Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tripping- Part 1

I love to travel, but am not the best at packing. However, once I began to make a list of the things I need, it became much easier and the "oh-no, forgot that" happened less and less.

My packing list is pretty standard, but I leave a column for trip-specific items. For example, when I travel for work, my trip-specific items could be business cards, brochures, etc.

Since my future travel plans include a work trip, I thought I would share a few "tried and true" packing rules:

1. Roll baby roll- If I'm not going for a long period, I'll try to roll my clothes, which provides more room in the suitcase and less wrinkles.

2. Perfume in the shoes- The glass bottles are safer here than anywhere else.

3. Color scheme jives- Usually, I'll stick with a black/brown/white/blue combo. These usually go with each other and I can mix them up to create an interesting look.

4. Toiletries go into a sealable bag- Anyone who has opened their suitcase to find their hairspray (or sunscreen) has spilled all over, has learned this lesson the hard way. A ziplock baggie works well for me. Also, I make sure to take travel sized items. They take up less space, and don't cost a fortune if I need to replace them.

5. Seeing is believing- I lay out my outfits on my bed for each of the days to gauge what else I will need to make the "look" (jewelry, shoes). It helps me not to forget the beautiful necklace and appropriate shoes. Also, it might show me that I don't need 3 blue shirts.

6. Smelling good- Since my suitcase isn't used as often as I would like, when I pack my clothes, I always add a dryer sheet. It reduces any lingering smells and static.

7. Prepare and plan- Make a list and don't attempt to pack at the last minute. It doesn't work.

8. Shoes last but not least- I pack my shoes last. Usually they get shoved into the side compartments.

9. Jewelry goes to never-never-land- My costume jewelry, which is packed in the suitcase, gets put into a baggie, which is then put in an empty maxi pad bag. Yes, I said it. It's odd, but it works extremely well. Most people will not touch it. :)

Must Takes:

Really. These items always travel with me, no matter the location or season.

1. Flip flops- I always take a pair with me. JC Penney's recently had a sale, and I bought 2 pair at once. They are great for sight-seeing and don't take extra room in the suitcase. I prefer ones with no heels and dark footbeds, as they don't show dirt as much. Looking for some? Check out these from Old Navy.

2. A dress is always needed- No matter where I go, I always find the need to wear a dress. Usually I'll pack something classy, like a black sheath. Check out this one from gap, on sale.

3. Jean Jacket- I use this to dress up some capri's or dress down a formal dress. Target has a great one.

4. Camera- No matter if I only take a day trip, or a week long trip overseas, the camera always goes.

5. Extra eyes- Since I wear contacts, I always bring an extra pair. So many times I have been without them and have regretted it.

Happy Traveling! :)


I surrendered..

to the iPhone. That's right. I walked into the AT&T store to look at Blackberry's and walked out with this-

Am I pleased with the phone? Ecstatically!

It is without a doubt, one of the best things I have ever owned. Seriously. (If you do not want an iPhone, or do not want to spend the money, please don't read any further.)

Since I bought the phone, I have added applications like mad. Luckily though, I don't keep all of them, instead, removing it when finding another which works better. However, I do have a few that I use daily.

1. This application keeps my money managed (what little I have).

2. Weather- I check this every morning. The fact that it lets me store other cities is a bonus. In addition to my home city, I also have Dallas, Paris, London, Las Vegas, and Daytona Beach.

3. Craigsphone- I love a good deal, and the iPhone lets me search Craigslist for it. Right now, I'm on the hunt for a tent.

4. USA Today- This is one of the newspapers I check daily on my computer, so I went ahead and added it.

5. AAA discounts- It's my duty to be on the lookout for discounts, and this application helps with this.

Did I forget to mention that the applications mentioned above are all free? Yep, they are.

**I would also recommend that if you already have an iPhone and haven't set it to password protect- DO IT! I have too much on my phone for it to fall into the wrong hands. You can find instructions on how to do this here.

Happy iPhone-ing! :)


A Great (Inexpensive) Find

I found these in my Budget Travel magazine, of all places.

They are made by Okabashi and are endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association. Wowsa. The best part? They come in 4 colors and are only $14.99! Yeah!

They would go great with my brown capris, skirts, and casual shorts. I think they are calling my name!

What's been calling your name lately?


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Analyze This: Clutter

I follow a finance blog in which the couple, and their young daughter are moving to Australia. Instead of taking a lot of household items with them, they are instead donating or selling them.

