Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Posted: 21 May 2009 05:53 AM PDTWith skillful packing, you can avoid checking a bag (and the fee) when you take a short trip. For longer trips, you can save money and hassle by checking only one bag.
If I travel by myself for three days or less, I bring only a carry-on. Four or more days require checking a bag, especially in the winter with bulky sweaters.
If you must check a bag, assume your luggage may be lost or ransacked. To ease the potential pain:
- Never check any valuables.
Luggage gets opened after it is out of sight; it takes just one dishonest bag handler to put your valuables at risk. Airport employees robbed celebrities Lil’ Kim and Sarah Ferguson of their jewelry. I didn’t think it would happen to me until it did.
- Don’t put cash in your luggage.
Sounds stupid—who would do that? I did once. As I walked out of my apartment, I worried that I had too much cash in my purse and I stashed half in the side pocket of my suitcase. My suitcase disappeared for nine days. Unbelievably, the money was still there, but my vacation was over.
- Carry essentials on the plane with you.
Absolute essentials might include medication, contact lens solution, make-up, a clean pair of underwear. If your luggage gets lost, and is not returned to you the same day, you can avoid making a midnight run to a drugstore.
- If you are traveling with a partner, discuss your joint luggage strategy.
If you must use two bags, there are two methods of packing with a partner. One, each person can pack all their clothes in their own suitcase. Two, each person can pack some clothes in each bag.
I like separate bags because I stay more organized. But, if a bag gets lost, one person will have no clothes and the other will have all their clothes. Method Two balances out the risk of lost luggage.
- Conserve space and avoid wrinkles by rolling—rather than folding—your clothes.
An old navy trick, I’m told. Fold shirts, pants, and skirts in half the long way. Then roll them up tightly like you’re rolling a burrito.
- Stick to one base color for your wardrobe.
All my tops can go with either a brown or black base. Pants, skirts, shoes and purse should be only one of the base colors. Mix-and-match outfits will be a breeze, if you don’t stray from the foundation color. White can also work as a base color.
- T-shirts in neutral colors can be your best friend.
Bring at least one black and one white t-shirt. T-shirts in basic colors go with everything. Dress them up with a skirt and jewelry for the evening.
- Lay all clothes you are considering on the bed before you put them in the suitcase.
Count the days you will be gone, plus the evenings you will go out. Count your outfits. The same number? Then that’s too many.
Put a few things back in your closet. Wear basics several times; no one will notice. Exception: do not skimp on underwear. Always throw in a couple of more pairs than the number of days you will be gone.
- If shopping is on your destination agenda, save room in your suitcase.
If you must sit on your suitcase to close it, it is too full. If you plan major shopping, consider packing an empty soft duffel-type bag in the larger bag to carry home your purchases.
- Pack shoes in plastic grocery bags.
Avoid getting your clothes dirty from the bottoms of your shoes. Shoe bags can be purchased for this very purpose, but why? It seems wasteful--a reused grocery bag works just as well.
- Assume that anything that can leak, will leak.
I am a fan of the Ziploc. Pack anything not solid in them, especially goopy stuff like sunscreen. I learned this lesson the hard way and I learned it many times. Once, I had an aerosol hairspray spray its entire contents inside my suitcase.
- If you travel frequently, keep your toiletry bag packed between trips.
I like the cosmetic bags designed for travel, the ones unzip a bunch of different ways. With the strap, the bag can be used as a carry-on. Or remove the strap and pack it inside your luggage.
Buy duplicates—preferably miniatures—of all your necessities: hair styling product, cotton pads, QTips, etc. Use the short Ziplocs (the ones that hold carrot sticks
- Tuck a written list of toiletries in your bag
This tip sounds neurotic I know, but I swear it works. I used to forget the same thing every time I traveled. Why do I have a mental block against packing a razor? Now before a trip, I check my bag against my list and I’m done. And I never forget anything.
- Pack a few remedies for unexpected ailments and accidents
My toiletry bag includes a few Band-aids, Immodium, Tums, etc. Feel good and enjoy your trip.
|Written on 5/21/2009 by Kate Mortell. Kate is a graduate of Marquette University and lives and works in New York City. She writes the blog, Moonfun.net, a collection of travel journals and commentary on real estate, animal rights, gun control and whatever else might be under her skin at the moment.||Photo Credit: mararie|
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Posted: 19 May 2009 08:17 PM PDT
I’m not going to lie, when I first heard that we were having a girl, a small tinge of disappointment hit me; I’d really been hoping for a boy. I know, turn me in for the jerk-of-the-year award. It wasn’t that I didn’t want a girl, it was just that I didn’t know how I would relate to, or help raise a sex that preferred tea parties to a rugby match.
