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Where am I? The app for travelers.

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Where am I today_.png

I travel often for my job, or at least it seems like I travel a lot. However, my travel is usually grouped together in the spring and the fall. At one time I may have hotel rooms and flights booked for up to four trips.

There has been many times where I have woken in a panic trying to remember if I booked a flight for the trip to Washington, or did I reserve a hotel room for my trip to New Orleans. I would spend a lot of time digging through my emails, work and personal, trying to find a reservation or a confirmation to see if I actually did do what I was supposed to do in booking these travel plans.

Then I heard about TripIt and it saved me from my night panics, or at least saved me from the time to dig through all my emails! TripIt is a free phone app that browses your email a few times a day to look for travel confirmations. When it finds that information it loads it into the app and assigns it a trip name, typically the town you are visiting. If it sees confirmations/reservations during the same time frame it will put them together into a single trip.

Other great things I love about this app:

  • Can rename trips in case you are going to the same city multiple times in a few months
  • Can connect multiple email addresses to the app(I have work and three personal accounts) by forwarding a confirmation to plans@tripit.com
  • You can manually add additional items, such as scheduled visits to attractions
  • Send a confirmation to plans@tripit.com if their browsing doesn’t catch one of your confirmations
  • Keeps the addresses and confirmation numbers all in one place

The app will also send you updates if your flights change, however, I wouldn’t count on this as they show up a little late sometimes. A second tip for today is to always download the app for your airline because this is typically the best way to get your flight notifications. I also prefer to use the apps for my tickets so I don’t have to fumble with the paper ones, but remember to have a charger with you at all times in case your phone battery starts to die!

There is a paid version of Trip It, however, I haven’t looked into it much because the free version does everything I need. According to the app, TripIt Pro offers:

  • Real time flight status alerts
  • Mobile check-in reminders
  • Finds alternate flights with open seats (this one might be nice with all the cancelled flights I have had lately!)
  • Has a seat tracker to show you when a seat you want becomes available
  • A point tracker to track your reward program points and miles
  • Flight refund monitoring
  • Automatic trip sharing

The cost to upgrade is $48.99/year, so again, if you travel a lot, it might be worth the upgrade.

I would suggest you give it a try if you have a trip coming up soon. They don’t spam you with a bunch of emails, and the app is free so why not check it out!

 

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The Never-Ending List of Passwords

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Passwords

Your password must contain an uppercase letter, three numbers, a symbol, a lowercase letter, and your sanity. The struggle is real… Each time I sign up for an account, or create an online account to avoid the paper coming into my house, I have to get creative with my creation of a password. Each company has its own set of requirements as to what your username should be, how many characters your password is, what characters they will allow you to use.

So, the first tool of organization that I want to share is one I have been using for several years, and it is my password app. I used to be one of those bad people that kept a notebook on my desk at work with all my passwords in it. But, I kept the passwords in the very back, so who would think to look for them back there! These were just my work passwords though and as companies made it more complex to create passwords and to reset your passwords I decided it was time to try something new.

I use Keeper, and according to their website, “Keeper utilizes world-class security to safeguard your information from hackers and cyber criminals.” They also have some scary stats, and having had a couple accounts hacked before, I try to do everything possible to keep it from happening.

I typically try to use free or cheap apps, and when I first downloaded this one in 2015 it was $15/year but the price doubled in 2016 to $30/year. I hate paying that high of a fee, but I have everything already organized based on personal and work-related accounts. It would take me hours to change to something new. I have tried several free options and don’t find them to be as good as Keeper. I like that I can change the fields, create folders and subfolders, and it is super easy to copy the password and paste into the password field when I need it.

They also have the option to create a password for you. It creates those gobbledygook ones that you would never remember, but thanks to Keeper, you don’t have to! The app has a back up so if your phone crashes your passwords are still maintained in their super safe cloud. Their website offers white papers on security, so if you feel like reading more about how to stay safe, check it out.

Keeper also offers a family option for $60/year for up to 5 users. I just can’t bring myself to pay this much, so the hubby has to call me when he wants a password to an account.

As I mentioned, I would love to find a cheaper password app, but I am super picky now, so share with me what you use and help me save some money!

Organizing My Life, or Trying To!

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Chaos

I have been told on numerous occasions by people that know me professionally that I am very organized and always put together. Obviously, these people don’t know the real me! My motto is a clean desk belongs to somebody that doesn’t have enough work to do! Try as I might, I can never keep a clean desk for more than a couple of days. Therefore, I am a super-busy person (or that is what I tell myself!).

In my personal life I have 4 email accounts, only the newest of which is semi-organized. When my prior email account gets full of spam I just open a new one. This hiding away of problem areas has become a theme in my life. If the counter is full of mail, just put it away in a drawer! When my pile of shoes tumbles over, just find something to stick them all in, and I will find time to organize it later. Only later never comes!

At the beginning of 2017 I decided I’d had enough and wanted to begin organizing my life more. I will admit I did better in 2017 then ever before, but my life is still very unorganized. For this reason, I thought I would begin to share some of the tools and resources I am using to organize my life, and hope that you will share some of your ideas with me!

