Category Archives: Home

Oh, How Pinteresting: Halloween Party Ideas and Inspiration

If you’re throwing a Halloween party this year, I’d say it’s about time you have most, if not all, of your party planning completed. If you’re still brainstorming fun and unique ideas, here are some of the best I’ve found on Pinterest for both children’s parties and adult parties.

First, you are going to need some invitations.

Next are some really awesome Halloween party buffet table ideas.

Source: via Holly on Pinterest

Source: via Holly on Pinterest

Source: via Holly on Pinterest

Source: via Holly on Pinterest

The Vintage Apple Pinteresting Wednesdays

$75 Pottery Barn Gift Card Giveaway from Gift Card Granny [Closed]

Gift Card Granny Buying discount gift cards and using them for casual, every day purchases on items that you are going to buy anyway can save you a lot more money than you might think. Just ask Ashley Grimaldo who saved $206.29 in just one month back in March. While it may seem like there is a slight learning curve to knowing where to find the gift cards with the most lucrative discounts for the best price, there is a resource out there that has taken all of the work out of the search and gives you the freedom to find the cards with the best deals and begin saving.

Gift Card Granny is a discount gift card shopping search engine that connects buyers and sellers of discount gift cards. Just search for a gift card by merchant or category and Gift Card Granny will return a list of the best offers out there for you to choose from. It really is an amazingly easy way to save literally hundreds of dollars a month, and what could be better than that?

Pottery Barn gift card We’re big fans of Gift Card Granny and have mentioned them and the deals to be had before. Luckily, the feeling seems to be mutual because Gift Card Granny is giving one lucky Woman Tribune reader a $75 gift card to Pottery Barn!


Do one or all of the following things to enter to win the $75 Pottery Barn gift card from Gift Card Granny. Leave a separate comment for each additional entry and be sure to include your username for Twitter and Facebook entries if applicable.

  • Create a gift card alert at Gift Card Granny and tell us which merchant you chose to receive alerts about.
    Gift card alerts will email you either immediately or daily when there are newly added gift cards available for your favorite stores.
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    Win a $75 Pottery Barn gift card from @GiftCardGranny at @WomanTribune #giveaway ends 10/4

This giveaway ends Monday, October 4th at 11:59 p.m. ET. This giveaway is open to anyone over the age of 18 at the time of entry. The winner will be randomly chosen and contacted by email; they then have 48 hours (2 days) to respond to that email or another winner will be chosen.

Full Contest Disclaimer

This giveaway is now closed and the winner is…

Pottery Barn gift card giveaway winner


Disclosure: Gift Card Granny has provided one $75 gift card to Pottery Barn for this giveaway.

How I Taught My 10 Year Old to Manage Animal Hair and Odors

kittens I have worked in animal rescue a long time. One thing that I’ve learned is how to effectively minimize animal hair and odors on my own. You see I have a system, and it works. The only flaw in my system is that I’m the only one who does it. The kids, well they tend to make themselves scarce when animal needs arise. That was until my youngest daughter came to me and asked if she could rescue a little of homeless kittens.

To her helping homeless animals is a natural part of life so when she saw five little babies heading to the local animal shelter she knew right away what fate they had in store. She also knew that mommy doesn’t offer to help too many kitties and so she offered to take full responsibility if I said yes. What she saw was an opportunity to save five kittens. What I saw was an opportunity to teach!

You see animal rescue isn’t all about fun and playing with cute babies. In fact there is a huge amount of responsibility in their care, feeding, hygiene and vetting prior to adoption. Until now my 10 year old spent her involvement on the play side of rescue. Now was my opportunity to get her involved on the more demanding side, and that included helping maintain a clean, odor- and hair-free living space!

It All Begins with the Litter Box

What many cat owners may not realize is the majority of your cat odors come from the litter box. Either odors seep from the box or particles stick to your cat’s paws and fur when using the bathroom, later to be tracked all through your house. If you can properly maintain your litter box you’ll be leaps ahead of kitty odor.

