Quick Tip Tuesday: Keep Jewelry from Tangling

Packing can be such a pain:  Trying to remember everything you need, and packing everything you need so it doesn't wrinkle, tangle, squish, or leak.

We recently took a trip to California, and although I'd be spending most of my time chasing little kiddos, I still wanted to bring along a couple of sparkling statement necklaces in case we'd go out for a nice dinner or pose for a few family photos.

I love using plastic "Ziploc" style baggies for travel, and this was no exception.  I was only taking two necklaces and two pairs of earrings, so I didn't think I would need to worry about them tangling.

Uh, wrong-o bongo!

I didn't take a picture, but basically as soon as I put the necklaces together in their little baggie I knew I'd live to rue the day I didn't pack them more carefully.

Already starting to tangle, I pulled them out and decided on a new strategy.

Straws, people.  Straws will save your sanity.

I especially like pink straws. ;)

It's unlikely you'll need the entire straw, unless you're packing seriously long necklaces (belly button bling?), so I recommend just cutting it in half.

Any straw will do, but I love these extra wide straws from Ikea.

Simply thread one strand of chain through the straw, then use your link and clasp to close the necklace just like you would when you wear it.

So easy!

The straw keeps the chain from tangling around itself, other necklaces, and any dangling components that might make you want to tear your hair out later when you spend an hour trying to detangle all of your jewelry, thereby making you late for Disneyland's AM opening.  You then have to wait in line for what seems like days just to get through the gate.  You cry because all the Fast Passes to your favorite rides are gone.  The day is ruined.  Everybody stares at you and your sparkling necklace like they might throw you overboard in the middle of Pirates of the Caribbean.  The scoundrels will steal your tangled sparkling booty and make you walk the plank.  Your hair will be ruined, and your necklace will be gone.

All because you were too lazy to find a straw.

I'll wait here while you go find a straw.  Maybe two...



Okay!  Once the straws are on and the clasps are securely, uh, clasping...you can safely place your jewelry in your baggies, totes, or pockets, knowing that they will travel in complete untangled bliss.  Your vacation is saved!


You're all set!  And if you're lucky, you're sporting an adorable Betsey Johnson inspired bag like this one I scored at...wait for it...Michael's!

As in Michael's crafts!

Right? :)


Q:  So do tell!  What are your best packing tips?  Where do you buy awesome straws?  Do you ride Pirates of the Caribbean just to see Johnny Depp?  Be honest.

Perfection and a Bathroom Update

The thing about blogging these days is, it's SO easy to compare yourself to other bloggers and their oh-so-shiny sites.  Social media, with all it's stunning imagery, entices us creatives to visualize their latest holiday craft project, furniture DIY, room makeover, or entire house tour, copy and pasted right into our own homes!

All these fashion, lifestyle, and shelter sites, and their perfectly layered, fluffed, and staged images, can begin to take their toll on our own self image and how we believe we measure up.  Although I don't pretend to live in a manicured model home-esque house (Hello! Three kids, two cats, and a dog!), I do have visions of a immaculately set dining table free of Play-Doh and school papers, dust and wrinkle free window treatments, a fabulously tufted sofa without sticky stains or cat hair, a mudroom and entry with a lovely wool runner and fancy lamps instead of piles of muddy boots and a bag of clothes to return because I was shopping with a baby and three year old and couldn't try anything on...

...I can't be the only one.

And while I LOVE my children, and pets, and hubby, and house, and wouldn't trade them for anything, ever...I do sometimes (ok, nearly every day) have to remind myself that this stage of life is temporary.  That I will not always have chocolate milk and strawberry jam stains over every surface three feet high and lower.  That someday, in the not too distant future, I will miss the pitter patter of those muddy boots.

Travel Tips for Tots

I don't know any parent that doesn't have some hesitation about road tripping with young children.  Be honest, the "are we there yet" and "I have to go potty" and "I'm borrrrred" choruses aren't what we want to listen to while driving through the countryside for fourteen hours (been there, done that!)!

But, I'm here to tell you that it doesn't have to be painful.  In fact, it can be FUN!

I've put together a list of things I did to prepare to take my kids halfway across the country, by myself, with a dog, while seven months pregnant.

Yes, I'm serious.
Yes, I lived to tell the tale!

TIP #1: Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!

I cannot stress enough how a little prep work made this trip a success.  If I had relied on stopping at fast food restaurants and only playing "I Spy", I think I might have gone crazy...and the kids would have come right along with me!

Being prepared with activities, a few surprises, and plenty of snacks made all the difference!

TIP #2: Bring Toys and Car-Friendly Activities

Chloe and Ryker loved playing with their drawing tablets, and it was a "mom" favorite, too!  No mess, no clean-up, no searching for lost crayons.  ;)

The kids both loved playing with colorful pipe cleaners and looking through favorite books.  Chloe also enjoyed spelling words and names with a set of plastic alphabet letters on a dollar store tray.

TIP #3: Plan Surprises Along the Way

Plan something fun at milestones during your travel.  At 222.2 miles I whipped out some new dollar store toys for each of the kids and a small treat.  Bonus if you wrap the gift first.  The kids will love it!

TIP #4: Bring Snacks and Spill-Proof Drinks

I dished out food and snacks (from the collapsible cooler I kept in the front seat) using mini plastic cups.  Goldfish crackers, yogurt covered raisins, and fresh grapes were among their favorites.  Think like a toddler and imagine how you might make a mess with your food.  Clean up not so bad?  Then it's a good snack to bring along on your trip!

Don't forget to bring something to drink.  Even though my daughter is six, I brought a sippee for both her and Ryker that I refilled with juice or water whenever we stopped.  Keeping extra bottles of water and juice in the back is a must!

How to Decorate After the Holidays

Flashy baubles and delicate garlands are carefully stowed away, promises of weekly holiday events and get-togethers have subsided, and endless hours of (fun!) baking projects are no longer at the top of your To-Do list.  The holidays are over.  A new year has begun!

After the excitement of the end-of-year holidays has calmed, and your layers upon layers of seasonal decor has been stored for the following year, the calm of a clean and simplified house can be a welcome respite from the visual chaos of the past few months.  But after the novelty of a minimalist home dwindles, you might be left feeling like you're living in a sterile box.


My favorite way to decorate after the new year is by layering fresh greenery, adding texture with fuzzy blankets and pillows, and keeping things warm and inviting without all the glitz and glitter!  Here's a few ideas to get you started!

Keep Those Greens!

I love fresh (and faux!) greenery all year long.  Ferns, boxwood, pine, magnolia leaves, palms, you name it...all add life and interest to any home, and are easy to come by!  Gently take apart the giant bows and ornaments incorporated into your holiday greenery and display the simplified winter greens in their own.  It's a great way to add life to your home when the weather is cold and bleak.




Stick to Neutrals

As much as I love the warm tones of fall, and the vibrant hues of December holidays, I find that I'm ready for a palette cleanser at the start of the new year!  Simplify your decor by removing excess colors (pillows, throws, holiday decor, tchotchkes, etc.) in favor of a more calming neutral theme.  Your eyes will thank you!

And if you love color, don't worry!  You'll be off and decorating for spring before you know it!