Another area that I have been too unorganized to find time to deal with is this blog. It has been several years since I have blogged so I hope I can stay organized and find time to continue this. My hope is that by blogging it will keep me on task to find new ways to organize my life so I can write about them! I will share my first tool in a couple of days! Stay tuned!

 

 

Boy Decor 4: Grouping to Make an Impact

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I love the look of a child’s name on the wall of their bedroom. I was browsing through Hobby Lobby one day when I discovered these really cute metal signs with letters on them. I was sure they would be perfect over my son’s bed. I get home, put nails in the wall where I want them to be, hang them up, step back, and discover they are much smaller than I originally thought. They had no visual impact on the room, and actually looked quite awkward above the bed.

The letters purchased for above the bed.

The letters I purchased for above the bed turned out to be too small.

 

I left the letters there for a while as I was not sure exactly what I wanted to do. After a few months, I decided I needed to group the letters with something else. I had purchased an old frame for $2 from a local consignment shop. I painted the frame black and asked my husband to add some chicken wire to the back of it. I had found some other metal street signs at Hobby Lobby that I picked up. I then used wire and some small nails to create a grouping of the letters and the signs to hang on the frame.

I was very pleased with the end result, but I didn’t rehang it over the bed because I had found a picture on clearance that I really liked for above the bed. I took the grouping and hung it above the chest of drawers. It made a great addition to a very empty wall.

Grouping an old picture frame backed with chicken wire gave the letters a new perspective.

Grouping an old picture frame backed with chicken wire gave the letters a new perspective.

I have now started grouping things all over the house! By putting these pieces together they have much more of a visual impact than when they stood alone.

Boy Decor 3: The nightstand

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I was on the hunt for the perfect nightstand, however, all new ones were more than I wanted to spend. I hit the consignment shops knowing what I wanted to buy, and looking for the closest option that I could alter. For $20 I found this sturdy nightstand with drawers and it was the perfect height. It wasn’t the prettiest, but that is fixable!

The nightstand was purchased for $20 at a consignment shop.

The nightstand was purchased for $20 at a consignment shop.

My husband and I then took the drawer pulls off, patched the pull holes, and painted the entire thing black. I turned to Hobby Lobby again to find new drawer pulls. It is hard to find boyish drawer pulls as so many of them are crystal, flowers, or just have a girly appearance to them. I was able to find these pulls that resemble a finish line flag at races. The pulls add some fun and a pop to the solid black nightstand.

The knobs that were selected to replace the original drawer pulls.

The knobs that were selected to replace the original drawer pulls.

Then the product was finished and ready to put in place.

The finished nightstand.

The finished nightstand.

Boy Decor 2: Finding that starting piece

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After struggling with figuring out the best way to transition a baby boy room into a big boy room, we finally stumbled onto the starting piece at Hobby Lobby one day. My son saw, and fell in love with, these little characters that are made out of metal pieces, along with screws, nuts, bolts and more.

Metal figures available at Hobby Lobby.

Metal figures available at Hobby Lobby.

After a while, we began to build up a collection of these fun figures and needed to put them all on display. The great thing about Hobby Lobby is they put these on sale every few weeks, so even though they are affordable to start with, it is always nice to get them at half the price.

The display of our metal creatures.

The display of our metal creatures.

I found these floating shelves at Marshall’s and they were the perfect fit for our little creatures. They are off set on the wall with a bit of overlap to make them feel connected. I then added two other metal decorations to pull the wall all together. I am still debating on whether or not to repaint the wall a solid color, or leave it as it is. Would love to get your thoughts in the comments.

The complete display.

The complete display.

Boy Decor

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Boy Decor

Since the moment we found out we were getting a boy from our adoption I began the hunt for the perfect decor for a boy’s room. It is hard to believe that even just seven years ago, there were very few options for a boy’s room outside of trucks, sports, and animals. I looked all over, and finally settled on one set that was very simple with some stripes and circles in shades of brown.

After the bedding set was decided on, it was time to figure out the rest. I wanted to ensure the room decor would be something he could grow up in, at least for a few years. With this in mind, I began the work of choosing colors and a pattern for the large wall in his room because I wanted it to be a bit fun.

With some help from my sister-in-law, I was thrilled with the results of the room.

The baby room completed. Stay tuned for the transition to the boy room.

The baby room completed. Stay tuned for the transition to the boy room.

Now, seven years later, I have been struggling again to find the perfect pieces for his room to advance beyond the playroom/bedroom look. I have searched online only to find that many of the rooms are based on a theme and if your child is a lover of many things, a theme like these will only make them happy for so long. Don’t get me wrong, some of these themes are absolutely wonderful like nautical, gaming, skateboarding, team sports, racing, etc., but I don’t want to limit the design. My Pinterest board, Calester, will show you some of these amazing rooms that I have found.

I did decide on one theme though, it is a little generic, metal. I like the look of metal for a boys room and it doesn’t limit the design. You can find fun metal items all over and work to incorporate them into this look.

It is taking me quite some time to find the right pieces, and to get his room how I like it, so I thought I would share some of my ideas with others through a series of posts as I continue on my quest for the perfect boy room. I figure I will finally be happy with it by the time he goes to college!

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