa Meyer
Marissa Meyer inspires me in so many ways: 1) Her novels started out as NaNoWriMo projects, 2) she adores her fans and responds frequently to my tweets, and 3) her books are absolutely incredible. Cress is the third book in her Lunar Chronicles series, and I feel like I'm always talking about her on my blog. This book follows the story of Cress, which is a futuristic Rapunzel. Instead of being trapped in a tower, she's trapped in a satellite. Brilliance all around. I loved this book so much. 

6. The Program by Suzanne Young
The only reason I heard about this book was because Suzanne Young was at the Austin Teen Book Festival two years ago. I'm kicking myself because I hadn't read her book, so I didn't take the time to meet her, and now I'm really sad about it. The Program was such a quick read for me, and Suzanne is absolutely brilliant and adorable.

5. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
I've pretty much shared my love for this book on all possible avenues. I still can't believe the brilliant ending the author left us with. I really didn't see that coming. 

4. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
Speaking of surprise endings... I follow Jodi Picoult on Twitter, and I see her retweet all of these things that fans have said about Leaving Time, a lot of them being a surprise ending. I went into the book trying to guess what the surprise ending would be, and I still didn't see that one coming. This book also made me unhealthily obsessed with elephants. It's making me want to hop on a plane to Thailand so I can be BFFs with some elephants or just adopt an elephant online because they're brilliant and loving animals, and I need an elephant pal. 

3. The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas
Being a marshmallow, I knew that I was going to like this book, but I didn't think I was going to love it as much as I did. It picked up right where the new Veronica Mars movie left off, and it takes you on another crazy mystery. I loved experiencing Veronica Mars through a book rather than watching it on TV. I love both mediums, obviously, but reading it just brought a little something extra for me. 

2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
The question of the year: Why did I wait so long to read this book!? Rainbow Rowell is such an amazing author (even though I've only read two books by her, I can already tell). I loved this book to pieces, and I really just wanted to jump in the book and be Cath's best friend (and also strangle her sister in some parts, but that's beside the point). 

1. The Selection by Kiera Cass
I still can't get over how amazing this entire series is. Like I mentioned before, usually when I read a trilogy, the second one just tapers off for me. With this series, the second book was my least favorite book, but I still loveloveloved it. The first book in the series was my absolute favorite, and I really just want them to make this into a movie or a TV series or something just so I can see all the pretty dresses and watch (*spoiler alert*) America and Maxon fall in love.

Honorable Mentions
These books weren't in my top 10, but they still all got 5 stars from me, and I loved them.
11. The 100 by Kass Morgan
12. Panic by Lauren Oliver
13. Uninvited by Sophie Jordan
14. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

What were your favorite books that you read this year?

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

read more " My 10 Top Reads of 2014. "

10 Movies to Stream on Netflix this Christmas.

Happy Christmas Eve! I've said it once, I'll say it a million times - Christmas is my favorite time of year. While my family in Louisiana isn't really big into Christmas (weirdos!), my family in South Carolina used to do it big during this time of year. We did Secret Santa every year, we decorated multiple trees together, we sang Christmas songs together. One of my favorite Christmas traditions is when we used to open up all of our presents at midnight on Christmas. Of course, this was after we found out that Santa wasn't real

Now that Jon and I are living together, I'm excited to create some new Christmas traditions, including watching Christmas movies! Jon hates Christmas movies, but I'm trying hard to convert him. 

If you're looking for a few holiday movies to watch this Christmas, these are some awesome (and some are bit cheesy) Christmas movies that you can stream on Netflix today and tomorrow (or even when it's not Christmas anymore). 

Love Actually
With an amazing cast of Hugh Grant (Bridget Jones's Diary, About a Boy), Colin Firth (What a Girl Wants, Bridget Jones's Diary), Alan Rickman (Harry Potter), Kiera Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean, Pride and Prejudice) and many, many more, Love Actually is the perfect holiday movie to watch with everyone. It follows eight different interrelated love stories, set in London.

While You Were Sleeping
Starring Sandra Bullock (Miss Congeniality, The Blind Side), Bill Pullman (Independence Day), and Peter Gallagher (The O.C.),While You Were Sleeping is about a woman named Lucy (Bullock), a token collector who saves the life of a man named Peter (Gallagher). Peter ends up unconscious in the hospital, and Lucy introduces herself to his family as his fiancee. While getting to know Peter's family, she starts falling for his brother, Jack (Pullman). 