The blog made me think. While I am not seeking to rid my home of most of it's contents, what if I seriously de-cluttered my home? Would I live through it? Would I regret getting rid of items?

It's time to analyze the what's and why's.

As I wandered around my home tonight, I reviewed each of the items below, including
a. When I received the item,
b. The last time I used it, and
c. Can I live without it?

1. I received this breadmaker from my mom about 6 months ago. I was really excited about receiving it, but I really do not want to make the effort. So, I've never really used it and definitely think I can live without it.
Verdict: Donate

2. This unusual coffee pot was bought at the Salvation Army
last year. I really liked the look of it, and knew it would probably be more for decoration. Currently, it is sitting in my kitchen hutch gathering dust.
Verdict: Donate

3. This plant stand was gathering dust in a family members basement when I offered to take it last year. This sits in my kitchen next to the bay window to allow my plants to get a good amount of sunlight. There is just one problem- I don't have any more plants. I like the unusual look of this stand and want to keep it so that perhaps it can used to hold something else.
Verdict: Keep

4. I really like these coffee and desert plates I "accumulated." I must have 2 sets of 6 and had them when I moved here about 7 years ago. To date, I have only used them once. While they are cute, they aren't very functional. I tried to use them at a shower also, but most of the people searched for my regular coffee cups and paper plates.
Verdict: Donate

5. I can already tell you- these are going to find a new home. Sitting in my cabinet since 2005, I have not used them once. Truthfully, I am not really sure why they haven't been used. Yes, I have had holiday dinners at my home, but we really enjoy the versatility (think laziness) of paper products.
Verdict: Donate

6. I have a set of 4 of these wine glasses which were bought last year. While I like the look of them, I bought stemless wine glasses which are easier to handle and don't get broken in the dishwasher.
Verdict: Donate

7. This was my old printer, bought in 2001, which I have kept around for a "just-in-caser." Luckily, my new printer has been working like a gem, and this guy is no longer needed. If my current one ever goes on the fritz, I'll call my grandpa. He's the wizard of all things computer. I think it's time to say "adios."
Verdict: Donate

Full disclosure time. Are these my only clutter items? Heck no! Not even close. But slowly and surely, I will begin to pare down my items in my home. I'll look at it as if I am giving these items a better life in someone else's home. Cheers.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Why I Love: Vinegar

That's right. I really do love it.

It's versatility and great price makes it a must-have for me. Every time I go to the dollar store, I buy at least one bottle (1 qt./$.75).

What do I do with it? It would be better to ask what do I not do with it!

1. Dishwasher- I place a small coffee cup in the top rack of my empty dishwasher to clean and sanitize.

2. Refrigerator- I mix 3-1 ratio of hot water and vinegar to clean my refrigerator shelves. The kool-aid takes its toll.

3. Cleo's litter box- Weekly, I empty out her litter, and soak the pan in hot water, vinegar, and some baking soda. Voila- fresh toilet.

4. Mosquito bite- I put a little tab on a cotton ball when I've been the buffet for these critters. Additionally, here in the south we have chiggers, which are horrendous! Vinegar helps the itching.

5. Washing machine- I add 1 cup of vinegar to my empty washing machine and run a load (without the clothes).

6. Coffee pot- By adding a .5 cup of vinegar and running through my coffee pot, I get rid of any leftover coffee or tea lingerings.

7. Water bottles- I add .5 cup of vinegar and hot water to a water bottle to remove any smells from previous liquids (juice, tea, etc.).

8. Microwave- I add a coffee cup with a small amount of vinegar and microwave. It loosens the grime on the microwave, and deodorizes.

Have I made you a convert yet? :)


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

French Country & Ballard Designs

As I age, my taste changes. Not only do I now like different foods (cottage cheese) and movies (scary), but also my decoration preferences. For example, country french designs have really turned my head recently.

When I need a fix, or new items, I check out Ballard Designs online. They have scrumptious items. Their bit of whimsy is the perfect blend of pretty and unusual.

For example:
1. These bee napkin rings (sale, 4/$14.99)

2. This Urn Medallion Indoor/Outdoor Rug (in red sale, $14.99)

3. Zadora Cutout Plaques (3/$29.99)

4. Castle Box ($49.99)

Additionally, they have great dining set, should you have the money and the desire to purchase one.

I really like the Chianni Trestle Table, which you can customize by color and chair style.


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Join me in my journey of cooking yummy dishes, re-purposing furniture, and generally living my life.

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