Road Trip Ultimate Planning List – Part 4

We’ve arrived at the final segment in our series about how to pack smartly for a road trip. It is work, but it’s worth it because road trips are a wonderful way to bond with loved ones and your favorite friends. Just remember, start planning early if you can. More planning equals less stress.  Now, let’s get this finished so you can put the pedal to the metal!


  • Camera, video camera, tripod, memory card
  • Free disk space on camera-phone, SD card with additional memory
  • Journal and pens
  • Calling card for meeting friends along the way


  • Wall and car charger for phone
  • Laptop, tablet charger
  • Backup batteries or portable charger if possible
  • Headphones


  • Books and magazines
  • Preloaded Kindle or Ipad


  • Pet sitter if they’re staying behind, leashes, treats, plenty of food and supplies, special instructions
  • Medications, veterinarian’s phone number, phone number of pet emergency room near your destination
  • Food and water, dishes
  • Two leashes in case you lose one
  • Crate or bed
  • Sweater, snow shoes, for furry friends not acclimated to cold weather
  • Shampoo and brush if muddy puddles or skunks are possible
  • Tweezers for boo-boos
  • Shade source for outdoor protection
  • Ground stake for tie down – NEVER leave a pet in a car that is even slightly warm, as glass magnifies heat


  • Gifts for the people you’re going to see, or plan to give to travel companions
  • Binoculars


  • Check the weather – again!
  • Download all content on entertainment devices
  • Download all apps and try out to ensure they work
  • Make sure you have your glasses if needed
  • Call hotel concierge to pre-arrange entertainment plans
  • Exhaust all information sources so your trip is a no-brainer
  • Program air conditioning and heat settings in your home to avoid unnecessary utility bills
  • Double check all locks, windows, doors
  • Note that you closed garage door
  • Turn off coffee pot
  • Load the car the night before to avoid delays and frustration
  • Check oil, top off car fluids, check tire pressure, (do this throughout the trip if you’re going to be on the road for an extended period of time)
  • Set up “auto photo backup” to a cloud drive so you don’t lose all of your photos if you lose your phone
  • Consider micro chipping your pet in case he or she decides to go on a solo adventure

Road Trip Ultimate Planning List – Part 3

Cruising right along, we have arrived at Part 3 of our extensive, yet reasonable, packing list for your upcoming road trip. What do we mean by reasonable? We searched the web to see what kind of lists are out there, and they were so excessive that we even found one that looked like it was printed in a size 9 font just to fit it all on one piece of paper. Being well prepared doesn’t necessarily mean going into crazy land with the minutiae of every imaginable item you might find useful. Let’s be realistic about it and actually complete the list because it makes sense, right?


  • Medications, more than the duration of the trip in case you are detained, refill in the cue in case you lose it
  • Health insurance cards, check requirements for in-network versus out-of-network care
  • Pain relievers
  • Vitamins and supplement
  • First aid kit and band-aids
  • Phone numbers for doctor and dentist
  • Location of nearest emergency room at destination
  • Insect repellent, poison plant treatment
  • Allergic reaction treatments


  • Travel size everything if possible!
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash
  • Toilet paper, plenty of it
  • Tissues
  • Shampoo, conditioner, brush/comb, hair dryer, curling iron
  • Hair styling products and accessories
  • Large mirror so you can avoid relying on the visor mirror for everything
  • Shower gel and scrubby
  • Facial regimen, cleanser, toner, moisturizer, etc
  • Contact lenses and solution
  • Makeup (keep in mid warm weather melting), makeup remover wipes
  • Razor, shaving cream
  • Perfume, cologne (don’t leave in direct heat or high temps)
  • Feminine hygiene
  • Nail clippers and file
  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • Tweezers
  • Towels and wash cloths
  • Robe
  • Slippers, spa/shower shoes
  • Roadside toilet seat covers
  • Lotion, powder

If you haven’t already, make sure to start with Part 1!

