Category Archives: Travel


land of nod

Ever try to walk out the door with an arm full of stuff to put in the car? Like library books to return, a tote for work, your gym bag, lunchbox, mail for the post office, etc? How do you get out the door with all your stuff or better yet, remember to even take what you need with you?

Well, even I surprise myself sometimes with my ideas and this one goes on top of “My All Time Greatest Moments!“  I created an Out-the-Door-Box a few years back.  Here’s how it works:


Using any container, place it by the door you most often use to come into and out of the house.  This container is meant to come in and out with you, so make sure you can carry it easily and it fits in the front seat of your car. Personally, I use a Thirty-One tote like this one.

Every time you think of something you need to take with you in the car, put it in the container.  It’s that simple.

So, say you are shampooing your hair and remember that Suzy asked to borrow your slow cooker.  As soon as you get to the kitchen, put the slow cooker in the Out-the-Door-Box. Need to take pants to the dry cleaner? Put them in the Out-the-Door-Box.  Add snacks to it, coupons you’ll need for the day, etc. Get the idea?

Then, when you are actually leaving the house, grab the whole box and place it in the front seat next to you. It’s magical, really.  You will have all those things with you that you needed.

When you return home, take the empty box back into the house to its designated spot, where it waits to be filled up again.

The out-the-door-box is such a simple solution to corralling all that daily stuff of life and will help you to corral all the little things that are coming in and out of the house everyday. It’s not a bad idea to an out-the-door box for each person of the family!


Bento Box by Rubbermaid

Bento Box by Rubbermaid

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Creating a Mobile Office

mobile-officeMore and more people are working from home and working remotely which means they need a mobile office! Creating a mobile office is a good idea for everyone who does any traveling for work or visits customers and clients around town.  There are two types of mobile offices: 1)a mobile file system and 2)a true office work surface in your car.

To start, ask yourself what you will be doing in the car with your mobile office? What things do you need? How will you use it? Will the mobile office stay in the car or will you take it in an out of places with you?  Set up your mobile office the same way you would a real office-create files, label them, and stock it with all the tools you need to do your work.

Once you can answer those questions you will have a better idea of what type of mobile office organizer you need.  There are bunch out there, but I have a favorite mobile file system from Office Max and it’s only $14.99!  Holds all you need.

office max file

If you truly need to work in the car, Jouridock has the coolest docking station that stays in your car. Check it out!

Mobile-Office-for-a-vehicle-with-Kindle-Fire-and-iPhone (1)

JourniDock is a mobile car office fully equipped for the modern day. Today, with so much of our information stored on our devices or in the cloud, we don’t need to lug around a ton of files. We need a compact mobile workstation where we can take notes and have access to information.

Below is the list of all the things you might want to include in your mobile office-

  • Contracts & other legal paperwork

  • Reference Material

  • Handouts, promo kits, client folders

  • Letterhead and envelopes, thank you notes, postcards, and notecards, post-it notes

  • Stamps

  • Business cards

  • Markers, pens, pencils, paperclips, binder clips, rubberbands, stapels, scissors, tape, stapler

  • Chargers, USB cables, flash drive, CD’s, DVD’s

The mobile office is great even if you aren’t in business because you can set it up to include coupon files, reading material, a file for each family member with important papers, a pencil pouch with stamps, address labels, notecards, pens, pencils, and scissors.  And also a kid friendly kit with crayons, markers, color books, drawing paper, and travel games!

My all time favorite tote is the Organizing Utility tote one from Thirty One Gifts and it makes a fantastic mobile office for the whole family!  I have two of them!

I would love to see your mobile office,if you have one, and how you set it up!  Be sure to share in the comments!

Happy Organizing!




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Wordless Wednesday~Vacation Edition

It’s the last Wordless Wednesday of summer and because I didn’t do very much organizing last week, but instead went on vacation, I thought I’d share the last week or so with you on this Vacation Edition.