But it’s not just odors we are preventing when it comes to a clean box. Failure to remove dirty litter can actually lead to diseases such as urinary tract infections. When you have five kittens this becomes five times more important!

So my daughter and I sat down and discussed the frequency it would take to ensure our home smelled clean and our cats stayed healthy. We agreed to scoop the box twice a day and a complete change out once a week. After showing her how to clean the litter box I turned the complete responsibility over to her, with a little reminder if it needed to get done.

No More Cat Hair? It’s All in the Way You Vacuum

If you’ve ever assigned vacuuming to your children then you are probably all too familiar with their haphazard approach to sweeping the floors. I am always amazed to see my children push the vacuum in a zigzag back and forth over the same spot then wrap up and claim they’re done.

This type of sweeping will never remove the fast-accumulating cat hair from these five kittens and it was important that my daughter understood that. To begin I let her vacuum her way for a week. Then at the end of the week I took a broom and “swept” up all the hair along the edges of the carpet.

She had to laugh when I showed her how much was there. After this demonstration she happily confessed that she figured since our allergy vacuum was so good it would get all the hairs by itself. Such a simplistic view I always admire.

It only took one time showing her how to make sure she covers the entire floor and the speed in which she should move the vacuum to ensure picking up as much hair as possible. After a few practice runs she was ready to take charge again and I was more than satisfied with the end result.

Lending a Hand with Odor Control

It wouldn’t be fair to put the entire burden of odor control on my daughter. After all we do have other rescues in the house that she didn’t ask to bring in. This is where part of my system comes in handy. Remember I said I have a proven system that worked? A huge portion of that is of course how I clean on a daily basis, but one portion is definitely lending a hand when those sneaky odor particles get past our efforts.

When my daughter brought home her foster kittens we had already select which air purifiers we would need to manage all the pollutants and odors that float around our home. Adding the kittens and their litter box was well within the air purifier’s capacity to clean from the air.

So that my daughter could be part of this aspect too I showed her how to monitor the purifier and determine if it needs service (we don’t use filters) and how to assess if we might want to consider adding an extra purifier to the mix.

By allowing my daughter to take responsibility and foster her first litter of kittens I not only encouraged her passion to save a life, but I also got a helper in the daily routine of controlling animal hair and odors. After all, life gets easier when you have someone to cut your chores in half!

Oh, How Pinteresting: Stunning Window Seats

I have always had a thing for window seats. They are just incredibly gorgeous, yet simple and versatile. They can either be tucked away in a corner where you can create your own little nook that is blissfully yours, or they can be made the focal point of the entire room. Whatever you choose, regardless of how big or small, tucked away or out in the open, you simply just can’t go wrong with a good window seat; at least not in my book. Plus, there is really nothing I would love more than to have a cozy window seat in at least one room in my house where I can hang out, read a book and stare out the window at my surroundings.

I would love to see a larger picture of this entire space, but the window seat is spectacular. I love that it extends out to the sides filling the entire nook with seating in front of the large bay windows.

I really love this idea for a window seat at the landing of a staircase between floors. It’s like a little surprise you didn’t expect to see when walking upstairs. A great idea for a space that is typically pretty difficult to decorate with an actual purpose in mind.

This playroom makes me happy. The striped walls, the complimentary pillows and window seat cushion all playing off of the colors in the walls, and especially the pocket areas beneath the window seat. The bins for loose items are really smart considering kids aren’t organized, so the bins make clean-up super quick and the room looks organized even if you know it really isn’t.

This is just several different layers of awesome. A window seat-bed with a trundle bed underneath. Space-saving and monstrously cute!

Source: via Holly on Pinterest

Another playroom window seat, this one centered between two built-in bookshelves, which I also love! Built-in bookshelves are another thing I lust after when it comes to interior design.