Road Trip Ultimate Planning List – Part 2

Welcome to part two of your list. If you haven’t already, make sure to read Part 1 of our road trips series.  Road trips are amazing! It’s a bit of work to get ready for them, but there’s something about zooming through the wind and watching the landscape fly by the widows that does a lot of good for the soul. Here’s what to pack next:


  • Stain remover
  • Dirty laundry bag
  • Detergent if washing on the road, hangers to air dry
  • Lint roller
  • Underwear and undershirts
  • Swimsuit
  • Socks
  • Hosiery
  • Pajamas (according to temps)
  • Heavy coat
  • Light jacket
  • Shoes: sandals, snow boots, flats, sneakers, heels, sport, dress shoes, casual shoes
  • Belts, ties, scarves
  • Jewelry, watches
  • T-shirts, tank tops, casual tops, dressy tops, sweatshirts, hoodies
  • Jeans, casual pants, shorts, dress pants, sweatpants, yoga pants
  • Sportswear
  • Special event garments


  • Sunscreen, sun hats, flip flops
  • Gloves, scarves, long underwear, snow boots
  • Umbrella
  • Raincoat, galoshes


  • Suitcases
  • Totes
  • Purses
  • Clutch
  • Tiny “essentials-only” purse or wallet – cards, cash, keys, phone


  • Paper towels
  • Wet wipes
  • Trash bags
  • Multipurpose spray cleaner or antibacterial wipes


  • Bottled water – fewer bottles, more roadside refills
  • Cooler, ice
  • Bottle opener, wine key, can opener
  • Plastic ware (plates, bowls, utensils, cups)
  • Napkins, baggies, plastic containers
  • Dry goods for snacking
  • Easy meals (sandwiches, pre-steamed rice and veggies, pre-cooked scrambled eggs and bacon, store bought to-go kits like tuna and crackers, etc.)
  • Fruit that doesn’t require cold storage


  • Small pillow and blanket for backseat napping
  • Earplugs
  • Sleep mask

Road Trip Ultimate Planning List – Part 1

Yay! We are quick approaching road trip season. No other form of travel is quite as cleansing and liberating as a road trip. Before you adopt your carefree attitude though, you should take great care to prepare and pack well. There are a lot of example packing lists on the web, but we found that they are almost too extensive. So we’ve compiled what we feel is the ultimate list because it covers the basics without making your brain hurt just by looking at it.

First and foremost, the golden rule is this: Bring less stuff and more money! Then focus on what’s most important and work your way down.

Despite narrowing down our list quite a bit, it turns out there’s still a LOT of stuff to remember so we’ve segmented our list into four parts. This makes it easy for you to tackle the various considerations without feeling overwhelmed. Now, let’s get started. We recommend first reading all four blog posts to give yourself an overview and an opportunity to make notes. Don’t worry, they’re brief and to the point. Then come back to this list one and start checking things off until you’re done with all of it!


  • Itinerary – use a travel app and carry a written copy
  • Tickets to special event


  • Double check roadside assistance coverage, bring membership card
  • Ensure auto insurance coverage includes all that you expect
  • Two copies of insurance and registration
  • Jumper cables, spare tire, car jack
  • Atlas, in case electronics fail
  • Emergency roadside kit
  • Flashlight and extra batteries, tripod light for mechanical emergencies
  • Extra washer fluid


  • Cash – lots of it, find a safe hiding place
  • Credit Cards – call ahead to release funds for unusual spending, make copies of cards front and back in case they get lost
  • Know your Paypal password in case you need it, and check for bank transfer limitations on amount and time necessary
  • Driver’s license and passport if you have both, in case you lose one; also make copies of them
  • Extra set of house and car keys
  • Back up copy of crucial contacts / phone numbers in case electronics fail

How To Make A Terrarium

A huge trend in interior home design for 2015 is adding a terrarium to your décor. We love this idea because it is an easy, low maintenance way to incorporate plant life. Some individuals could seemingly grow a rose out of stone, but most of us are a bit challenged when it comes to caring for and maintaining plants. Terrariums are simple and nearly self sufficient. More importantly they get huge points for detail and visual interest because you can get quite creative with the type of glass container you use, and the plant options make for a long list. Want to take it one step further in terms of fun? Throw a party and invite your friends over to spend the afternoon making terrariums together!


Open or Closed: Determines the kind of plants you can use, and how self-sufficient it will be.