I'll Be Home for Christmas
Starring Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Home Improvement) and Jessica Biel (7th Heaven, The Illusionist), this movie is about a college student named Jake (Thomas) who is trying to make it home for Christmas with his family, but only after being bribed by his father. 

Christmas with the Kranks
Starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis, Christmas with the Kranks is about a couple who decides to skip Christmas and go on a cruise after their only daughter leaves for the holidays to join the Peace Corps. When their daughter decides to make a last minute trip home, the Kranks have to do everything they can to make sure they uphold the level of Christmas celebration that their daughter expects. 

Christmas Cupid
Starring Christina Milian (Bring It On: Fight to the Finish, Love Don't Cost a Thing), Ashley Benson (Pretty Little Liars) and Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill, A Cinderella Story), this movie is about a a public relations guru named Sloane (Milan) whose famous client, Caitlin Quinn (Benson), dies. Caitlin comes to visit Sloane by ushering in the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, and they all come in the form of Sloane's former boyfriends. 

12 Dates of Christmas
Starring Amy Smart (The Butterfly Effect, Just Friends) and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved by the Bell), 12 Dates of Christmas is about a girl named Kate who relives Christmas Eve twelve times before she finally gets it right.

A Christmas Kiss
Starring Elisabeth Rohm (Heroes), Laura Breckenridge (Loving Annabelle, Hit and Run), and Brendan Fehr (Roswell), this movie is about a struggling designer named Wendy (Breckenridge) who spontaneously kisses a stranger (Fehr) in the elevator. The next day, she finds out that this stranger is the boyfriend of her demanding boss (Rohm). 

Desperately Seeking Santa
Starring Laura Vandervoort (This Means War, Smallville) and Nick Zano (What I Like About You, The Final Destination), Desperately Seeking Santa is about a woman named Jennifer (Vandervoort) whose only goal this Christmas is to increase hotel sales so she can finally get a promotion to corporate. Her quick money-making plan is to hold a contest for the sexiest Santa Clause, and when David (Zano), wins, the two start to fall for each other.

Holiday Engagement
Starring Bonnie Somerville (The Ugly Truth, The Best and the Brightest), Shelley Long (The Brady Bunch), and Jordan Bridges (Rizzoli & Isles) with Haylie Duff (7th Heaven, Material Girls), Holiday Engagement is about a woman named Hillary (Somerville) whose fiancee just broke up with her. Instead of telling her family about the break-up, she hires David (Bridges) to pose as her fiancee during the holidays. 

Radio City Christmas Spectacular
For anyone who has a love for singing, dancing, and New York City, you will love seeing the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes at the Radio City Music Hall. 

What's your favorite Christmas movie?

read more " 10 Movies to Stream on Netflix this Christmas. "

Sponsor Spotlight: Meet Melissa from LABELTWENTYNINE.

Hi Endless Bliss readers! I am Melissa, a lifestyle blogger over at LABELTWENTYNINE. My blog focuses on connecting with and inspire twenty-somethings transitioning from college to career. I try to balance between talking about the serious stuff (work, life, saving money) and the fun stuff (fashion, beauty, and travel). 

Get your feet wet with these awesome posts!
whimsical, chatty, and imaginative 

What inspired you to start blogging?
I really love to write. In fact, writing has always been my favorite thing. I considered blogging in the past but could never really commit to it. After all, I am the queen of procrastination. But, after moving to South Korea and starting my first few years of "real life" I decided to start pursuing my real interests, not hiding from them. So, here I am!  

What's your favorite part about blogging?
For me, blogging is a really freeing experience. I can talk about what I am interested in and share my knowledge or experiences with others. if I am lucky, I can inspire people who face problems that I've dealt with before. If I am super lucky, I can even cheer someone up. 

What are three things you want to accomplish in 2015?
Blogging-wise, I want to (1) continue writing (2) make more blogging friends, and (3) start doing giveaways. Life-wise, I want to (1) become more organized (2) figure out what I REALLY want to do, and (3) prepare for my wedding. 