Source: via Holly on Pinterest

Let’s face it, built-in window seats are stunning, but not everyone can just build a window seat into the room of their choice (but wouldn’t it be awesome if we all could?) That is why I love this one so much; it’s the non-window seat window seat. It makes window seats possible where there was no possibility before. Just by topping a strong and sturdy trunk with a comfy cushion and a few throw pillows you can create a beautiful space in front of any window in the house.

The Vintage Apple Pinteresting Wednesdays

Ditch the Disposable Water Bottles for Good

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of hydrosbottle. All opinions are 100% mine.

Hydros Bottle A few months ago I watched the documentary Tapped, a film that examines how the entire bottled water industry works and discloses the major role it has played in the depletion of our environment, the increase of pollution and our reliance on oil. It also spotlights the industry’s less-than-ethical business practices and how these practices have affected the health of countless people. I think we can all say we know at least the basics of why it is important to think green and to be less wasteful in our every day lives, we have been seeing the statistics and hearing about the harm waste causes for years now. Reading this information and being told that we should go green is one thing, but when you see the entire industry laid out in front of you from manufacturing plant-to-landfill and the compounded effects, it is extraordinarily powerful.

Everyone relies on water to stay alive and we all want to make sure we’re drinking the cleanest, safest water available to us. That fact in itself is what drives a lot of people to purchase bottled water as much as they do, often believing that it is the purest water that they can get. There are other options; other options that don’t have such a negative impact on the environment.

The Hydros Bottle is one of those options, and it is a really awesome creation. This bottle has a built-in, Hydros Fast Flow Filter that reduces chlorine, chloramine and particulates from tap water much faster than pitcher water filters. It ensures that any tap water you pour into the cap will fill the bottle with only pure, filtered water. You can then take your bottle with you on the go, filling that need for convenience that we all have when we’re running out the door to the gym, going out jogging, or while running errands.

I especially love that the Hydros Bottle is super durable and therefore able to withstand tumbles and repeated falls. What can I say, I am not always the most graceful person. It is constructed from Tritan Plastic which is a tough material and it is also heat and chemical resistant, so feel free to pop it in the top rack of your dishwasher without worrying it is going to be ruined by the time to the cycle is finished. It is also manufactured without BPA or phthalates, which is not something that the companies who manufacture bottled water can say about their disposable bottles.

I absolutely love companies that have an impact on the bigger picture, striving to create fundamental, lasting change in the world, and that is exactly what Hydros is doing. Operation Hydros is the fight against the global water crisis. Out of every Hydros Bottle sold, $1 is donated to an environmentally sustainable water infrastructure project. Hydros recently partnered with Engineers Without Borders in order to deliver fresh water to people within the Cameroonian village of Gundom where two thousand gallons of fresh water is delivered to people who desperately need it.

There is a much steeper cost to bottled water than the price tag you see listed below it at the store. Help make a difference by filtering your own tap water and carrying around your own, reusable water bottle. Not to mention, the Hydros Bottles look really cool and they come in a variety of colors. Can you say that much about your disposable plastic water bottle?

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How to Effectively Clean Cat “Accidents” and Odors Out of Pretty Much Anything

Vincent and Devin About a year ago my partner and I took in an 8-week-old kitten that we named Vincent; he is one of the cutest and most affectionate cats I have ever met, but for as snuggly and super cute as he is, he has also been just as frustrating. In the first month we had Vincent, I realized how well-behaved and low maintenance our older cat Devin is. We have it good with her, which could be due to two things; either because of the different breeds they are or because Devin is female and Vincent is male. Since adding Vincent to our household, I have been told numerous times that male cats are more difficult and higher maintenance than females; isn’t that odd considering how it is mostly the opposite in our human world?

The source of most of our frustration with Vincent has been the litter box. He has historically been so off-and-on with using it that I could not figure out what, exactly, his problem was with it.