One unexpected highlight was that my son, Riley,  got baptized in the ocean along with 60 other folks from our church.  So amazing to witness!

We have some really great friends all across the country because of my husband and myself having been in the Navy.  We have had the chance to see two of those families this summer and all these kids have know each other since they were toddlers! It’s amazing to see them grow up.

Here’s to you and the end of summer!  May you squeeze every bit of it out and enjoy the sunshine!

Girls growing up together!

Girls growing up together!

Riley getting dunked in ocean for baptism!

Riley getting dunked in ocean for baptism!


These 4 are like siblings!

These 4 are like siblings!

me doing a little recreation

me doing a little recreation

sailing with Dave

sailing with Dave

And last but not least,  nothing says summer like being on the water…

boat aft

 May your summer end fantastically!



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5 Tips for Organized Travel: Video

1. Make a list-

Make a list for each child, yourself, and anyone else you are packing for

Think of each situation you might be in on the trip and write down items needed for that.


Workout gear

phone chargers

Try using an app that stores lists and more.  Packing Pro is my personal favorite.

2.  Use a folder for documents-

Label a manilla folder or pocket folder for documents.  This is your travel folder now.

Keep boarding passes, itineraries, hotel information, car rental information and so on.  Staple any business cards to the inside of the folder.

3.  Use resealable bags-

Use these bags for kids outfits, small items, accessories, liquids, etc.

Bring extra ones for wet items.

4. Start packing early-

Get your suitcase out about a week ahead of time.  Slowly add things that you want to take.  Just toss them in the suitcase-you will organize and pack it later.

Do the same for kids and teach them this trick.

5. Day before travel-

Make sure the following things get done a day or two before you travel:

Empty dishwasher and washing machine

Unplug small appliances

Print boarding passes and other documents

Get cash and gas up car if driving

Toss out or give away perishable foods that will go bad while you’re gone

Pack carryon including snacks, chargers, magazines/book, games, etc.

Organize and pack suitcase.  Weigh it if you can to make sure you stay under the 50 pound weight limit.



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One Thing I Can’t Live Without {Camelbak Water Bottle}

Ever wondered how you would answer the question: What ONE thing can you not live without?

I’m not talking about family, kids, running water, or air conditioning kind of stuff.   I’m talking lip gloss, Uggs, mascara, coffee, and iPhone kind of stuff.

All of the above are things I don’t want to live without, but the one thing I cannot live without is my Camelbak water bottle.  It’s of my version of a grown up baby bottle.

Since discovering the Camelbak 5 years ago, I can honestly say that I don’t ever, ever, ever go anywhere without it.  And it’s always filled with water.  People in my life joke about it but the truth is, it might be an addiction.

What’s so great about it and why could I not live without it?

1.  It doesn’t spill

2.  It has that clever hook on the lid that I use on my luggage and gym backpack

3.  I don’t have to tilt the bottle to drink out of it.

4.  I don’t have to unscrew a lid to drink.

5.  I love having to bite the spout to drink.  That’s probably weird and TMI.

Check out how Camelbak is bringing fresh water to people with

Can I just admit though, that the other things I really can’t live without are Chapstick (preferably lip gloss) and masacra.  Mascara because I have the teenist tiniest eyelashes ever and lipgloss because, well, every girl needs some.

Chime in and let me know what one thing you can’t live without!

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Live Better Friday: The PAK {video}

The PAK Personal Accessories Kit from The PAK Store.  This is the Micro version.  They also have the Original and Mini.  Just so cute!

Here’s what they have to say about the Micro…

The Micro, about the size of a woman’s palm, fits in most clutches, jacket pockets and very small spaces and also features strong magnetic snaps which will ensure your essentials stay tightly closed in the PAK. It is extremely lightweight and portable on its own as well with a removable wristlet strap.

And check out how they came up with this concept.  Totally cool, girls.