What song are you currently obsessed with?
"Lost Stars" by Adam Levine. I'm really into ballads and sappy songs these days. Plus, the lyrics are really beautiful. 

What's your favorite book?
This is hard. I think my all time favorite is "Love in the Time of Cholera" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I am a sucker for super gooey romantic books. 

I see you like to travel a lot. What's your favorite place that you've been to?
Another super hard question. I think my favorite place so far has been Jeju Island. I was only able to visit for a few days when I went but I was able to experience mountains, oceans, interesting people, and delicious foods. It really showed me how beautiful nature is and helped me escape from the crazy city life. 

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would love to travel to the Maldives. Have you seen the beaches there? It would be heaven on Earth.

If you could live a day in the life of anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
Anna Wintour. While she may not be the most pleasant to be around, according to some, I really admire her drive and motivation to be the best of the best. Plus, her sense of fashion is really A plus for me. 

Name 5 things that make you happy. 
1. Cats
2. My parents 
3. My fiancee 
4. Sleeping In 
5. Sweets 

For more from Melissa, check her out via the following:

read more " Sponsor Spotlight: Meet Melissa from LABELTWENTYNINE. "

Christmas Cheer.

This weekend was full of so many Christmas-y things, and I loved it! Christmas is my favorite time of year because everyone is in a wonderful and giving mood and also, I usually get to reunite with people that I haven't seen in awhile. I got to do a lot of that this weekend, and it was just nonstop happiness. 

The Christmas celebration started on Friday at work with this ugly Christmas sweater, even though it's not really that ugly. It's just an oversized sweatshirt that I usually wear to bed and I pinned some ornaments on it that I didn't put on the tree. Of course I had to pair it with some green jeans and sparkly red shoes. Go big or go home #amiright? 
After work, we had the sales team Christmas party. The six of us exchanged gifts for Secret Santa, and my Secret Santa did an amazing job! She got me a gift card to Wing Stop (one of my favorite places to eat for lunch) and to 2nd and Charles (my absolute favorite store because it has all of my favorite things housed under one roof). She also bought me Harry Potter stuff galore! I was so excited when I opened each thing. Harry Potter bracelets, a Harry Potter decal for my toilet (This Way to the Ministry of Magic!), and she even made me chocolate frogs (Jon and I already ate a few, and they're pretty delicious). I'm so in love with all of my goodies.

After the sales Christmas party, I went to Strange Brew to meet up with a few of my college friends that I haven't seen for way too long. It was so lovely to reunite and catch up over drinks.

On Saturday, I went to the most adorable (and strangest) Christmas play I've ever attended called Jingle Arrgh the Way (no, I didn't make that title up) with Jon, my college friends, Tyler and Analeigh, and Analeigh's boyfriend, William. We also ate at Strawn's, which was so delicious. I could live off of their pie. No kidding.

Told you I didn't make it up

My boyfriend is a cutie!

That adorable little girl is Tyler and Analeigh's cousin, and she was part of the pirate ensemble. Presh.

Unintentionally matching coats

I ended the weekend with the company Christmas party. Jon was my very handsome date. Our amazing chef prepared a delicious dinner, and there were door prizes, but unfortunately, I wasn't a lucky winner. I still had fun with my co-workers though. 

After the party, we stopped by my parents' house, and they gave Jon his Christmas present since he'll be spending Christmas down south with his family this year. He got a ratchet set and a pair of pajama bottoms, and he was super excited about it. 

What are your plans for Christmas this year? 

read more " Christmas Cheer. "

Gift Guide for Bookworms.

I love books. When people ask me what I would bring with me on a deserted island, books is always one of the answers. And yes, I keep it plural, because sometimes I don't follow the rules. I'd like to say I never follow the rules, but let's not get crazy. 

The wonderful thing about being a book lover is that there are millions of other book lovers in the world, meaning that tons of geniuses are creating tons of things that everyone in the worldwide book lovers club can enjoy. If you're looking for a last minute gift for the book lovers in your life, then I have the perfect gift guide for you!

MUGGLE SHIRT: We've all seen the "Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal" sweaters, but this one is so much better.

BOOK CANDLE: What's better than the smell of a new book? Probably a lot of things, but that's not the point.