  • Closed (or nearly closed, such as with a narrow opening) are lower maintenance because the water condensates and the plants naturally re-filter it. Works best with moisture loving plants, such some of those mentioned below (philodendron, moss, bromeliads, etc.)
  • Open – requires occasional watering, works well with houseplants, succulents, and cacti.


Examples of well suited plants:

  • Bromeliads
  • Succulents
  • Cactus
  • Ferns
  • Baby’s Tears
  • Moisture loving plants
  • Philodendron
  • Most house common house plants


You will determine amounts to purchase according to the size of the container. Terrarium materials are ALL about layering, so be sure to consider this important technique.

Where to buy: plant, craft, or pet stores

 How it’s done

  • Layer 1 – Rocks, at the bottom for drainage.
  • Layer 2 – Thin layer activated charcoal.
  • Layer 3 – Soil, enough for plants roots.
  • Layer 4 – Plants, be patient and shop as necessary to find the right size. You can trim and split so size allows for growth. Don’t allow them to touch the inside of the glass or they’ll turn brown.
  • Layer 5 – Moss or Pebbles: moss around the sides of the plants for closed (or nearly closed) containers, thin layer of pebbles for open containers. These are used to retain moisture.


Last but in no way least, determine how to best provide the terrarium with crucial sunlight. It will thrive near windows and on window sills in the winter, and then you might have to move it a little further away from the sun in warm months. Remember, glass magnifies heat and it may overheat and dry out.

That’s it! Now enjoy, and mist occasionally according to the needs of the environment you created.

A Country Kitchen

When you think about reimagining your kitchen, do you imagine it a place full of warmth and comfort? Is it where you go to cook your meals for your family and it fills up with the smells of cooking and laughter? If you are thinking about redesigning your kitchen and that is how you would describe your vision you may want to consider looking into your options for country kitchen design.


The focus for country-styled kitchens is to use natural, hand crafted materials to create a lived-in feel to the room—a place where your guests will feel comfortable pulling up a chair at the table and chatting while you cook dinner or a place where your family comes to gather and share their stories. The focus here is to use uniquely designed wood for your cabinets, chairs and tables to create a rustic look. You might even add paneled glass to the front of some of your cabinets so that your dishware and stemware show through.


Speaking of, these utensils, dishware and home appliances are a great way to give your kitchen that lived-in country feel. Mixing and matching different glazes and designs on your plates and bowls can add character to your kitchen. It harkens back to when most people had a mix and match of dinnerware, and can look as though you might buy one here and there at the local farmer’s market. If you used that glass paneling in your cabinets then your efforts will always be on display. Consider using mason jars as glassware as well, as they can also add to the overall design.


There are certain design patterns as well as color schemes that are more common in a country kitchen as well. Warmer colors are a must although blue is also commonly found, usually within a pattern or as tiling. Plaid and gingham patterns can be used as dishtowels or tablecloth to add a touch of pattern. If you are unsure about the color or pattern you want to use, imagine if you think it would fit in to a kitchen you would see in a traditional farm setting.


One of the most powerful statements in a country kitchen is the floor.  The right choice of flooring material can pull the room together and set a tone of cohesiveness in the space.  Think about the materials that would be used in a farmhouse setting: wide plank hardwood or large stone tiles are great choices. 


A country inspired kitchen is a place where your family and guests can congregate and spend quality time together in a space where you have intentionally created an ambience of warmth and invitation. It is a great way to add life into your kitchen!

2015 Decorating Trend Examples

If you’ve recently caught up on all of the design and decorating themes for 2015 you might now find yourself at a loss for examples. Themes are useful as overarching guidelines, but executing them stylishly is another thing entirely. So, if you’re ready to dive in, just refer to our newest list regarding trends: Decorating Trend Examples! Enjoy!