I first interpreted his litter box problem as spraying and marking his territory because it started when he was so young. A few weeks before he was six months old we had him neutered; what he lacked in age he made up for in weight, so having the procedure done before he was exactly six months was still completely safe. Phase one of narrowing down Vincent’s litter box problem complete.

We then started going down the list of factors that could cause cats to have this particular problem. He did not have a urinary tract infection, he had no reason to be overly stressed, the litter box was cleaned daily, and we changed litters hoping to find one that he liked more than the others. Through this process, Vincent began urinating where he was sleeping most often. Unfortunately for my partner and I, this meant our bed and any blankets we had laid down anywhere for the cats, whether on the couch, chairs, or on the floor. Needless to say, there has been a lot of cleanup needed around our apartment. My partner had seriously considered trying to find a new home for Vincent, but I got attached to him and believe strongly that if an animal is experiencing a problem that we cannot figure out, it should never mean that the animal loses its home. It should never work that way.

In the end, we found that Vincent is afraid of litter boxes that have a cover on them causing him to simply avoid the litter box. I actually found this revelation to be kind of cute, thinking that he is afraid of the dark and of venturing into a litter box he can’t assess first from the outside. By simply removing the cover of his litter box, we have not had any problems since. I wish I had thought of this before the months of frustration ensued.

So, you’re probably wondering how we removed all of Vincent’s little “accidents” up until the time we finally figured out what the problem he was having with his litter box was. Here is a little recipe for a natural cleaner to get rid of your pet’s messes and odors.

You Will Need

  • Hot water
  • Vinegar
  • All-natural, all-purpose soap
  • Baking soda


  1. Fill spray bottle with hot water, two tablespoons of vinegar and a generous squirt of all-natural, all-purpose soap. Shake well.
  2. Spray cleaner over area until it is soaked completely. Let cleaner set into area for about an hour while periodically soaking up excess water with a towel.
  3. When area is dry, cover with baking soda and let sit. After about an hour, vacuum up the baking soda.

This has worked much better than any other pet cleaner I have ever bought, which makes me just a little ticked off that I wasted a good amount of money on cleaners that never worked half as well as this natural cleaner I made at home did!

ProFlowers Rainbow Tulips Review and $50 Gift Code Giveaway [Closed]

This giveaway is now closed.

ProFlowers tulips Mother’s Day is rapidly approaching and while people will be frantically trying to think up new gift ideas to show their mothers, as well as the mother-like figures in their lives, how special, important and very much needed they are, one gift option that has always been appropriate and thoughtful is a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

It can be pretty difficult to really differentiate between the many professional flower arrangement and gift companies and when you find yourself in the position where you need one, you’re more likely to check out a company that has been recommended by a friend. So let me tell you about a company that I have had the opportunity to experience myself.

ProFlowers is a company who has been delivering fresh-from-the-field flowers and other amazing gifts meant to delight and pamper, since 1998 and they recently sent me the gorgeous bouquet of 20 rainbow tulips pictured above.

My bouquet arrived in a large cardboard box with a note on the inside flap that holds a personalized note from the sender to the recipient. Once I opened the box, my cats’ interests were immediately piqued.

ProFlowers packaging

My bouquet arrived just the day after being emailed about my order and with it, was a complimenting green vase. The flowers were fresh, beautiful, and have stayed fresh throughout the past few days. In fact, all flowers from ProFlowers are guaranteed to stay completely fresh for a minimum of seven days.

I haven’t received many bouquets of flowers before so admittedly, I didn’t know exactly how much I should cut from the bottom of each stem, what temperature the water in the vase should be initially, or what that flower food substance was all about. Luckily, ProFlowers sent along a handy sheet of care instructions that answered any questions I could ever have about the care and keeping of my bouquet, along with some tips on caring for tulips specifically.

ProFlowers has outstanding deals for anyone looking for Mother’s Day flower arrangements. Be sure to check out ProFlowers Coupons to save 20% and receive a free vase and free weekday delivery, amongst other deals.


