Travel Talk

Planning trips is one of my favorite activities and over the years, I’ve gotten into a pretty solid routine with it. There’s much, much more to it than just booking a flight and calling it a day, so I’m rounding up some tips I’ve picked up along the way.

The most important part of travel planning is giving yourself enough time to do just that: plan. Here’s how I like to think about the planning process:

1 year out. At around this time every year, I like to look ahead to the next year and start plotting where I want to go. As I do so, I take into account the best times of year to visit, as well as what else I have going on at that time. For me personally, I try to go on 2 big trips a year (one every 6 months), and then smaller ones peppered in between.

6 months out. Once I’ve decided where I want to visit in a year, I’ll then make calendar placeholders for myself to make sure I don’t start planning too late in the game. For instance, if I know I want to go to Italy in June, then I’ll set a reminder for myself to begin looking into it in January. Once January rolls around, I’ll start digging into the big ticket items: flights and hotels.

3 months out. At the three month mark, I try to start making an itinerary. I’ve shared specific tips for how to go about crafting an itinerary before, so definitely check out that post for more in-depth advice. In general though, I like to reach out to friends or family who have visited this place before, search blogs and forums for must-see sites, and compile all of this into an organized document. Also at this time, I’ll make restaurant reservations for the popular places that book up very far in advance.

1 month out. With my high level itinerary already mapped out, I’ll set aside some time at the one month mark to review it with a fine-tooth comb. I’ll restructure my itinerary such that it’s arranged by day and further sub-divided into times of day (morning, afternoon, and evening). I’ll also make any restaurant reservations I haven’t already, as well as book tours, museum tickets, and the like. Lastly, if I’m traveling internationally, I’ll also order the necessary currency at this time.

1 week out. The week leading up to the trip typically has the most to-do’s, so I try my best to divide them evenly over the seven days, as too not feel too overwhelmed. At the start of the week, I’ll do a big drug store haul and pick up any items I’ll need for the trip (ie: special medications, travel size bottles, magazines, etc.). In the middle of the week, I’ll focus on cleaning—tending to both my apartment, as well as my laundry. Once my clothes are clean and I’ve done a thorough audit of the weather in my destination, I’ll start packing. Finally, the day before a trip, I like to get my nails and toes done, as well as tend to my house chores.

 

Workweek Scheduling

I’ve written about how I think about my weekend time before, so I thought it would be nice to share the weekday counterpart post.

There’s no denying that weekdays are hectic—between the stress that work can bring and commuting time, it can be challenging to feel motivated to do anything after work. Because I am really not a morning person and therefore have to do everything after work, I’ve had to think long and hard about a system that works well for me and allows me to get everything done without feeling completely wiped out. And while my current system is ever-evolving and improving, it has worked pretty well for me and I’m excited to share it!

Make Mondays count. Mondays are often dreaded—they’re the first day after the weekend and often involve a lot of work stress and catch up. My philosophy on Mondays? Look at them as a fresh start to the week and an opportunity to get organized! I like to try to use Monday to its fullest ability by getting all of my ducks in a row for the week (while listening to some really fun music, of course). For me, that usually looks like setting out my outfits for the week, setting a schedule in my planner, and meal prepping.

Make a checklist. If you couldn’t already tell, I’m a big fan of to-do lists. I just love how they can serve as a brain dump, making it so I don’t have to worry about keeping everything straight in my head. On any given week, I’ll have different chores that need to get done, such as the usual suspects like laundry and grocery shopping, but also some standalone ones like gift shopping for a friend or getting my hair cut. By making a checklist for myself, I can easily see at a glance what needs to get done that week.

Break up the day. Going, going, going at work only to be followed by going, going, going after work is not a good combination. Instead, I personally need something to break up the day, which is where exercise comes into play for me. My gym offers tons of classes everyday but I have three that I really love, so I dedicate those days of the week to exercise classes. Breaking up the week with a physical activity helps me to stay focused, and because all of my classes end in the early evening, I can usually still tend to other to-do’s after they’re over.

Dedicate time on the weekend. When thinking about your workweek, it’s crucial to remember that not everything needs to get done in one day. In fact, not all of it even needs to get done that week. As I’ve written about before, I try to dedicate at least part of Sundays to errands and to-do’s, which makes such a difference on my mental health during the week. I’d highly recommend it!

Tricks of the Trade: Bathroom Organization

My bathroom is, without a doubt, the smallest room in the apartment. Somehow, all three of our walk-in closets are larger than our bathroom. But even with its small size working against us, I’ve manager to pack a whole lot into it without making it feel cluttered or cramped. From a shelving system to hidden storage, keep reading to find out my tips for maximizing storage space in a small bathroom.

