Friday, September 23, 2011

Packing Fashion Show

I have seen a lot of blogs that write about travel that have posts about what/how to pack including lists and pictures. Only tonight, though, did I realize I actually have something unique to add to the conversation. Basically, I determined only this evening that the process I go through to pack is probably not the way other people do it and it's entirely a ritual/fun past time for me.

It starts with a good, old fashioned list. The number of casual, dressy, workout outfits is determined. I make sure to actually write out basics like socks and underwear just to make sure I cross them off when they are legitimately in the suitcase, lest I forget something essential like bras. I also list out all the toiletries one by one so nothing is forgotten. Of course, the list also includes the entertainment section with notes about ipods and cameras and corresponding chargers. This list is typically drawn up days in advance during some downtime.

Packing doesn't really begin until the night before, to be honest. The week leading up to a trip includes more laundry than usual and some strategic work outfit choices so I don't sully anything I want to bring but might not have time to wash again. I find it hard to pack well in advance because I need all my toiletries each day. Even when I pack them the night before, I keep them all contained in beach bag/tote bag so I can access them in the morning before departing.

So here comes the fun part: the fashion show. I like to know I am going to be comfortable on my trip and that the outfits I put together will be appropriate for the climate and activities I am heading off to enjoy. Unlike a friend who brought a skirt to Spain only to try it on there and find it no longer fit, I don't want to bring items I am not going to use. Also, I don't want to pack an outfit that ends up making me self concious. Sooooo, I pull all potential items out of the clean laundry bin or closet. i lay them out in piles: tops, bottoms, pjs, dresses, etc. Hanging items get to stay on the hanger but rest on a dresser knob or closet door so they are more visible. Then I start trying combos on. If something is too __________________ (fill in the blank with the word of your choice), it get's vetoed. It's like elimination rounds. The final contenders have to be paired up into actual outfits and I bring enough for the number of days I will be gone plus one or two, just in case. I make sure I have a couple outfits that are specifically for night events and there's a separate set of outfits for multiple days of workouts. Undergarments are chosen based on what wins a spot in the suitcase. When it comes to footwear, I try to get the most bang for my buck and choose multiple outfits that can be worn with the same few pairs of shoes. Tonights winners in the shoe category: one pair of heels for night time, one pair of sneakers for workouts, and two pairs of flip flops: black and brown. I'm debating bringing my mesh Merrell things, too but I'm not comitted to it yet.

This process has served me well. My selections end up having more variety, greater comfort and are overall more user friendly than if I had just tossed items together. Are pre-vacation fashion shows abnormal? I'm guessing not everyone handles packing this way.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Creeper in the Bathroom

So there's this guy who works in my office building (which only has three floors and houses only a few companies) who always uses our bathroom and I think it should be stopped.
My organization takes up two suites = the whole top floor. This guy works on the basement floor. Point being he has to walk up 4 flights of stairs to get to our bathroom. Oh, and those four flights are in a structure that is topped with glass that acts much like a greenhouse, creating intense and often uncomfortable temperatures the higher you climb. For further illustration, he has a bathroom (technically two) on his floor and the same options on the floor in between us. For purposes of gender identity inclusion, we don't have a "men's room" and a "ladies room" but rather two restrooms that anyone could use. One of them, "the suite", is a one person stall and you can lock the door and have the space all to yourself. Which one do you think he comes up and invades? You guessed it. He hikes up four flights of stairs in the grueling heat past two other sets of bathrooms to muck up the one place no one will knock on the door and disrupt you.
A firm believer in citizen justice leagues (and if you know how I can start one of these, please let me know), I feel it's my duty to confront/shame/stop him from this intolerable practice. It's gotten to the point that if the door to the bathroom suite is shut and I don't know all my coworkers whereabouts, I sometimes hide behind the office door, peeping through a tiny window awaiting a glimpse of the bathroom hog. Usually it ends up being a legitimate coworker who somehow fell off my radar. And this guy is good.....he seems to only physically appear when I have a client with me or am otherwise truly busy with the important work that goes on here to be able to stage my planned bathroom intervention. But I hear rumors of him being around much more often than I see him and just the thought of him in our sacred spaces creeps me out.
Most fascinating to me is his motive. What is going on with this guy that he has to go so far away from his coworkers for his bathroom break? It can't be that he is embarrassed because he shows absolutely no pride in busting onto a floor that is soley occupied by one company and, I might add, IS FILLED SOLELY WITH FEMALE EMPLOYEES. We didn't  need a men's room so we got rid of it and he keeps coming up here and imposing his will!
What's up with this guy? I am now accepting hypotheses.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sassy Side Table