In celebration of Mother’s Day, we are giving away a $50 ProFlowers gift code to one lucky Woman Tribune reader to spend on a gift for your mother, another woman who is special in your life, or even on yourself (hey, you deserve it!)

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Visit the ProFlowers website and leave a comment on this post telling us what gift you would choose.

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  • “Like” ProFlowers on Facebook
    By “liking” ProFlowers on Facebook, you will also receive 20% off your order.
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    Win a $50 gift code to ProFlowers just in time for Mother’s Day from @WomanTribune ends 4/29

This giveaway ends Friday, April 29th at 11:59 p.m. ET. This giveaway is open to anyone over the age of 18 at the time of entry. The winner will be randomly chosen and contacted by email; they then have 48 hours (2 days) to respond to that email or another winner will be chosen.

Full Contest Disclaimer

Disclosure: I received a bouquet of 20 rainbow tulips from ProFlowers in order to write this review, as well as the opportunity to host this giveaway.

Spruce Up Your Outdoor Space with Pier 1

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pier 1. All opinions are 100% mine.

Pier 1 outdoor furniture

For the first week since October, it has not snowed here and there is very, very little snow on the ground outside. Since March 20th marked the official first day of spring, It won’t be too long now before a lot of us will be adding new, fresh touches to our patios, decks and other outdoor spaces, or completely renovating our outdoor spaces to reflect our moods and tastes this season.

 Pier 1 has a fantastic selection of outdoor furniture and decor items including rugs, pillows, cushions, umbrellas, lighting and more. After looking through their extensive collection of outdoor items, I immediately latched onto their Coco Cove line of outdoor furniture.

Pier 1 Coco Cove outdoor furniture
Outdoor Swivel Chair | Outdoor Wicker Armchair | Outdoor Wicker End Table

Remember, if you plan on buying new outdoor furniture, you’re going to also want to pick yourself up some comfy new cushions and pillows to go with!

Papasan chairIf the Coco Cove style isn’t really for you, or if you’re looking for a really comfy chair for your outdoor space, Pier 1 has evolved their iconic Papasan chair. Not only can you find the traditional Papasans and cushions, but you will also find double Papasans and Swingasans. It is definitely time to start thinking outside of the box in terms of decorating your outdoor spaces and Pier 1 is helping you do just that!

While we’re talking about outdoor furniture and decor, keep in mind that a great deal of Pier 1’s stock is actually indoor/outdoor, so if you’re investing in new wicker furniture for your outdoor space, don’t think you’re spending too much for something that will have to be brought in and kept in storage during the winter months. If you have a sunroom or foyer, get creative and decorate these spaces with furniture and decor items you had originally bought for outdoor use. That especially goes for this awesome outdoor floor lantern I found on the Pier 1 website that would look amazing indoors as well!

During the holiday season, IZEA hosted a Tweetup for Pier 1. This event was such a rousing success that they are doing it again, hosting Pier 1 Tweetups in several select U.S. cities. Take a look and see if there is a tweetup near you and join in on the fun!

Atlanta – April 5th:
6551 North Point Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30022
12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

3101 Cobb Parkway
Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30339
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

NYC – April 20th
51 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

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“Pretty Neat: The Buttoned-Up Way to Get Organized and Let Go of Perfection” Book Review and Giveaway [Closed]

Pretty Neat book I am by no means a “fan” or even a dedicated or avid reader of Heather Armstrong’s blog Dooce, but when she posted pictures of her newly-decorated study, I wanted to travel to Utah for the sole purpose of kicking her in the shins–and then running away as fast as possible because I know she works out regularly and I do not. This is not a poor reflection of Heather Armstrong, or her miraculously-decorated study that I can only hope was completely trashed within 10 minutes after taking those pictures. This is within me and I have very much the same reaction every time I dare to go to HGTV’s website or sucked into any one of their television shows. Instinctively, my mind reverts to “Why doesn’t my house look like that?” Then I go and get all down on myself while at the same time flying off into fits of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder-fueled housekeeping and organization.