Translation of 2015 design themes

  • 3D based pattern – raised, geometric tiles painted in a contrast color; repetitive use of a figurine
  • “Nature meets science” – furniture such as an end table made of both dark wood and metal; full saturation latex paint on raw wood blocks as a accessory decoration; Nambe bowl filled with wood chips; crystal decanter transformed into pendant lighting with raw and apparent wiring
  • Futuristic – acrylic and plastic high gloss furniture such as a coffee table in trend color white
  • Geometric shapes – hexagram shaped accessories such a pendant light fixture
  • tilted or lopsided – floating end tables that appear to be off balance
  • Suspension – pendant lamps, plant life/terraria, modern chandeliers
  • Contrast – bold, form-based, sculptural texture, combined with sleek modern lines; natural surfaces such as wood combined with synthetic acrylic paint
  • Mixed metals – breaking the old adage that only one metal source looks smart – instead, use several such as gold, silver, brass, copper
  • Bleeding, blotting – dip dyed textiles such as pillows and throws; an area rug that mimics a geologic earth feature such as striated rock; oxidized metals
  • Minimalism – clean horizontal lines in furniture and artwork; large scale, unfussy patterns

Plant and animal life

  • Kelly green plant life – ferns, etc.
  • If you’re considering caring for a new pet – tortoise in a well designed glass enclosure that includes real plant life
  • Terraria – macro plant environment in glass, suspended from the ceiling or sitting on table
  • Flowers – orchids, carnations


  • Pantone color of the year – Marsala 18-1438 – earthy and sophisticated wine hue

    • Rooms really well suited to this color  – kitchen, dining room, family/living room
    • Best colors to coordinate with Marsala – deep navy, midnight blue, raspberry red, light plum, soft lavender, powdery pink, flesh tone neutrals, soft aqua
    • Tone and vibe of a room  with Marsala – natural, grounded, earthy, robust, rich, sophisticated, stylish, hearty, glamorous, warm, inviting
  • Pop color – Use something offbeat such as yellow or aqua, and rather than use it on just anything you find, use it emphasize something in the room that you feel is a stand out piece, give it purpose 

How To Care For a Potted Orchid Gift

So, you’re the recipient of an exotic new gift – the orchid flower. Congrats! They’re quite special. They also appear a bit daunting if you’re not used to caring for plants. Rather than hope to get a few weeks out of it, consider these easy to follow guidelines for making it a more long term part of your life. After all, it’s so pretty!

Begin by determining if it’s potted properly for long term maintenance. It may have come in a plastic pot wherein the roots were wrapped in moss. It’s important to rearrange this at some point. In nature orchids are found growing on trees. They thus have very thirsty roots that require air flow. You can easily imagine how they’d quickly rot when wrapped too tightly in moss at the bottom of a plastic pot. However, don’t go buy a new pot just yet. If your orchid is in bloom, do not repot it. It won’t tolerate the stress and those lovely blooms will sadly fall away.

In the meantime you get to simply enjoy it so long as you take proper care of it. How, you ask? Well, for starters, resist the strong urge to fuss over it. Especially where watering is concerned. Orchids in pots don’t need much water. To water it you can briefly submerge it in water and then allow that water supply to serve it for awhile. Or, you can use the nifty ice cube trick. Place a couple of ice cubes near the outskirts of the moss or bark it’s planted in and the ice will melt over time and water the plant more seamlessly than a watering can would. With either method you’re set for awhile so leave it at that until it’s truly time to water again. You can check every five days or so. You orchid will also appreciate a wee bit of orchid fertilizer once or twice a month so don’t forget to feed it.

As far as the indoor elements are concerned be careful of extreme temperatures and drafts. The orchid is not fond of cold drifts of air or close proximity to heating vents. It turns its nose up at a chill and it loathes feeling dry. It will definitely wish to stay in your life longer if you provide humidity and warmth. Hint – its favorite room in the house is usually the bathroom! If your orchid is not in an ideally humid area, be sure to mist it with water a couple of times per week.  

Light is of course another important consideration. The orchid is rather even and steady about its light requirements. Plenty of natural light from a window is wonderful, but never ever direct sunlight. If you don’t have the luxury of the perfect place for it, you may have to move it around the house a bit in pursuit of the best light situation depending on the time of day. The way to know if you’re getting it right is by the color of the leaves. If they are dark green, you’re good. But if they’re yellowing, they’re getting too much direct light. If so you can try hanging a sheer curtain in front of a window to diffuse the intense early morning and late afternoon ligt.

If you do these things you’ll be so proud of your ability to tend to such an exotic creature that you might find yourself on the way to the store to buy another one!