It was easy to imagine how I would bring up a boy. Strict discipline mixed with love and honor, lessons of wilderness survival, famous battles, endless wrestling matches and instruction in being a gentleman. A girl on the other hand? The idea terrified me. Pictures of puberty, boy band concerts, awkward dad moments and an embarrassed/annoyed daughter helped convince me that I wasn’t cut out for the task of raising a daughter.
Part of my misunderstanding came from being raised as an only child, growing up around boys via various sports teams, then attending a military academy with a 6:1 guy to girl ratio. Let’s just say, while I appreciated the opposite sex, I knew very little about them other than they confused me and smelled nice.
Then my daughter was born and my theories were immediately tossed out the hospital window. She was beautiful, and I quickly took to being her father. She was mine and I was hers. My heart melted inside me the first time I held her and later, when she said “Dada!” and held out her arms to hug me. The fears I once had about not being able to love a girl as much evaporated as I became the ridiculously proud parent I’d always mocked.
Now, my daughter is still just a toddler, so I know that I have many, many lessons still to learn (a fact that nearly kept me from writing this post in the first place). The teenage years still loom ahead like a storm on the horizon taunting me…with tongue piercings and glittery lip gloss. But, even with only a short time under my belt, my daughter has taught me some incredibly important lessons that I never would have picked up had she not blessed my wife and me with her presence.
1) Men are born to protect. Regardless of whether it has gone out of fashion in today’s society, deep in the heart of every man is a desire to protect his loved ones. To make sure that they feel safe when you’re around, like the calming presence of a strong lion protecting the rest of the pride. Though I’m sure that this instinct is there with boys as well, the strong conviction I have to protect my daughter is greater than nearly anything I’ve felt in my life. It isn’t a feeling that has to be worked up, it’s just there, like cement, daring someone to move it.
Taking on the protector role means carrying yourself a bit differently. Rather than wandering aimlessly down any dark alley, I now am more aware of my surroundings and where I am taking my baby. I also find myself a bit less sympathetic when other people’s reckless actions invade my daughter’s life. I used to work out mostly for vanity; I wanted to look good. Now, I work out knowing that I could be the sole person standing between an intruder and my wife and child. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the time I’ve spent developing intimidation tactics for future boyfriends. Good luck Johnny brace-face.
2) Girls keep a man’s heart from growing too hard. Perhaps it’s because I went to a military academy, or spent too much time watching “Gladiator,” but I realized after the birth of my daughter that my heart had grown a bit hard. My compassion, patience and grace were all lacking. I firmly believed that “second place was the first loser,” “Pain was just weakness leaving the body,” etc. I had great pride in the discipline and efficiency through which I ran my life and home. These tough-guy attitudes suddenly seemed a bit ridiculous as I would look into the eyes of an innocent little girl content with blowing bubbles, chasing butterflies and eating copious amounts of cheese.
It’s not that I have now become a bumbling mess of emotion and softness since the birth of my daughter, but I have allowed myself to accept that not everything in life is simply a resource that must be dedicated to some ultimate victory. If we don’t get all of our chores done it’s not the end of the world. My car used to be spotless, now it has crushed cheerios and toys strewn about the back seat…who cares! With a child in one’s life, schedules and plans become much more flimsy. When my daughter cries I don’t try to numb the pain with a motivational talk, I just hug her. She’s kept my heart clean.
3) Every girl is some man’s daughter - There is no doubt that certain levels of sexism still remain alive in our culture today. Until I had a daughter I gave the idea very little thought. It had no direct impact on me, and I tried my best to be respectful to women, so why should I care? Raising a daughter and beginning to think about her future has caused me to reconsider my views on sexism, the glass ceiling, even the role of women in the advertising and entertainment industries. I’m sure most guys are like I was, giving a sigh and roll of the eyes when HR begins their annual training on sexual harassment, but things are a little different when the victim could someday be your daughter.
I once heard a lecture concerning America’s sex-saturated society. The gentleman discussed pornography, sexual addiction and abuse, but one comment caused the whole audience to go startlingly silent. “Every time you choose to view pornography, attend a strip club, solicit a prostitute, or in any other way, treat a woman like a piece of flesh rather than a person, remember one thing: That girl is some man’s daughter.” Men sat silently, the ones with daughters trembled at the idea of some man treating their daughter with such disrespect. Women aren’t just peers, co-workers, friends…they’re daughters.
4) Slow Down - The other day my friend and I were walking to the library with my girl. She just learned to walk a few months ago so she was a bit sporadic. Speeding up, giggling, slowing down, stopping to pick up a stray leaf. As we watched her take in the world around her, my friend commented, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if a walk to the library was this much fun?” I chuckled for a moment, but realized this was one of the true blessings having a small child in my life brought to the table. The reminder to slow down and enjoy the small, seemingly insignificant moments of life. The ones that I had previously tried to fast forward or multi-task my way through.