The biggest tip I can give is to invest in an over-the-toilet shelving system—I found this one on Target and seriously couldn’t love it any more. With this system in place, here are some more ways to increase storage space:

  • Use vases as storage — I love shopping at flea markets and second-hand stores and often pick up quaint vases when I do. The vases in my bathroom not only serve as decoration, but also double as storage. I put all kinds of things in my vases, from nail clippers and tweezers to floss and travel toothpaste.
  • Place baskets on top of your shelving unit — Without the baskets I’ve placed above our shelf, I would definitely not be able to fit all of my toiletries. The two that we have in our bathroom hold everything from sunscreen and body lotion to cold medicine and advil.
  • Hang a shower caddy — I’m a firm believer that everything in a room should have a spot, which is exactly why I hung two shower caddies over our rack in the shower. I love how this keeps everything up and off the bathtub and into its own designated spot.

Do you have any storage tips for a small bathroom? Let me know in the comments!

Falling for Scarves

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been reaching for a scarf nearly everyday—not only is it pretty chilly out, but I love how they complete an otherwise bland outfit. Typically, my scarves are tucked away in bins just like my purses, but I’ve been craving for a seasonal solution to accommodate my frequent needs.

 

Because I can’t create additional storage in my closet, I had to work with what I already have on this. I recently installed these beautiful hooks in both of my closets and while I was once using them to plan out outfits, I’ve been loving using them as a catch all for scarves at the moment. They make it so easy to hang my favorite scarves and because I have an extra set in my other closet, I can still prep my outfits in advance—win, win!

Tricks of the Trade: Makeup Organization

I’ve always appreciated the magic of makeup, but recently that appreciation has turned more into an obsession. Every night, I find myself watching makeup tutorials on YouTube, which inevitably have product endorsements in them, which inevitably winds up in me ordering said products and growing my makeup collection. Please tell me I’m not alone in this!

Because my collection has grown these past few months, I’ve been experimenting with different organizational techniques and have finally landed on a system that I’m excited to share.

Of course, if my bathroom were much larger, I’d definitely be stocking up on these clear makeup holders to do the job. But alas, I’m working with a few drawers in my second closet, as well as some vanity space. To maximize this limited space, I invested in some really pretty vases to store my brushes, eyebrow gels, and lip pencils. Some days, I’ll only apply some eyebrow gel and hint of lip color, so I love that these two staples are now super easy to reach.

As for the rest of my makeup products, I found these very practical cubes from IKEA that happen to fit perfectly in my vanity drawers. I use two for my makeup: One for My concealers, highlighters, and beauty blenders, and the other for bronzers, blushes, powders, eyeshadows, and foundations. Because they are quite small, I stack most things with the largest item on the bottom and the smallest on top. When I get ready in the morning, I simply empty out the bins and pull my selections for the day.

How do you organize your makeup? Please share in the comments!

Tricks of the Trade: Pantry Makeover

I’m not going to lie, I’ve really struggled with organizing my pantry over the years. Sure, I’ve got a system in place for what goes where, but I’ve had a hard time finding enough space to store all of my snacks and canned goods. While our pantry is very tall, it’s not practical for me to store essentials all the way up at the top, and I’ve been trying to find a solution for a while.

Just the other weekend, I was in the Container Store and stumbled upon acrylic risers. I wasn’t sure if they were going to work for my project, but I figured I’d give them a try and return them if need be. Thankfully, they worked perfectly and have created much-needed additional shelving in my pantry.

As you can see in the above photo, cans can go under the riser while other items, such as farro and quinoa, can live on top. Hooray for extra storage!

Tricks of the Trade: Closet Breakdown

 

Ready for a breakdown? I thought so!

As many of you know, I have two closets in my apartment. Though since my second closet is really like a glamorized coat closet, I thought I would focus on my main closet for the purposes of this blog post. You’ll soon see that this main closet is pretty sizable and through my efficient placement and thorough organization, I’ve only made it feel roomier.

When structuring your closet, you want to focus on practicality. For me, I have two long rods so I knew that I wanted to hang dresses, skirts, dress pants, and blouses on them. Though I knew that I would also need more storage. Cue: a dresser tucked beneath my blouses.

While this may seem like an obvious storage trick to many, that’s not always the case. Many of my clients have simply left the space under the hanging items underutilized, which is a miss in my book. The only exception to this is dresses, because these are often long and flowy so I would not recommend keeping any sort of dresser drawers underneath them. A shoe rack, however, could potentially work in that space.

In addition to my two long racks, I also have shelves in my closet. One level of shelves is very accessible—well, by very I mean I can reach everything so long as I stand on my toes—while another level is far too high to reach. Given this, I placed the items that I need at arm’s length on the first level, such as all of my jeans, shorts, and sweatshirts. Then on the upper level, I have more seasonal items like bathing suits, hats, scarves, as well as extra purses.

So now are you ready to tackle your closet? Once you’ve got the layout mastered, you can move onto color coordination. And lucky for you, I’ve got lots of posts about that very topic.