PERSONAL LIBRARY KIT: Being a book lover means that you have a lot of books. If you're nerdy like me, a library kit to personalize and claim all of your books would be pretty amazing.

READING JOURNAL: It's like the old school Goodreads.

BOOK LAPTOP CASE: A laptop case disguised as a book? What more could you want? Besides everything on this amazing gift guide.

SNITCH BRACELET: Harry Potter themed jewelry is always in style.

THUMB BOOK HOLDER: Anything that makes reading just a tad bit easier is pretty much ideal.

BOOK HOLDER: Why waste your time with a bookmark, when you can just have this handy book holder by your bedside table?

BOOK CLUTCH: Because nothing make a fashion statement quite like a book.

NOVEL TEAS: With these book-themed teas, you can have your books and drink them too

BOOK SHIRT: I mean, this is pretty self-explanatory.

Are you a fellow bookworm? What's on your Christmas list this year?

read more " Gift Guide for Bookworms. "

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham (Book Review).

With so many people talking about this book, I knew that I would have to get my hands on it sooner or later. While I have never watched an episode of Girls, Lena Dunham's reputation of being hilarious precedes her, so I was excited to see some of that hilarity transferred into book form.
I should really preface this whole review with this: I really wanted to like this book. I really did. I love reading celebrity memoirs, and I had never met a celeb memoir that I didn't like...until this one. I think I just expected so much more with all of the hype surrounding the book. I saw so many people instagramming how they were reading it. I suppose I could have read some of the Goodreads reviews beforehand, but I digress. I did not enjoy this book, and I'm really sad about it. 

When I read a book like this, I expect to get something out of it. Usually there's a common mix between telling his/her life story and giving sound advice to the readers. In Lea Michele's book, Brunette Ambition, we learn about her rise to fame, but we also learn about staying healthy, the importance of good friends, and even beauty tips. In Mindy Kaling's book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), we learn about her awkward and hilarious upbringing, but she also gives great advice and makes you feel like her best friend. In Amy Poehler's book, Yes Please, Amy discusses her journey to SNL, Parks and Recreation, and various other projects she's known for, but she also talks about the challenges of being a girl and many parts of her book are so quotable. 

What did I get out of reading Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned?" 

Short answer: Nothing.

Long answer: Throughout this book, I felt like Lena just wanted a place where she could rant about things that the people in her life were either tired of hearing about or didn't care to hear about. I realize that the book is called Not That Kind of Girl, but I never figured out what kind of girl Lena isn't.
In the first section, 'Love and Sex,' Lena starts out by saying how she always felt she was pretty plain-looking and the boys never asked her out or wanted to date her, but then the rest of the section is about her sexcapades and the dirty details about every "relationship" she's had. I must admit, in some parts, I did feel sorry for her, such as when she had an AIM boyfriend. The way she described it almost made it seem like the guy didn't actually exist. It was kind of just left up in the air. I thought this section would have been much better if she told it from a humorous standpoint, but the entire section almost makes it seem like she's victimizing herself. I wanted to jump into the book and shake some sense into her, especially when she just kept repeating the same patterns of going after men who either only wanted her for sex or treated her poorly. 

I won't even go into detail about the whole Barry and supposed rape situation. I had no idea that there was already drama going down with a guy named Barry who she could have been describing in the book, but maybe not because some of the names were changed. I can understand her need to tell the story, but if she wanted to tell it, she could have clarified whether or not the name was changed in the book. The way the situation is being handled almost makes it seem like she's just trying to save face. 

In the "Body" section of the book, I almost fell asleep while listening to the audio book. She shares entries from her diet journal that she had years ago, and it's literally her listing things that she ate each day and her guestimating how many calories she consumed with each food. If I was reading the actual copy of this book, I would have skipped over this part. For me, it didn't really add anything to the book. 

With all that being said, there were some good parts of the book. I love how she exuded confidence during the later years of her life. I felt like her parents were great models as far as confidence goes. Lena is the kind of person who is comfortable enough with her body that she's willing to be naked and not have a second thought. That's a confidence I can guarantee that I will never have. 