PAK (personal accessories kit) is a lightweight, compact + organized kit

containing all the personal care items needed to keep active women prepared and organized on-the-go. The PAK is available in 3 convenient sizes to suit any lifestyle. Each PAK boasts the following features and benefits:

fully loaded

Each PAK comes fully loaded with a variation of personal care items from the five most common categories: Personal Care, Fashion Emergencies, First Aid, Dental Care, Nail Care.

jumble proof

The PAK’s patent pending, compartmentalized design secures content in place so the kit cannot become a disorganized mess.

get organized + be prepared

PAK’s on-the-go essentials replace most of the loose items jumbled in the bottom of a woman’s purse with a lightweight kit about the size of a woman’s hand that is designed to fit in any size of purse, the car glove compartment or a desk drawer.


Each PAK includes a removable strap making it possible to carry the PAK on its own as a compact clutch. This option is great for travel, shopping, sporting events, hiking, festivals or any occasion when you want to travel light and still be prepared.



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Live Better Friday: 3 Tips for Any Emergency


Hurricane Ivan

Lots of folks on the East coast are wondering if Sandy will be just another bad storm or a true hurricane, but whatever she is, it makes you stop to really think about what you would take if you had to evacuate.

I’ve done several posts and TV segments for The Hampton Roads Show about emergency preparedness and evacuating and you can find those here, but for this Live Better Friday, I’m giving you 3 basic tips for organizing that will help you in any emergency.

1.  Have a fire safe and water proof box with your most important documents in it.  Click here to view the post on that topic.

2.  Aside from getting some bottled water and batteries, be sure to have things like a manual can opener and a land line phone.  If power goes out, you can’t charge your cell phone or use your computer!

3.  Have your evacuate bag ready before the storm starts.  Chances are you won’t ever need to evacuate, but get prepared.  Make sure everyone in your family has their dash-and-go bag ready!

Of these 3 tips, I implore you to get a fire & water proof box!  I cannot tell you how many times I have worked with families who can’t even locate their insurance policy, passports, or birth certificates.  Don’t let disorganization add stress to an already stressful situation!

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Live Better Friday:Taking Time Off

It’s been a busy summer for us.  Trips and visitors and camps completely filled up our weeks and I feel tired. Then some very precious friends arrived and it was a homecoming of sorts and I took the week off.  Like for real time off.

Now I feel full and rested and ready to work again.

I feel creative and the heaviness of expectation is gone.

So, today’s Live Better Friday is about rest.  True rest.  No plans.  No projects.  No schedule.  No expectations.  And limited technology.  Just rest and connecting with the people in your life.

Virginia Beach, North End

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How Do I Make Real Life Like Vacation Life?

Cascade Mountains~a day hike on our vacation



As I travel home from Seattle and glance at my schedule coming up, I feel that familiar rise of pressure.  The pressure of the commitments, the looming end of summer, the let down of a great vacation being over, and the lingering question of “do I have enough margin in my schedule?”

I am asking myself this question a lot because I am really good at being busy.  I like busy and I like accomplishing, but I run the risk of allowing busyness to encroach on my margins.  Margins of time give me peace and I have to be so very intentional to make sure that I have margin.  For me.  For my family.  For my marriage.  For my health.

I want to remember what I like so much about vacation: lots of margin and lots of relationship time.

I am wondering how to make my real life more like my vacation life.  What about you?

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Live On Location From PNW. Happy 4th.

Happy Independence Day from the PNW (er, that’s Pacific Northwest for ya’ll).  We arrived yesterday and are freezing our hiney’s off, but we brought the sunshine with us and it’s supposed to be beautiful all week.

You’re welcome PNW’s.

Today’s agenda is to hike a Cascade Mountain trail to see the Big Four Ice Caves.  Washington Trails Associations says it’s a “must see”, so off we go!

I’m acutely aware today of the price of freedom that I enjoy as an American.  Some of our dearest friends are deployed right now on ships across the world-they are missing their families and a day off to grill and lounge and have a party.  Keep ‘em all in your prayers today as you enjoy the beautiful country of ours!

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