Since the blue paint on the bookcase went over well last week, I thought today I would share what I did with the rest of that blue paint. As mentioned in my last post, the whole point of the blue paint on the bookcase was to add some color to a bland room. A bland room that also needed a side table next to the bed. So I went to Savers, which if you don't have these near you (they are new in my area) is kind of like a Salvation Army store. It's filled with donated, second-hand items at cheap prices. The table above is part of a set of TV tables that was missing one. I was able to score it for $3!!

It started out as black wood.

For $3, I figured I could experiment and if the result was icky, I wasn't really at a loss. So I slapped some of the blue bookcase pant on the legs of the table!

I had purchased some mod podge a while back  that I intended to used on a mini bookcase turned tv stand in the basement but I never got to it. (I still may.....). The plan for the tv stand was applied to the side table. As a person who keeps a journal and saves mementos as part of that history, I have all sorts of pictures, race bibs, you-name-it laying around. I pulled together a medley of these items to personalize the table and put these things on display. The items I chose included the following: A card a magician had signed with my name on one of our cruises, the cd from our wedding that was given out as a favor, a picture of Pat with a snake around his neck from a stop on our honeymoon, a race bib from the triathlon I am most proud of completing, a bunch of quotes and stickers, a letter for our last name, a room key from our honeymoon cruise, a bumper sticker from when I hiked Mt. Washington, a decal from the school I graduated from, and some pretty scraps of magazine clippings of brightly colored comforters I am not going to buy.   


It takes a few coats and looks white and lumpy at first. It is definitely sticky and that's part of the point. However, it did crumple some of the paper items in the process and they had to be removed. It also starts out wet so it created some wrinkles in things I thought would be smooth. I guess that's part of the personal character now!

When it finally dries, it's a glassy, clear coating that seals all the items in place like a lacquer. You can see that the painted legs work really well with the comforter.

A few practical and colorful accessories later and it functions as a real side table!

And there it is, all happily completed! The rest of the clutter is another blog post.....let's just say the pictures are now on the wall, as are the little mystery squares sitting on the pillows. To be continued.....

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Don't want to paint the whole room? How about the bookcase?

So last week I gave an intro to my home so I could start posting about some of the projects I have or want to undertake there and it wouldn't be coming out of left field. Then work got really busy and I forgot to post ANYTHING. Sorry about that! 
This project is one of my favorites because I love the bright color involved. Most of our walls are painted with very neutral, bland colors ala HGTV's "Designed to Sell". The idea is that buyers want to be able to picture themselves in the space you are selling so you want the colors to be kind of ho-hum, nothing striking that really screams "you".
The challenge is that once you move in, you either have to settle into your neutral, adaptable colors or you have to do a lot of painting. I had never painted prior to moving into this home and I fell into the paint can when I painted my bathroom this very lovely shade of yellow. As a result, a lot of our walls have remained blank canvases and I have tried to add color through furniture, art and accessories. 
Inspired by the amazing blog Young House Love and some creative pictures from Pinterest, I decided to infuse some color into our guest room by painting the backdrop of the built in bookcase (which had been painted to match the tan walls-not by me, by the way).

This is the color I chose because it so closely matched the comforter of the bed.

I loved this comforter so much that, even though I was trying to be fiscally responsible and not buy unnecessary bedding, I kept thinking about it and had to run back to the store to make it mine. It's just so cheery!! And I like the pattern a lot, too.

Voila! Here is Picture #1 bland bookcase reinvented with turquoise paint. I love that it's just the backdrop so the color isn't overwhelming; it just pops some goodness out from behind the books.

The bottom line: It was easy and quick and fun. Now, this otherwise dreary space has some excitement and it's one of my favorite features...maybe in the whole house!