I refuse to believe I’m alone here. In fact, I know I’m not after reading “Pretty Neat: The Buttoned-Up Way to Get Organized and Let Go of Perfection”, a book full of stories, anecdotes and flat-out confessions from a myriad of women who have known the feeling of domestic inferiority.

“Pretty Neat” comes from Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, creators of Buttoned Up, a website full of tips and tools for getting imperfectly organized, and line of organizational products. The entire concept of the book is to throw away the expectations you have for your home in terms of perfection and more importantly, in terms of the expectations you have put on yourself because of outside influences.

I was able to apply a lot of aspects of this book to my daily, personal life, starting with the introduction which talks about “org porn.” Yes, org porn, something defined by the authors as “that glossy, airbrushed fantasy world where everything is pristine, serene, and perfectly in order, sort of like Playboy, but with chore charts and name-plated cubbyholes.” My first thought was just about every single show you (and I) have seen thousands of times on HGTV and other, like-minded, make you feel bad about your home and your housekeeping and organizational skills programming. See, I’m not the only one who thinks those television shows are a reincarnated version of the devil!

Another great, big aspect I immediately identified with personally was putting tremendous pressure on myself in terms of housekeeping, organization and the overall presentation of my home while always seeing my grandmother’s face when I notice something happening in my home that she wouldn’t stand in hers. Things like even one dish being left in the kitchen sink until the next morning, an unmade bed and a spotless bathroom. Yes, my grandmother’s bathroom is completely and utterly spotless and it has always been that way. Growing up, me, my father and younger sister lived right next door in a half double home to my grandmother and aunt. I was in her house every single day, multiple times a day and I have never, not once in my life, entered her bathroom to see one thing out of place. With a 33-year-old man, two cats, a litter box that always, always has a small amount of litter at the entrance from the two cats jumping in and out of it, and way too many bath and body products, I cannot imagine my bathroom even remotely resembling a space without something out of place. This in itself has always been enough to send me off into a wild fit of cleaning and organizing, but never following through until the next time I go off into another fit of cleaning and organizing. Maybe that’s the trick. Follow through. Or, as I picked up from this book, simply realizing that every single thing being in place in my bathroom is not something that truly bothers me because it is a personal preference that came solely from me, but from the way my grandmother kept her bathroom, and therefore not something that is worthy of driving myself out of my mind over.

“Pretty Neat” is full of stories, anecdotes and interviews from such a wide variety of (mostly) women who may work in completely different fields, have completely different families and lifestyles, but all have clutter and the feeling of domestic inferiority. It is also full of tips to take control over your home, your clutter and your life. It’s like showing you inside the lives of many different women who aren’t so much unlike yourself and then presenting you with some clarity and helpful tricks to combat each and every clutter-filled aspect of your life. Some of these tricks are even complete shortcuts, giving those who may visit you at your home the illusion of a polished, un-cluttered and completely clean and organized space, but don’t know that you have a pile of mail three weeks old that you still haven’t sifted through inside a desk that you are completely okay with having there. Just as some interviews within the book with women focus on the disorganization in their lives, there are much more that offer helpful tricks to steal and use yourself to create just organized enough spaces.

The entire concept here is to get your home–and yourself–in order to create a space that you can be happy with on your own terms because it is what you truly want and not something that someone else may want for you. That is one sentiment that I could not agree with more, not just when it comes to finding peace in your home and tackling clutter whether it’s in the kitchen, the living room, or even in your work area (you’ll also find an entire section within this book dedicated to helping your organize your workspace, desk and even your inbox!), but also when it comes to the choices we make for our lives. Finding peace and happiness in who we are is an amazing and radical step in practicing self-acceptance and that is something that no one can ever take away from you once you have it.