Essential Steps To Make The Perfect Bed

Oh how beautiful the beds in catalogs are! You know, the catalogs they send that feature page after page of the perfect looking bed. The one that is so inviting you wish you could jump right into the pages and land on the glorious pillows and covers. But once you’re done perusing the photos, and you walk into your bedroom you think, “Well, at least the sheets are clean and the bedspread isn’t wadded up on the floor!” It’s time for a change. Take that ideal bed out of the pages of a catalog and make it your own. We’ve got the few tips you need to pull it off like a pro. Here’s how:

  1. Buy good sheets! Yes, we know, they aren’t flashy and fun like a new comforter, but you simply cannot have the perfect bed without good sheets. You likely already know about thread count, but it’s not the only important factor. Buy high quality, natural fibers. No synthetics. Find a cotton blend that is excellent quality, such as Egyptian, and combine that with a decent thread count. Your bed will feel just like a fancy hotel, and the bonus is that good cotton sheets will also wear in and get softer over time.
  2.  Own at least two sets of sheets for your bed, when you’re budget allows for it. They’re like clothes for your bed and you don’t own just one outfit right?
  3. Purchase three more layers: quilt/coverlet, bedspread/comforter, duvet. It’s so fun to do this part of the shopping!
  4. Once your sheets are on the bed, lay the quilt or coverlet on top.
  5. Then, fold the top sheet and quilt back, 1/4 at the top.
  6. Next, fold the duvet in thirds and lay it across the bottom of the bed. Pretty!
  7. Buy pillows. Don’t hold back. Buy good ones, and buy pretty ones. It’s a bedroom for goodness sake! You need: Pillows in pillow cases, euro shams, and decorator pillows. Stack from back to front – pillow case, sham, decorator. Two rows for a queen bed and three rows for a king bed.
  8. Mix up textures and patterns. Give your bed a 3-D look by using obvious texture. Such as, a faux fur pillow and a ruched bedspread. If you mix patterns, use different scales. So, for instance, mini gingham and a medium scale paisley. One is a smaller pattern than the other and this makes it look interesting!

Room Design Inspiration: Butterfly Love – Mountain Cabin

If you are searching for a way to design a room but you can’t seem to dream up anything exciting, you’ve possibly hit a creative block. The most likely culprit for your lack of inspiration is that you’ve run out of magazines and websites to search for ideas. Time to change it up! Instead, try decorating a room inspired by something other than a photo of a room. For our example we are going to reference the artwork below. We will use the image of the butterflies in the shape of a heart on a natural stone background to help guide the way we would design a room. Just follow our bullet point list to learn how this method works.


The color pallet: Sky Blue, Butter Yellow, Carnation Pink, Mahogany Brown, Kelly Green, Light Purple, Taupe

What vibe or central aesthetic is suggested by the artwork?


  • It’s an excellent reference for a space in which you want to create a sense of nature (especially woodland themes,) color, vibrancy, and femininity.


What spaces might it be well suited to?


  • This design idea is quite versatile because it would work well in many spaces. We especially like it for: bedroom, living room, den, or bathroom. It could also translate well into various climates and surrounding eco-systems, but we think it’s a great match for mountain homes, cabins, urban areas surrounded by the outdoors (such as Colorado) and even beach abodes.


What makes the colors work well together?

  • They are all medium to dark saturation which means none of them are near the lighter part of the color spectrum. Because the tones have similar vibrancy they have equal presence. Meaning, no one color dominates despite the fact that they’re all rather bold. 
  • The neutral browns serve as an excellent grounding color so that the various colors don’t look out of control or disorganized.  The browns are also very earthy colors, rather than designer synthetic hues, and this lends well to the theme of nature.

What finishes or textures would we suggest?

  • Brown wood – mix and match colors and species; floors, ceiling beams, furniture
  • Linen textiles – ex. curtains, table cloth
  • Hard surfaces – natural or traditional; stone tiles, concrete, granite, ceramic pots
  • Cashmere or cotton throws, brown leather furniture, textured throw pillows in various colors

What accessories would we suggest


  • Decorative balls in natural textures and stone
  • Butterfly and entomology artwork
  • Netted items
  • Plants and trees – indoor species or artificial