I once heard a friend’s mom tell her kids before leaving on a long trip overseas, “Wherever you are, there you are.“ The sage words have stuck with me for years as they reveal a life philosophy which refuses to take a moment for granted. How often do we talk to our friends while trying to check our e-mail on our iPhone, or let our minds think about the rest of the day’s errands as a loved one tries to connect with us? Children live life much differently; they take their time, fully engaging one task at a time, not too concerned with what lies ahead or behind. Maybe we could learn a thing or two from them.
5) Living for someone else -
“No man has ever risen to the real stature of spiritual manhood until he has found that it is finer to serve somebody else than it is to serve himself.” - Woodrow Wilson
Marriage is the first lesson most of us receive in learning to live for someone other than ourselves. And just when we start to think we might have that lesson down, children shatter all our notions of self-righteousness. Waking up at all hours of the night, changing diapers, feeding, cleaning…all these things are necessary parts of raising a healthy child, and they have been pivotal in forcing me to abandon some of my selfish habits. My daughter could care less about my well-thought-out schedule or whether or not I have a flight early the next morning. She continually challenges me to love her regardless of convenience.
I wrote previously that one of the greatest tests of manhood is whether or not one has learned to abandon their life in the service of another. This idea makes some people’s skin crawl, but thus far it’s been one of the truest indicators of real manhood I’ve been able to find. It doesn’t take much effort to be selfish. In fact, it’s one of the most natural ways for us to live. Children plop into our lives as miniature insurgents, waging war with our lifestyle of “me first.” My daughter has opened my eyes to the beautiful struggle parents face in giving their lives to their children. It isn’t comfortable, and often times it flat out hurts, but it builds a depth of character that can only be understood by others who have traveled a similar path.
For years men have been raising daughters into young women. It used to scare me, it still scares me, but I’ll give my life away in pursuit of it any day.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009
This guy does have a great parody site you should check out after viewing the video, and brushing your teeth....
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Seth Godin's words:
You might not be as permanently stuck in a rut as you think. The rut you're in isn't permanent, nor is it perfect. There are certainly less perfect ruts, but there may be better ones as well. The certain thing is that you can change everything...
- Buy a competitor
- Sell to a competitor
- Publish your best work for free online
- Close your worst-performing locations
- Open a new branch in a high-traffic location
- Hire the best salesperson away from the competition
- Join the competition
- Host a conference for your competitors
- Connect your best customers and organize a tribe
- Fire the 80% of your customers that account for 20% of your sales
- Start a blog
- Start a digital bootstrap business on the weekends
- While looking for a job, spend 40 hours a week volunteering and freelancing for good causes
- Go on tour and visit your best customers in person
- Answer the customer service line for a day
- Let the most junior person in the organization run things for a day
- Delete your website and start over with the simplest possible site
- Call former employees and ask for advice
- Move to Thailand
- Listen to ebooks in your car instead of the radio
- Sell your cash cow division to the competition and invest everything in the new thing
- Find more products for your existing customers to buy
- Become a gadfly and tell the truth about your industry
- Quit your job
- Move your operations to another city
- Become a vegan
- Have all meetings in a room with no chairs, and everyone wears a bathrobe over their clothes
- Open your offices only four hours a day
- Open your offices 24 hours a day for a week
- Find every project that is near the danger zone (in terms of p&l or deadlines) and cancel it, no appeals
- Go for a walk during lunch
- Get an RSS reader and read a lot more blogs
- Go offline for longer than you thought possible
- Write five thank you notes every day
- Stop sending spam
- Do your work somewhere else. Set up your chiropractic table at the mall
- Have everyone at work switch offices
- Give your most valuable possessions to a stranger
- Go see live music
- Start a company scrapbook and take daily notes
- Hire a firm to make a documentary about your organization
- Buy some art
- Make some art.
- Do the work.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Yesterday, I received this tip on Twitter which helped me with my G-mail account. The words are from Seth Godin, and I echo every one of them:
If you access Gmail using a program on your computer (like Mail.app or Outlook) sometimes you'll get an alert telling you that Gmail has rejected your password.
It turns out that there's a hidden link Google provides that lets you do a Captcha test to prove that you're a human. It doesn't change your password, it just resets the flag that Google was using to block remote access.
Anyway, it works for me, every time, and I figured you'd want to know about it. Please don't ask me other technical questions because I'm an untrained savant, unlikely to have any other information other than this.
Thanks. And good luck.