My favorite quote of the whole book is "When someone shows you how little you mean to them and you keep coming back for more, before you know it, you start to mean less to yourself." I think that's a quote that so many people need to hear. We need to start telling ourselves that we're important and that we mean something. If we don't think we're worth anything then why should anybody else? Again, the confidence that Lena displays in some parts of the book (the later years, definitely nothing in the beginning) is something to be envied.

I also loved Lena's explanation of girl crushes. She said, "I never wanted to be with women as much as I wanted to be them." That pretty much explains what a girl crush is to me. When I think of my girl crushes, I think about the way they carry themselves and live their lives. I've never wanted to be in a relationship with them, but I have wanted to be them or be their friend. 

I give this book a 3 out of 5. It's not something I would recommend to friends or something I would rush to the store to buy and put on my shelf. I'm so disappointed that I didn't end up liking this book. It definitely wasn't my cup of tea.

For more from Lena, you can check her out on Twitter or on her official website

Image source: 1
read more " Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham (Book Review). "

8 Free Travel Apps You Can't Leave the Country Without.

When I'm traveling, my iPhone is one of my favorite companions. It's amazing how you can have all of the information you need right at your fingertips. These are some of my favorite travel apps to have when I'm going international. 

This app is like Google Maps, but better. You can download the app for free or pay $2.99 for the paid version which has more maps available. Within the app, you can download maps of the cities that you're traveling to. Once you've downloaded the map, it's on your phone, and you don't need to use WiFi to access it anymore. You can search for places by name or use the map to see what major sites, restaurants, etc. are nearby. Once you choose where you want to go, it has an arrow that you can follow that will point you in the right direction of where you need to go. I used this app when I was in London, and it led me straight to the Sherlock Holmes Pub. It's pretty handy.

Download City Maps 2Go from iOSAndroid

I think most people are pretty familiar with this app. It's perfect when you're going out of town because it allows you to send texts to your friends who also have the app. You can send texts for free as long as you're connected to WiFi. 

Download WhatsApp from iOS, Android

Nothing is more frustrating than shopping or going out to eat in a foreign country and not knowing how much you're actually paying for it in USD. This app is simple to use and you can convert to every currency imaginable. 

Download Free Currency Converter from iOS; comparable app on Android

WordLens is perfect if you're going to a country whose primary language isn't English. You can hold the phone up to a sign, menu, etc. that's in a different language, and it will translate the words for you. It's not perfect, and there are some kinks to work out, but it's really useful when it does work correctly. 

Download WordLens from iOS, Android

Translate Pro is one of the few apps I've been able to find that doesn't require data to work. If you're looking for a very specific phrase, then you may be out of luck, but if you're looking for regularly used phrases, then Translate Pro is pretty much perfect. They have translations available in several different languages, and all of the translations are categorized with categories ranging from basic 'meeting people,' 'bargaining,' 'accommodations,' 'in the restaurant,' and 'dates' to more specialized categories like 'allergies,' 'emergency,' 'clothing,' 'sports,' 'books,' and so much more. The app gives you the option to either read the phrase or hear it, and with languages like Chinese and Japanese, you may not be able to read it, so hearing it is pretty helpful. 

If you do happen to have access to WiFi, they also have a special feature where you can type in a phrase and read or hear the translation. Unfortunately, not all languages are available offline, but for popular languages like French, Spanish, German, Italian, and many others, this is the perfect translation app if you don't want to use any data. 

Download Translate Professional from iOS; comparable app on Android

This is the ultimate travel app when you're traveling in a place that you've never been to. You simply open the app, and if you're looking for a restaurant, bar, ATM, etc., you can see what's around you. Simple as that. 

Download Around Me from iOS, Android

In today's society, so many people are reliant on technology and connections to the rest of the world, so when we're in a foreign country, you want to know that you'll have easy access to WiFi. This app is perfect if you want to stay connected to the people you left behind while you went on your adventure. 

Download WiFi Finder from iOS, Android

This is a relatively new app, so there aren't reviews for all bathrooms in all areas, but basically, with Sit or Squat, you can look at reviews that other people have left about restrooms in the area. If it's a relatively clean bathroom, people can rate the restroom as a "Sit," but if the bathroom isn't so great, they can rank it as a "Squat." This is perfect if you're looking for a place to do your business, and you want to have a relatively decent experience. 
Download Sit Or Squat from iOS, Android

What are your favorite travel apps? 

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