So now that you’ve heard me go on and on about “Pretty Neat”, I should probably tell you that we are also giving away a copy of the book to one lucky Woman Tribune reader.

Required Entry

To enter for a chance to win a copy of “Pretty Neat: The Buttoned-Up Way to Get Organized and Let Go of Perfection” by Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, leave a comment on this post telling us what area of your home or life that has become the biggest source of organizational stress.

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    Win a copy of “Pretty Neat”, a practical organization book for the masses from @WomanTribune ends 3/20

This giveaway ends Sunday, March 20th at 11:59PM EST. This giveaway is open to all U.S. residents over the age of 18 at the time of entry. The winner will be chosen via and contacted by email; they then have 48 hours (2 days) to respond to that email or another winner will be chosen.

Full Contest Disclaimer

This giveaway is now closed, and the winner is:

Pretty Neat giveaway winner

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of “Pretty Neat: The Buttoned-Up Way to Get Organized and Let Go of Perfection” in return for my review, as well as the opportunity to host this giveaway. All opinions expressed throughout this post are 100% mine. This review and giveaway was made possible through the Global Influence Network.

A Traveling Rule of Thumb: Clean Your House

hotel room This morning is a very busy one. In fact, it’s a bit of a madhouse around here, thinly veiled in a single word of truth that has become my, and I’m willing to bet many others lives–procrastination. You see, in just a few hours my partner and I will begin driving from Northeastern, Pennsylvania to Kent, Ohio. It’s a business trip, although thankfully having nothing to do with my business. I don’t think I could take that kind of pressure after three days of making sure we had the right hotel booked for the right dates, picking up last-minute, needed items for the house, particularly items that ease my mind when it comes to leaving my two cats home for two and a half days by themselves, and making sure every inch of the house resembled something that I would look forward to coming back to.

And there, in a nutshell, is the purpose of this post. You may think that traveling and everything that comes with it has very little to do with housekeeping; especially when you’re running around the last few days prior to your trip, making sure your accommodations are correct, that you have everything you need, that you didn’t accidentally leave something that you should have packed laying out, albeit neatly folded on the bed, and so on. I used to think the same thing, but after traveling out of state a few times and spending those couple of days in a nice, super clean hotel room that in such a short amount of time you trick yourself into thinking resembles your life and how things will look when you walk through your front door when returning home, and then returning home to a lived-in, mildly cluttered house, is a very rude awakening. Very rude.

Now, when I know I’m going out of town for a few days, I make sure my house resembles something that I can really look forward to returning to. Sometimes it isn’t enough to know that your cats are home, probably curled up on your great, big bed that you haven’t laid in in days. So, as a rule of thumb, here’s what I tackle before even packing my bags to leave the house:

  • Light dusting. Living in the sometimes harsh lighting of a hotel room will make it that much more apparent that there is dust collecting on the shelves, entertainment center and other surfaces of your house.
  • Vacuuming. If you have pets, you know that vacuuming is already an everyday or at most, an every-other-day occurrence. Just imagine what you would be walking in to if you let the vacuuming go the day before you left on a trip and returned home a few days later. Hairball and lint central!
  • Make the bed. Just because when you leave a hotel room and return the bed is magically made with fresh linens, does not mean when you return home the same thing will have happened in your bedroom. Take a few minutes and make up your bed, preferably with fresh linens and blankets so the first time you go to sleep after coming home from your trip, it will be the most comfortable and inviting it can be.

As for as I am concerned, those are the top three things I have never put that much emphasis on before leaving on a trip, but really make a huge difference when you return home from one. Of course, you’re going to want to also make sure that all of your dishes are done, your kitchen counters are wiped down, and all of your garbage and everything resembling garbage is taken out, but they don’t require any further explanation than that.

So there is just some small, friendly advice from me to you and now I’m off to vacuum my living room and pack before embarking on a 7-hour drive. Obviously posting on Woman Tribune will be light today, but I’m sure you all can understand that.